Rebels in South Sudan abduct at least 30 children

According to reports many school children fled when rebel group SPLM-IO attacked two schools earlier this week.

At least 30 children from two different schools in Amadi have been abducted by a rebel group linked to ousted South Sudan vice president Riek Machar, a report said on Friday.

According to BBC, Amadi state governor Joseph Ngere said that around 150 rebels from the SPLM-IO group attacked the two schools early this week. He was, however, only made aware of the attack on Wednesday.

Ngere said that at least 300 children were at the two schools and many fled into the bushes.

However, Machar’s spokesperson Andrew Kuong denied the claims. “Our rules and regulation do not allow anything like that,” Kuong was quoted as saying. 

This came barely two days after the UN children’s agency Unicef said it had negotiated the release of 145 child soldiers from two rebel groups in the east African country.

The Unicef estimated that around 16 000 children were currently fighting or working as porters with armed groups in South Sudan, including the national army. It says that more than 800 had been recruited this year alone.

The 145 released this week came from a group called the Cobra Faction and from the main SPLA/ IO rebel faction, both in the eastern Pibor region of the country.

In 2015, armed groups in the same area released a total of 1 775 children.Freed children were disarmed, given civilian clothes and drafted into a reintegration programme. They received counselling and efforts were made to trace their families. – News24

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