According to the latest report from UNICEF, some 16,000 children have been recruited to fight in South Sudan since December 2013.
Before we continue, if you would like to read more about the history of the conflict in South Sudan and how we have gotten to this point in time, please read the following link first: https://altmedi4.com/2016/08/14/what-16000-international-peacekeeping-troops-and-humanitarian-aid-may-not-be-able-to-prevent-another-war-in-south-sudan/
As reported by Justin Forsyth,UNICEF’s deputy executive director, “At this precarious stage in South Sudan’s short history, UNICEF fears that a further spike in child recruitment could be imminent, the dream we all shared for the children of this young country has become a nightmare.”
— UNICEF South Sudan (@unicefssudan) August 19, 2016
He goes on to explain how some 16,000 children have been recruited into armed groups since December 2013, when civil war erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing former vice president Riek Machar.
It is estimated that one out of every five (20%) of South Sudan’s population has been displaced by violence and overall, more than 2 million people have fled their homes as a result of the ethnically-charged war.
— UNICEF South Sudan (@unicefssudan) August 16, 2016
As for how these children soldiers end up fighting this War, UNICEF explains how forces attacking villages often grab children and force them, at gunpoint, to fight. Others join to save themselves from being beaten or killed and to protect their communities. It is commons for armies to threaten the lives of these children’s families if they do not join – what choice do they have?
It is estimated that nearly half of all children in South Sudan do not go to school or have access to educational facilities — the highest proportion in the world. 41% of the population does not have regular access to clean drinking water and over 250,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition.
— UNICEF South Sudan (@unicefssudan) August 14, 2016
Renewed fighting risks and the threat of a new Civil War has reversed the gains made in 2015 when UNICEF oversaw the release of 1,775 former child soldiers – one of the largest demobilizations of children in world history. As a result of the new conflict brewing in the country, UNICEF estimates and an additional 650 children have already joined military forces once again in 2016 and tragically, the number is only expected to continue to grow. .
This article (UNICEF: There Are An Estimated 16,000 Child Soldiers Fighting In South Sudan – Numbers Continue To Grow) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article using a creative commons license with attribution to Brian Dunn and Alternative Medi4