The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Tuesday it had secured the release of 3,000 child soldiers in South Sudan, where about 12,000 children are believed to have been recruited to fight over the past year.


Human rights activists say the children have been recruited by the South Sudanese army, as well as rebels and other armed groups involved in the conflict.

The 13-month conflict between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar has killed tens of thousands and displaced nearly 2 million people to date.

The 3,000 child soldiers who are in the process of being released by UNICEF were recruited by David Yau Yau, an independent warlord who signed a peace deal with the government in May.

An initial group of 280 children aged between 11 and 19 was released Tuesday in Gumuruk, in the east of the east African country.

UNICEF said it was trying to reunify the children with their families.


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