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News and Press ReleasesSouth Sudan sides recruit 9,000 children to fight

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South Sudan sides recruit 9,000 children to fight

04-30-2014, 03:19 PM
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Registered: 01-13-2014
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South Sudan sides recruit 9,000 children to fight

    Rebel fighters hold up their weapons as in Upper Nile state, South Sudan - 11 February 2014Fighting broke out in December and has driven some one million people from their homes

    More than 9,000 child soldiers have been fighting in South Sudan's brutal civil war, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has said.

    Both the army and rebel forces had recruited the children, she said.

    Ms Pillay said South Sudan faced the threat of a famine, but there was an "apparent lack of concern" on the part of its leaders.

    She was speaking at the end of a visit to South Sudan, where the conflict has displaced about a million people.

    Fighting broke out in December between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy, Riek Machar.

    Mr Kiir accused Mr Machar of plotting a coup.

    He denied the charged, but then mobilised a rebel force to fight the government.

    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned of the possibility of revenge killings in South Sudan.

    The two sides negotiated a truce in January and have resumed talks in Ethiopia, but fighting has continued.

    'Personal failure'

    Ms Pillay said that apart from recruiting child soldiers, both government and rebel forces have carried out "indiscriminate attacks" which killed civilians, including children.

    She met both Mr Kiir and Mr Machar during her visit, and is now due to fly to Ethiopia.

    "I was appalled by the apparent lack of concern about the risk of famine displayed by both leaders," she said, AFP news agency reports.

    United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (C) and Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng (2nd R) visit Bor in South Sudan (29 April 2015)Navi Pillay (C) met government and rebel leaders
    Members of an anti-government militia in Nasir - 14 April 2014Both the government forces and the rebels have been accused of committing war crimes

    "The prospect of widespread hunger and malnutrition being inflicted on hundreds of thousands of their people, because of their personal failure to resolve their differences peacefully, did not appear to concern them very much."

    Ms Pillay's visit came amid growing foreign intervention in efforts to end the conflict in South Sudan, the world's newest state.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry is due in Ethiopia later on Wednesday, to put pressure on the two sides to negotiate a peace deal.

    On Friday, South Sudan's government released four politicians accused of plotting a coup, meeting a key rebel demand.

    The UN Security Council has threatened sanctions against those responsible for the continuing violence.

    It has condemned theandnbsp;the mass killings of hundreds of civiliansandnbsp;in the town of Bentiu, capital of the oil-rich Unity State, earlier this month.

    Both sides have been implicated in atrocities and war crimes, and fighting has intensified with the rebels saying they are closing in on northern oil fields and several key towns.

    Map of South Sudan states affected by conflictFighting erupted in the South Sudan capital, Juba, in mid-December. It followed a political power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his ex-deputy Riek Machar. The squabble has taken on an ethnic dimension as politicians' political bases are often ethnic.

                  

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