On Feb. 7, more than 300 children in South Sudan were released from being child soldiers.
Al Jazeera news network reports, “The 311 children, including 87 girls, will now begin reintegrating into their communities, the UN mission in the country (UNMISS) said in a statement on Wednesday.”
These children lost their innocence at a very young age.
The Telegraph, a newspaper in England, ran a story about a young boy named Daniel who was a child soldier in South Sudan.
The Telegraph, explains “Cold sweat ran down Daniel’s back when – at age 14 – he was first handed a heavy gun and ordered to kill. His commander, an old rebel in faded camouflage, had kidnapped Daniel several days before, passing him up when he was walking home alone.”
Recruiting child soldiers is a gross violation of human rights, and something the UN deems unacceptable.
“[Children] should be playing, learning, having fun with friends, protected and cherished by the adults around them,” said David Shearer, head of UN Mission in the country (UNMISS),
But instead, innocent young lives were forced to pick up weapons and kill other people.
“They dragged me to the bush by force and told me I was one of them,” Daniel told The Telegraph. “I didn’t want to join, but they were big and strong and I couldn’t fight them. … “It was hopeless.”
There have been thousands of child soldiers released into civilian life. So far 2,000 children have been released and reintegrated into society. Two hundred of those young boys and girls were under the age of 13.
In the past, many young men have been released. In the most recent release, per Al Jazeera, 87 women were released. Never before in the history of the country have so many young women been released from being child soldiers.
There are about 19,000 children who were recruited for various armed forces in South Sudan during the Civil War, The Telegraph explains.
WorldVision, a Christian relief agency, and the UN are partnering together to reintegrate the children who have been released back into society. They are doing this through education and reuniting the children with parents.
Pray for the children to get over any of the trauma they might have faced.
Pray for the children to be reintegrated into civilian life through education.
Al Jazeera: South Sudan: More than 300 child soldiers released
Fox News: More than 300 child soldiers released in South Sudan
The Telegraph: Freed South Sudan child recalls capture by rebels: ‘I didn’t want to join…it was hopeless
Reliefweb: Hundreds of child soldiers released from armed groups in South Sudan today