U.S. Threatens Sanctions Against South Sudan Over Child Soldiers

The U.S. threatened to impose sanctions on individuals recruiting children into armed groups in South Sudan, after a United Nations report implicated government forces in their enlistment.

The UN Children’s Fund found in a recent report that the South Sudanese army recruited children to take part in fighting that erupted in fighting in the capital, Juba, on July 7,
U.S. State Department Spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. At least 650 other children were enlisted in 2016, he said.

“The continued unlawful recruitment and use of children in armed conflict in South Sudan is unacceptable,” Kirby said. The U.S. called for an end to continuing violence in South Sudan and an immediate halt to the use of child soldiers, he said. 

Conflict that broke out in Africa’s newest country in December 2013 has claimed tens of thousands of lives and forced 2 million more to flee their homes. A transitional government formed in April that sought to end the conflict was roiled last month when violence flared in Juba and former rebel leader Riek Machar and his fighters were driven from the city. Machar is now in neighboring Sudan and has been replaced as South Sudan’s vice president.

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