Home | News    Wednesday 16 November 2011

South Sudan army release 53 child soldiers


By Bonifacio Taban Kuich

November 15, 2011 (BENTIU) - South Sudan’s army released 53 children from its barracks in Unity state on Tuesday, following a forced recruitment earlier this year to help fight a rebellion.

Group of child soldiers who this week were demobilised from South Sudan’s army (SPLA) in Unity state capital Bentiu. 15 Nov 2011 (ST)

Division four of the South Sudanese army (SPLA) handed over the underage soldiers to the South Sudan Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration Programme (SSDDR), George Gatloi Koang, the organisations Unity state director, told Sudan Tribune.

The children, who had been forced by local chiefs to join the SPLA in March, were mainly from Payinjiar county. It was in March that the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA) rebel group declared it was at war with the government.

Koang said that the SSDDR and the SPLA child protection desk "strongly condemned" the presence of children in the army. An optional protocol to the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child children under 18 cannot be used in combat or in roles supporting soldiers.

Child soldiers were widely used in Sudan’s two-decade north-south civil war, which killed around two million people.

“It took us one month together with SPLA division four of Unity State to identify such children in the army barracks of SPLA, and through the strong support we got from our army that made us to succeeded in bringing out those 53 children out of army barracks today,” said Koang.

A 15 year old boy, who did not want his name to be used, told Sudan Tribune when the SPLA demanded soldiers from his community in Payinjiar county the local chiefs had handed him and other boys over to the military.

During his ’six month training’ period, he said, "[I] did not even dream [that] one day we will be demobilised by the concerned body like the South Sudan disarmament Programme, but thank God we are out of the battalion line.”

The South Sudan DDR programme is working in partnership with UNICEF, Save the Children and the VSF Holland to help the children re-integrate into society, which can be difficult considering their lack of training and education.

Most of boys who were released were between the ages of 13 to 17 years of age. Preparations are underway to return the children to their areas of origin and to their families.

The DDR commission in Unity state reunited 26 former child soldiers with their parents from Koch, Mayiandit, Leer and Rubkotna who were disarmed last week. The children were part of the forces Peter Gatdet, the former leader of the SSLA, integrated in the SPLA when he signed a peace deal in August.


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  • 16 November 2011 07:11, by Red Army

    Many of the similar underage children had already been killed so far in the recent clashes as human shields for protecting Taban Deng Gai’s autocratic governorship. So unfortunate that many young boys had already been killed while defending the rogue governorship of Taban Deng and corrupted SPLM/A in Juba. Woe and death to Taban and Kiir! I think there are still out there some underage boys.

    • 16 November 2011 08:31, by omoni jr.

      Just shut up.
      Do they have Birth Certificates to show that they are underage ? Most of them were born in 1980s,so you called them child soldiers,are you not a shames of utterly and blatantly opening mouth without concrete support.

      • 16 November 2011 09:34, by akot

        don’t support them Monij, African are well-known of recruiting children not only South Sudan. they must stop that or international community will condemn them

      • 17 November 2011 09:43, by Koang

        Our government should stop recruiting children, time for Red Soldier is over, this time is to educate the national (children), misappropriate use of children should not be encourage include to be liminated, all children country wide should be release,

  • 16 November 2011 07:14, by Red Army

    Stupid Taban and his rogue chiefs had used innocent kids to defend their powers by using forceful conscription. Death to them and one day they would rot in hell for their sins and exploitation of public revenues and resources for themselves. May the death of plague fall on them overnight!

    • 16 November 2011 07:51, by akot

      no more child Soldiers at this time Mr Taban. children should go to School instead of going to Army, you will spoil your reputation in that, a 13 or 17 years old boy know nothing about life. who went to Army when he was 13 among you?

  • 16 November 2011 09:26, by siddaw

    great to hear a good news, that there is no more child abuse of recruiting them. i can see the government is now portraying a sense of responsibly and a true leadership.

    by Siddaw.

  • 21 November 2011 04:42, by Andrew Ojok

    Ain’t nothing wrong people of e SouthSudan we really i do understand the meaning of entry early ages to join soldiers is give u more chance to learn the entire world soldier so if not why the government bother to changes the systems without u guys so what kind of jobs did u guys needs

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