UNICEF worried over child suffering in South Sudan

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for an end to child suffering in South Sudan.

The UN agency warned that South Sudanese children are being killed in clashes between the army and forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.

In addition, UNICEF said there are evidence that children are being forced to join as combatants.

Jinathan Weitch, UNICEF representative in South Sudan, also condemned the recent attack on a UN peace-keeping base in the city of Bor in Jonglei State.

Weitch said the UN agency considers it unacceptable that children are attacked in places where they are supposed to have security.

“Utterly defenseless children were attacked in a place where they should have felt safe,” said Weitch.

“The trauma for children under such circumstances is indescribable.”

On April 17, a group of gunmen entered the UN base sheltering 5,000 people and began shooting, killing nearly 50 people including children and injuring more than 100 others.

Peacekeepers responded by opening fire against the gunmen, killing at least 10 of the attackers.

South Sudan plunged into violence late last year, when clashes broke out on December 15, 2013, between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and troops led by Machar in the capital city of Juba and soon spread across the oil-rich country.

The clashes has killed thousands of people and displaced almost one million others. Some 300,000 have also been displaced into neighboring Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia.

The conflict has also taken on an ethnic dimension, pitting the president’s Dinka tribe against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.

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