US Warns Machar, Kiir on Recruitment of Child Soldiers

1160 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
UNICEF announced that 650 children had been recruited into South Sudans current conflict in 2016 alone while an estimated 16,000 children have been recruited by both government and opposition forces since the outbreak of conflict in December 2013.

The US Department of State has warned South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his rival, former First Vice President Riek Machar, against recruitment of child soldiers.
  
John Kirby, the Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs states that  the US is alarmed by the recent UNICEF report that implicates South Sudanese government forces in the recruitment of child soldiers since violence broke out in July.
 
UNICEF announced that 650 children had been recruited into South Sudan's current conflict in 2016 alone while an estimated 16,000 children have been recruited by both government and opposition forces since the outbreak of conflict in December 2013.
 
Kirby states that the US remains committed to securing accountability for those who recruit and use children as soldiers.
  
"Above and beyond our calls for an end to ongoing violence in South Sudan, we insist on an immediate halt to the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers by government and opposition forces," he says.
 
Kirby notes that individuals responsible for the unlawful recruitment or use of child soldiers for armed groups or forces may be subject to sanction under U.S. law and may be targeted for UN sanctions.
 
He says the continued unlawful recruitment and use of children in armed conflict in South Sudan is unacceptable, and eliminating the practice is a leading priority of the United States.
  
Charlie Yaxley, the associate external relations officer with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, told URN that many refugees are fleeing in a bid to protect their children from being abducted by unknown people. There are reports of children being abducted from their homes and in school by armed militants.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.