Armed groups in Central African Republic to release thousands of children

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Former child soldiers draw in a UNICEF-assisted transit centre in the Central African Republic (CAR). Photo: UNICEF/Brian Sokol

Leaders of armed groups in the Central African Republic have agreed to release all conscripted children and to immediately end any new child recruitment.

An estimated 6,000 to 10,000 children are currently associated with the country's armed factions according to the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF.

Daniel Dickinson reports.

The figure includes those children serving as combatants and sex slaves, as well as those working as cooks, messengers and in other roles.

They have been drafted into various armed factions which have been fighting a sectarian war in the country for more than a year.

The agreement to release the children was facilitated by UNICEF and was signed during a week-long national reconciliation forum currently meeting in the capital Bangui.

UNICEF said it was a major step forward in the protection of children in this country.

The agency has said that the Central African Republic is one of the worst places in the world to be a child.

In 2014, UNICEF and partners secured the release from armed groups of over 2,800 children in the country, including almost 650 girls.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 51″

 

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