311 child soldiers freed in S


South Sudan's First Vice President Taban Deng Gai, who was present during the release ceremony, reiterated that child soldier recruitment is not the country's policy, but that many individuals don't value the life of a child.

The children were rescued from the Yambio region, the epicenter of fighting in the South Sudanese Civil War that has raged since late 2013, leading to tens of thousands of casualties and over 3.6 million people displaced.

On Friday last week, Washington announced an arms embargo on South Sudan and urged the United Nations Security Council to enforce a global arms ban on the country.

Cold sweat ran down Daniel's back when - at age 14 - he was first handed a heavy gun and ordered to kill. "It is the largest release of children in almost three years and it is vital that negotiations continue so there are many more days like this".

The 311 children, including 87 girls, will now begin reintegrating into their communities, the United Nations mission in the country (UNMISS) said in a statement on Wednesday.

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The war is being fought between the government of President Salva Kiir and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by former Vice President Riek Machar. They were officially disarmed and provided with civilian clothes as well as medical screenings. "Many joined armed groups because they feel they had no other option", said Mdoe. "It is the largest release of children in almost three years and it is vital that negotiations continue so there are many more days like this". "Our priority.is to provide the support they need so they are able to see a more promising future".

"They will have endured suffering, including sexual abuse".

"We will act on the information that is provided by CTSAMM and our request to the parties is as they agreed in December to let CTSAMM do its jobs unimpeded so we get independent and verified reports of violations", Trott said.

A 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

Victor, 15, who was among the children released on Wednesday, told how he was abducted and forced to be an informant for an armed group for more than a year. Then they would come and take the auto. The people inside the cars would sometimes escape and run.