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Government, SPLA Cited in Child Soldiers Report

UN Integrated Regional Information Network, 15 June 2001

There has been extensive use of child soldiers, including some as young as 10 years of age, by both government and opposition armed forces in the Sudanese civil war, which has led to the direct or indirect loss of some two million lives, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers reported on Tuesday [http://www.child-soldiers.org/]. The government had also provided military support to the Ugandan opposition Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a group notorious for its abduction, forced recruitment and brutal treatment of children, the report stated.

Within Sudan, paramilitaries and other armed groups aligned with the government had a long history of forced recruitment, including that of children under 18 years of age, the Coalition reported in its ’Global Report on Child Soldiers’. Armed opposition groups, including the SPLA, were also known to have children in their ranks, according to the Coalition. The SPLA had repeatedly assured the UN that it would discontinue the use of child soldiers and, in February this year, cooperated with UNICEF and other agencies in the demobilisation of 3,200 such fighters, it said. However, the SPLA had stated that there were 7,000 more child soldiers to be demobilised, the report added.