South Sudan accused of recruiting young children

“Child soldiers from Sudan People’s Liberation Army wait for food during the demobilization of soldiers at Rumbek, southern Sudan, in 2001. The government of Southern Sudan said Monday it will make its former rebel army children free by the end of the year, a policy change that will see at least 900 young troops purged from the military.” Photo: Sayyid Azim/AP

Juba/Pagak, August 24, 2017 (SSNA) — South Sudanese rebels have accused the government of waging of a camping of recruiting young school children in UN-run camps in Malakal, Bentiu, Bor, and Wau.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) Spokesperson Brig. General William Gatjiath Deng said in a prepared statement that Juba’s regime resorts to recruiting young children after its troops, militias, and mercenaries were defeated in Maiwut and Pagak. Gatjiath also said South Sudan’s government is bribing people in the areas to keep quiet.

“It has come to our attention that the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) regime in Juba, after having suffered a humiliating and devastating defeat by the gallant SPLA (IO) forces in the Maiwut and Pagak fighting, has now resorted to secretly bribing, recruiting and enlisting vulnerable young school children in the United Nations Protection of Civilians (POC) sites in Makal (Malakal), Bentiu, Bor and Wau respectively to be trained and used as foot soldiers and fighters in the ongoing Juba regime offensive across South Sudan,” Deng said.

The rebel spokesman also implicated Taban Deng Gai and members of the Jieng Council of Elders as the leaders of the new recruitment.

“The ongoing bribing, recruitment, and enlistment of these vulnerable young school children in IDP Protection Sites is being personally directed by Taban Deng Gai (TDG), JCE’s agent of instability and destabilization, and implemented by his naira-minded lieutenants from these respective areas,” He explained.

Brig. Gen. Gatjiath further asserted that Major General Obech Pagar, Colonel Omut Amum, and Colonel Pollino Onyowa are the government military leaders tasked to recruit children in the Malakal-based POC site. He said the three men keep sneaking children out of the UN-run POC site. He added that young Chollo youths are now being trained in Detang by Juba’s regime.

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