Children 'paying the price' for conflict in South Sudan

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Children in South Sudan are being traumatised on many different levels, according to the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF.

The agency says that not only are nearly a quarter of a million children at risk of suffering from severe acute malnutrition by the end of the year but they are also being separated from their parents and facing recruitment into armed groups by both government and opposition forces.

UNICEF spokesperson, Christophe Boulierac, says that children are paying the price for the continuing conflict.

"It's definitely a very dangerous situation. The children are among the first victims, which is unacceptable. On top of malnutrition, we have several problems of recruitment of children in armed groups. We have unverified reports which indicate that large numbers of children are being used by armed groups associated with opposition forces. We have a verified report which indicates that 149 children have been used by government forces since the current conflict began." (37")

Last week a number of children were killed in South Sudan – some in an attack on displaced civilians while others were caught in crossfire or died as a result of being recruited by armed groups.

As the fighting continues, UNICEF's immediate goal is to treat more than 150,000 severely malnourished children under the age of five.

Unless treatment is scaled up immediately, up to 50,000 children in this age group are likely to die.

Currently, over 3.7 million people in South Sudan, including almost 740,000 children under five, are at high risk of food insecurity.

Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva.

Duration: 1'52"

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