UN: 210 child soldiers released in South Sudan
The United Nations says armed groups in South Sudan have released 210 child soldiers as it continues to push for the release of all children fighting in the country’s civil war.
So far this year, roughly 800 children have been released from military service but some 19,000 child soldiers are estimated to be involved in South Sudan’s civil conflict, putting the size of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) into context. UN spokesperson says further released in the coming months could mean another 1,000 children are freed from military involvement.
210 child soldiers released
According to Farhan Haq, most of the 210 children released were fighting for South Sudan’s main opposition group, the SPLM-IO, while eight were serving in the National Service Front.
UNICEF says it has helped release more than 2,600 children from armed conflict since South Sudan’s civil war began in 2013 and Haq told reporters that “additional releases are expected in the coming months that could result in more than 1,000 children being freed.”
This is the third time in 2018 UNICEF has aided the release of hundreds of child soldiers. In February, more than 300 were released by armed groups in South Sudan – the second-largest release since the country’s civil conflict began. Then, in April, another group of more than 200 child soldiers were released after a laying down of arms ceremony.
Featured image: By Steve Evans – Flickr: South Sudan 022, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18238568