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Mother pays ransom to secure release of son from SPLA-IO captivity in Unity state

A17-year- old boy Maguong Tutjiok who was among hundreds of civilians’ recruited on Monday from Bentiu internally displaced people’s camp by Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In opposition has been released.

Mer Garang the mother of Maguong Tutjiok on Wednesday paid 20,000 South Sudanese Pounds to secure his release from detention.

Tutjiok was arrested by SPLA-IO soldiers in Bentiu IDP camp football ground when he was on his way to visit a relative admitted in a hospital.

“Uniformed soldiers called me and when I reached them they tied my hands with ropes and they took me to sector 5 detention facility,” said Tutjiok while recounting his ordeal to Juba Echo in Bentiu on Thursday.

Tutjiok said he and other detainees spent two days under captivity in Dingding area before being brought back to Bentiu private detention facility.

“We were 95 detainees yesterday in Bentiu mobile detention facilities, I was released with 65 boys but all of us our parents’ paid money for our release, but 30 people remain in the detention because they were accused of deserting the SPLA-IO during fighting in 2016,” said Tutjiok.

On January 23, the SPLA-IO faction led by First Vice President Riek Machar conducted forceful recruitment and captured 101 school children in the Bentiu IDP camp on the pretext of searching for illegal weapons within the camp.

 Tutjiok said his arrest has disrupted his studies at Mal primary school in Bentiu IDP camp.

“I am in class five and I have missed lessons for a week,” he said.

 His mother Mer Garang said the soldiers ordered her to report back with Tutjiok after one week.

 “I don’t know whether they will take him again or they will demand some money again,” said Garang.

The government of South Sudan in 2014 renewed its commitment to the Action Plan signed in 2012 with the United Nations to end the recruitment and use of children in government armed forces and other grave violations against children.

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