National News

More SPLA Officers to be trained on Child reintegration

By Kidega Livingstone

More SPLA Officers in the department of Child protection Unit are set to be trained by the National Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration Commission on how to disarm and remove child soldiers from the SPLA.

In a phone interview to the Juba Monitor yesterday, the National Coordinator for Child Disarmament, demobilization, Reintegration at (NDDRC), Oluku Andrew Holt said there is need to train more officers in the SPLA following the increasing number of child soldiers in the Army.

He stressed that at least 17,000 child soldiers are still allied to the armed forces and armed groups in different location in the country as earlier reported by UNICEF and other agencies for this year alone, 2017.

“We shall continue to train more officers because two years ago it was reported that 15,000 children are associated with the armed forces and other armed groups but this year it has increased to 17,000, so far we have not verified the numbers and have not gone to the location where they are because there is no specific location,” Holt said.

He said that the commission in collaboration with development partners such as UNICEF would give refresher courses to child disarmament, demobilization reintegrated officers from the SPLA from different states in order for those children to be demobilized, reintegrated and reunified with their family.

From 2010 to 2012, the National disarmament, demobilization and reintegration commission has trained over 143 SPLA child protection officers.

According to the Coordinator, Oluku Andrew Holt,the SPLA officers  trained to help NDDRC and UNICEF in identifying children within the armed forces and reporting the matter to the commission, where it would sensitize, verify and register the children before reunification.

Earlier the Chief of Child Protection UNICEF, Vedasto Nsanzagwanko said that training of the SPLA child protection unit and the reintegration of child soldiers is their routine activity which is mandated by the country taskforce of United Nation family on prevention, monitoring and reporting of child rights violation in the country.

He said reintegration programme is inclusive community based not only to cater for the children who have being released from the armed forces but to also cater for vulnerable children in the community

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