Child Soldiers in Sudan .. Increasing Numbers
According to UNICEF spokeswoman, Marixie Mercado, the impact of the tribal clashes in South Sudan on children is devastating. She says five injured children have been evacuated to the South Sudanese capital of Juba. One died shortly after arrival.
She says there are reports of nine children having been abducted and
confirmed reports of 45 unaccompanied minors.
Unaccompanied children are extraordinarily vulnerable to abuse and to abduction. So, the priority for UNICEF and all partners working in protection is to reunify them as quickly
as possible with their families.
However, UNICEF expressed concern over the increase of children abduction cases to be recruited involuntarily in the armed factions.
The UNICEF office in Sudan is exerting efforts in cooperation with the National Council for Child Welfare to combat this phenomenon which is considered as the worst in the world.
On his part, the National Council for Child Welfare said that the SPLA in South Kordofan had recruited about 900 children after snatching them from their families as they were sent to military training camps in Unity State.
Not far from this, news reports confirmed that about 120 military vehicles carrying more than 700 abducted children have crossed the borders into South Sudan state.
It is definite that the Justice and Equality Movement wants to send those abducted children to military training camps in the South Sudan for future military operations.
Involuntarily recruitment of children is very dangerous if we consider that those children will be subject to the risk of armed clashes let alone their deprivation for their families.
Such phenomena exceeded that as those children will transform to mercenaries and bandits, hence they will be classified as war criminals in the near future.
Despite its dubious silence towards JEM crimes in Wad Banda area in North Darfur besides its abducting of children, and despite its frequent confessions about the improvement of situations in Darfur, the UN could still play a role in the issue of the involuntarily recruitment of children into armed groups in Darfur.
By hosting JEM insurgents, the Government of South Sudan has proved that it is a major partner in this process which violates the national and international laws which ban children recruitment and using them in war,
It is high time for the international organization to take the necessary measures against JEM and its supporters considering that such an action could be classified as a first class war crime which necessitates the intervention of the UN to put an end to such conduct.
By Muawad Mustafa Rashid, 14/01/2012