Child soldiers removed from South Sudan army base

May 7, 2013 at 9:01 AM

BENTIU, South Sudan, May 7 (UPI) -- Twenty-seven children were removed from a South Sudan army base under a series of agreements between the military and the United Nations, authorities said.

George Gatloi Koang, who heads South Sudan's Disarmament Demobilization Reintegration Commission or DDR, said the country is working to discourage underage children from joining the army, the Sudan Tribune reported.

Child soldiers were used by both the rebel group known as the SPLA and the forces aligned to the Sudanese military during Sudan's civil war.

Since a 2005 peace deal and South Sudan's independence in 2011, recruitment of children into the armed forces is no longer an issue, Gatloi said.

Instead, children forced onto the streets by lack of support from their families seek shelter and food from the army.

Since 2012, Gatloi's commission has been working with the United Nations to reunite child soldiers with their families.

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