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South Sudanese Conflict Now Involves 16,000 Child Soldiers - UN

© AP Photo / Ben Curtis, FileIn this file photo of Sunday Dec. 29, 2013 file photo, displaced people gather around a water truck to fill containers at a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in the capital Juba, South Sudan
In this file photo of Sunday Dec. 29, 2013 file photo, displaced people gather around a water truck to fill containers at a United Nations compound which has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, in the capital Juba, South Sudan - Sputnik International
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The number of children directly involved in the violence in South Sudan is on the rise as more youth continue to be recruited by and join armed militias, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated in a press release on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — South Sudan has experienced nearly two years of ongoing violence between government forces and opposition rebel groups despite a number of ceasefire agreements.

"The sheer level of brutality and the number of children directly involved in the fighting has only increased this year," the statement said. "Since the beginning of 2015, the situation for children has worsened, and there are now as many as 16,000 associated with armed forces or groups."

UNICEF, the release added, renewed its call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for all sides to uphold their commitments to a peace agreement reached in August between the government and the opposition, including the release of children associated with armed forces.

Since fighting broke out in 2013, nearly 1,500 children have been killed, 900,000 have been internally displaced and roughly one million are suffering from malnutrition, according to UNICEF.

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