South Sudan: Force Recruitment Of Children To Fight Rebellion Spark Unity State
August 21, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Latest reports from Unity state’s capital, Bentiu, allege that South Sudan government is currently recruiting under age teens to fight rebellion in the state.
According to Gideon Thor, who narrowly escaped to UNMISS compound in Bentiu, hundred of children are currently detained by the government troops in the capital, Bentiu.
“Three soldiers saw us coming out from the UNMISS and told us to stop. We wanted to go home but they follow us. We ran back to UN compound crying, they did not shoot us. We are very scared”.Thor told Nyamilepedia’s correspondent in the camp.
Thor said that three of his friends of age 13, who left the camp a day earlier did not return and concludes that they are among the children gathered by the government soldiers to fight rebels.
“They are very very many of them. I don’t know how many. but many of them. My friends Gatdor, Gattuak and Tharjiath disappeared one day a go. Maybe the government soldier caught them” Thor said.
Nyamilepedia’s correspondent in Bentiu confirms that the recruited teens are denied food by the soldiers until they “clear the rebels”, whom they accuse of raiding food and cattle in the state.
“The children we have seen here are not given food because the soldiers want them to get their food from the rebels. They tell them the rebels took all their food and cattle. They are told to fight to defend themselves or the rebels will kill them and their parents” Joseph Nuor corresponds from Bentiu.
Sources from South Sudan capital confirms that the force recruitment campaign started in Juba and now over 200 youths from Nuer tribe are held up in various parts of the capital.
“As from yesterday night, 20th August 2014, until this afternoon, security agents in Juba had round up over 215 youth particularly Nuer speaking group mostly youth who were lured out of UNIMISS couples of months ago.” Said Steve, who spoke to one of the victims from Juba.
“They are now holed up in various security premises in the capital waiting to be flown to Bentiu and Malakal respectively. One of the boys (victim) who managed to sneak out from the hands of those operators narrated this unacceptable scenario to the author” Steve continued.
Reliable sources have confirmed that the mobilization is spearheaded by the appointed Unity State caretaker Governor, Joseph Nguen Monytwel.
Governor Nguen, who spends most of his time in Juba due to insecurity in Bentiu, has ordered the SSLA militias to recruit anyone who can carry a gun to push the rebels away from the oil fields in the state.
According to Human Rights Watch report, the government used children during the mid August heavy fighting in Bentiu and Rubkhona.
“The government used child soldiers in renewed fighting in mid-August 2014 in Bentiu, the capital of Unity State, and in the neighboring town of Rubkona”, Human Rights Watch found.
“Ten people who fled the fighting told Human Rights Watch in Bentiu that they saw dozens of children in military uniform, armed with assault rifles, deployed with government soldiers and firing on opposition positions.”Human Rights Watch reports
On August 12, Human Rights Watch saw 15 soldiers who appeared to be children around the government’s Rubkona military base and airstrip.
“South Sudan’s army has returned to a terrible practice, once again throwing children into the battlefields,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Civilian and military leaders should immediately remove all children from their ranks and return them to their families.” Human Right Watch.