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Child soldier recruitment common with opposition – SSPDF official

Juba, South Sudan,

July 05, 2021 – The recruitment of child soldiers remained a widely common military practice with opposition movements according to Maj. Gen. Chaplain Khamis Edward, head of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) Child Protection.

Child soldier recruitment still common with opposition – SSP official
Major General Chaplain Khamis Edward, SSPDF head of Child Protection (photo credit: Eye Radio)

In an interview with a local media, Khamis said the number of child soldiers in South Sudan was dropping at a rapid pace due to relentless efforts from the government to heed regional and international calls to recruit child soldiers.

Mr. Khamis blamed some organizations for releasing inaccurate reports that exaggerate the statistics of child soldiers in the country.

“Although some organizations are exaggerating the number of child soldiers in South Sudan, the fact is that there is a reduction in recruitment of children,” Khamis was quoted by Eye Radio to have said.

“The only actors that are still maybe having few children [child soldiers] are the opposition forces,” he added without explicitly stating the groups.

The head of the child protection unit said as the country works toward achieving lasting peace, respect for children’s rights should be part of the peace agreement.

“Now that we are talking of peacebuilding process or implementation of the revitalized peace agreement in South Sudan, definitely the child’s rights are also part of the revitalized peace agreement specifically the prevention of recruitment and use of children as soldiers,” he said.

In July 2020, the United States government under the administration of Donald Trump removed sanctions imposed against South Sudan for the recruitment of child soldiers.

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