From RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM , (CAJ News) – Crisis-torn South Sudan risks international sanctions after it emerged its forces have recruited 650 children as soldiers since the political crisis resumed in July.
United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has also noted that overall, an estimated 16 000 children have been recruited by government and opposition forces since the outbreak of conflict in December 2013.
The United States said individuals responsible for the unlawful recruitment or use of child soldiers for armed groups or forces may be subject to sanction under US law and may be targeted for UN sanctions.
A spokesperson of the Department of State said the continued unlawful recruitment and use of children in armed conflict in South Sudan was unacceptable.
The official said eliminating the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers for armed groups was a leading priority of the United States.
“We remain committed to securing accountability for those who recruit and use children as soldiers.”
South Sudan, the world’s newest country, with a population of over 12 million, has suffered instability since independence from Sudan in 2011. Some 300 000 people have been killed and scores more fled the country.
– CAJ News