DDR registers 13 child soldiers in Lakes

Child soldiers registered in Rumbek, Lakes State.

The Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (DDR) has started the process of screening children associated with the armed forces at Panda military Barack, under South Sudan’s People Defense Forces, SSPDF in Lakes State. The move is part of the revitalized agreement’s implementation.

The Commission say they identified 13 children during the verification process this week who are waiting for a reunion with their parents and relatives.

Meen Mawut is the DDR Commission in Lakes State. He says their investigation found the children have voluntarily joined the army.

“They voluntarily associated themselves with the army because of their personal needs. Some of them join the army to get food,” Mawut said.

The Director further stated that the verification team would report to Juba for the national government to decide on their release.

Mawut called the armed groups to cease recruiting or allowing children to join the army as it’s against child rights.

“They are not supposed to be in the army, and that is why this process is carried out so that the children go back to school. Children are not soldiers because recruitment of children is prohibited, he stated.

The process of screening child soldiers has been ongoing since the signing of the peace agreement in 2018.

UN children’s Organization, UNICEF, and United Nations Mission in South Sudan have been much involved to facilitate the demobilization of children associated with armed forces.

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