Armed groups in northern Mali urged to stop using childrenListen /
Leaders and people involved in conflict in northern Mali are being urged by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) to ensure children are not used in the conflict.
The agency is sounding the alarm about the recruitment of children for military purposes in the country.
UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado says there are credible reports that armed groups in northern Mali are increasingly recruiting and using children.
"While it is difficult to establish the precise figures, reliable sources have stated that the numbers involved are in the hundreds and appear to be escalating. In July we reported that at least 175 boys, aged between 12 and 18, were directly associated with armed groups in the north. UNICEF is calling on all parties to the conflict, as well as leaders and community members to ensure that children are protected from the harmful impact of armed conflict and do not participate in hostilities." (Duration: 25″)