In South Sudan, more than 200 child soldiers were released on Tuesday by different armed groups.
These young people between the ages of 10 and 17, including 95 girls, were demobilized and handed over to their families in the state of Western Equatoria.
These 200 children belonged to the two main armed groups in the country who signed a peace agreement with the government two years ago.
It is UNICEF, a United Nations agency, which will take care of their rehabilitation in working life.
A real challenge
Especially, since the current situation in the country does not make it easy for them.
James Aldworth, UNICEF spokesperson in South Sudan: “The situation in South Sudan is very difficult from an economic point of view. Inflation is very high, and food on local markets is often too expensive for poor people.
“So in many cases, children join armed groups because they need to survive, and want to have a daily meal.”
“In the majority of cases, these children do not fight, they do odd jobs, such as cooking, washing, fetching water.”
For James Aldworth, even if it is 200 demobilized children is a first victory, there is still much to do: “Unfortunately, the figures we have indicate that by July about seven million people, that is to say say 60% of the population, will face food insecurity, and half are children. So the problem of recruiting children is not going to be solved like that.”
“In the end, the conflict and the fighting must stop, so that the country can begin to develop”.
Nearly 19,000 children are now integrated into armed groups. UNICEFexpects to demobilize nearly 1,000 children in the coming months.