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Displaced communities in Unity State protests forced recruitment of children

By Chondok Stephen Magei

People displaced in South Sudan’s Unity State capital Bentiu are protesting an alleged forced recruitment of school children into the army.

Led by the IDPs camp youth forum, the peaceful demonstration held on Friday questioned why children are plucked from school and enrolled into the military by force.

A youth leader in the camp, Kalany Bolies Kueth condemned the act noting that it’s a violation to children’s right to education.

Kueth said several children that have been recruited and transferred to Juba on January 14, the South Sudanese capital included candidates.

“Soldiers with army uniforms are the one conducting forced recruitment in the evening hours and also they demand payment after arresting children,” Kueth told Juba Echo.

“We call up human right bodies and humanitarian partners to line up behind this situation, we need this force recruitment to get an end.”

The spokesman for South Sudan People’s Defense Force Division Four Captain Abot Wai Abot denied the allegations when reached on phone by Juba Echo.

“Our SSPDF did not conduct forced recruitment, but forces belonging to Lieutenant General Ruai Kuol identified their soldiers who deserted the deployment camps,” Abot said.

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