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    Rebel soldiers guard the village of Majieng, about 6km from the town of Bentiu, in South Sudan

    UN Reports South Sudan Has Thousands of Child Soldiers

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    The United Nations has welcomed the Tuesday release of 249 child soldiers, associated with David Yau Yau's armed group in South Sudan.

    UNITED NATIONS, January 28 (Sputnik) – The United Nations has welcomed the Tuesday release of 249 child soldiers by the South Sudan rebel group led by David Yau Yau, stressing, however, that thousands of children continue fighting for various groups in the country.

    "I personally met David Yau Yau last June in Gumuruk and saw child soldiers associated with his armed group. He recognized he had children in his ranks and expressed his willingness to work with the United Nations to release them. I am pleased to see that months of relentless advocacy by the UN in South Sudan is finally yielding results," UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, said in a statement Tuesday.

    According to the statement, all children, associated with David Yau Yau's armed group, will be freed in the coming weeks. However "thousands more" remain in the ranks of various parties to the conflict in South Sudan. Zerrougui urged the country's government and the opposition, led by Riek Machar, to release the children.

    During Zerrougui's visit to South Sudan in June 2014, the government of South Sudan recommitted to the full implementation of its action plan with the United Nations to end the recruitment and use of children in the Sudan People's Liberation Army. Riek Machar, signed a commitment with the special representative to end all grave violations against children in May.

    According to the UN Security Council, there have been serious human rights abuses in South Sudan. In December of last year, members of the council adopted a Presidential Statement demanding a cessation of violence in South Sudan and threatening to impose sanctions against those impeding the peace process.

    Violence erupted in South Sudan in December, 2013, when president Salva Kiir accused Riek Machar of plotting a coup. Thousands of people have been killed in the ongoing civil war in the country.

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