South Sudan child soldiers freed

Armed groups in South Sudan have released 207 child soldiers, a statement from UN children's agency Unicef says.

The 112 boys and 95 girls were from serving in the ranks of the South Sudan National Liberation Movement (SSNLM) and the Sudan People's Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO).

SSNLM in 2016 signed a peace agreement with the government and is now integrating its fighters
into the national army.

Tuesday's release is part of a ongoing programme that saw 300 children set free in February.

"For every child released, today marks the start of a new life," said Mahimbo Mdoe, Unicef's representative in South Sudan.

The children would be reintegrated and given vocational training and education, he added.

Unicef says there are around 19,000 child soldiers in the country.

South Sudan, the world's newest country, has been beset by violence between rival groups since 2013 - two years after it seceded from Sudan.


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