5 May 2018 - The government's commitment to peace and development. More than two hundred child soldiers (including 95 girls) were released to the community on 28, April, in Yambio Gbudue State. As Fides learns, this is the second time child soldiers are released in Gbudue State, in fact about 300 children including 75 girls had already been released in Yambio in February 2018.
"Some of the released children said they were engaged in various criminal activities while in the bush. The little ones were kidnapped at schools and promised to be given huge ransom of money but were not even paid", said Catholic Radio Network (CRN) radio station.
To cope with this phenomenon, the governor of the state of Gbudue Daniel Badagbu Rimbasa pledged to work diligently to bring peace and stability to the State and South Sudan at large, to create a conducive learning environment for children. In a note from the Catholic Bishops of East African Nations (AMECEA) sent to Fides, we read that "Rimbasa has appealed to all those who still hold arms so that they join the government for peace, development and stability".
Meanwhile, Acting Chairperson of South Sudan Disarmament Demobilization and Re-integration commission, Claude Obwaha Akasha, stressed that "children are supposed to go to school but not to be turned in to soldiers". As can be seen from the note of the CRN sent to Fides, Akasha also revealed that the released child soldiers have been screened for various diseases, given scholastic materials and will be engaged in some vocational training. According to the UN children’s agency, there are about 19,000 children who are believed to be associated with various armed groups across the country. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 4/5/2018)