Juba, 19th May 2018. The United Nations Children’s Fund has reported that armed groups in South Sudan have released more than 200 ex child soldiers from Pibor former Jonglei State, including girls.
It is the third time the armed men are releasing ex child soldiers since the beginning of this year, bringing the total number to eight hundred and six.
A previous exercise took place in February and April in Yambio, South Sudan.
During the ceremony, the child combatants were formally disarmed and provided with civilian clothes.
The UN agency says UNICEF will screen the freed child soldiers to know their health status, receive counseling and psychosocial support as part of the reintegration programme.
It adds that the children and their families will be provided with food assistance for three months to support their upkeep.
They will also undergo vocational training to improve household income and food security.
“Every time a child is released and able to return to their family, it’s a source of great hope - Hope for their future and for the future of the country,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan.
Mr. Mdoe hopes for the release of more children until there are no longer in the armed groups.
According to the agency, an estimated 19,000 children continue to serve in the ranks of armed forces and groups in South Sudan.
UNICEF urges all parties to the conflict to end the recruitment of child combatants and allow them to be educated.