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AWEIL - 26 Nov 2019

Former military foes trained on child protection in Aweil

Officers from three different armed groups in Aweil learning how not to recruit children. (UNMISS photo)
Officers from three different armed groups in Aweil learning how not to recruit children. (UNMISS photo)

Military officers from the government army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In-Opposition (SPLA-IO), and the Opposition Alliance have undergone training on the legal framework of the protection of children in Aweil State.

Major Kevin Kueth, who travelled from the government forces’ headquarters in Juba, said: “It is a gesture of reconciliation that we are moving together, disseminating messages of peace and making sure that there are no children affiliated to any armed group”.

 Brigadier General Okello Odong, a member of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, said the warring parties would build confidence by working together.

 “The implementation [of the peace deal] is ongoing, and we are creating awareness about it,” he added.

The training, which brought together more than 40 military officers, was supported by the Child Protection Unit of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

“It is very important because we need to protect our children and how to do it,” said Major Malish Richard Joseph of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In-Opposition (SPLA-IO).

Atkilti Hailu, a representative of the UN peacekeeping mission, said children are the future of South Sudan. “So, what do we do now? Do we arm them with guns to destroy the country or do we feed them with hope?” He asked.