South Sudan: Over 145 Child Soldiers Released

The United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said the released soldiers were fighting for two rebel groups.

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Some 145 child soldiers fighting for two rebel groups, Cobra and the South People Liberation Army (SPLA) have been freed in the eastern region of Pibor, disarmed and provided with civilian clothes, the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) announced, BBC reported. They were freed by the armed groups on October 26, 2016 in a deal secured by the UNICEF  and the  government disarmament commission.

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UNICEF in a press statement said the child soldiers were recruited by the Cobra Faction and the SPLA, two armed groups which have been fighting the government. It was the largest release of child fighters since last year when a total of 1,775 children were released, UNICEF reportedly said but warned that children were still being recruited by various armed groups. UNICEF’s representative in South Sudan, Mahimbo Mdoe, has used the occasion to urge all parties to "end the recruitment and to release children who are currently serving in their ranks," BBC quoted. The UN organ said about 16,000 children are still in armed groups. Reports say more than 800 children were recruited this 2016.

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The used- to- be child soldiers reportedly narrated their horrible experiences as fighters. “I have been fighting for more than two years. I haven't seen my mother and father since last summer,” 11-year-old Silva is quoted as saying. He added that, “I've seen many people killed when I was on missions. I had an AK-47. It was heavy. I was fighting to protect my family and village. Now I want to go to school and learn. I don't want to fight anymore, I was scared.”

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