200 child soldiers released to families in South Sudan

The United Nations Children’s Fund says there are 19,000 children under arms.

FILE: Newly released child soldiers stand with rifles during their release ceremony in Yambio, South Sudan, on 7 February, 2018. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA - Two hundred child soldiers have been released to their families in South Sudan.

It’s part of a process that will see more the 1,000 child soldiers freed in the coming months.

Torn by five years of civil war, South Sudan has the greatest number of child soldiers on the planet.

The United Nations Children’s Fund says there are 19,000 children under arms.

The programme to return them to society was boosted by the laying down of arms ceremony for 119 boys and 95 girls who were sent back to their families rather than put in an institution.

The release comes weeks ahead of another round of peace talks in South Sudan.