JUBA – The Human Rights Watch has accused government of South Sudan of recruiting children as young as 13 to help fight rebels in the country’s civil conflict, in spite of having vowed to no longer do so.
Daniel Bekele, HRW Africa Director said on Monday in Juba, that it has collected 25 witness accounts of child recruitment in the northern town of Malakal in January.
He said government forces had recruited more than 15 minors within a few weeks, some unemployed boys joined the troops voluntarily, while others were recruited forcibly.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
“In spite of renewed promises by both government and opposition forces that they will stop using child soldiers, both sides continue to recruit and use children in combat,” he said.
“In Malakal, government forces are even taking children from right outside the United Nations compound,” he added.
Bekele said a mother who was a victim said “My son was captured by the army in Malakal town.
“I don’t know where he is captured, he is on Hios to see his family when he was kidnapped,’’ she added.
The United Nations children’s fund, (UNICEF), has estimated that thousands of children have fought on both sides during the 14-month-old conflict, which pits forces loyal to President Salva Kiir against his former Deputy, Riek Machar.