Southern Sudan to Purge Child Soldiers From Army
The government of Southern Sudan said Monday it will purge child soldiers from the ranks of its former rebel army by year's end, a policy change that could see thousands of young troops pushed out of the military.
The Sudan People's Liberation Army launched a new "Child Protection Department" intended to help the army fulfill an agreement it signed with the United Nations in November. The agreement commits the army to release all children in its ranks by the end of the year and to end the use of child soldiers across Southern Sudan.
The U.N. Children's Fund estimates that about 900 children serve as soldiers in the south. The southern military did not say how many child soldiers it believes it has, but the chief of staff indicated it was several thousand.