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News note

211 Children Released from the SPLA in Southern Kordofan

KHARTOUM, 18 June 2006 – UNICEF today welcomed the demobilization of 181 children – 174 boys and 7 girls – from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).  This release took place on 6 June in Julud in the Nuba Mountains area of Sudan (Southern Kordofan), and the children have been reunited with their families over the past two weeks.

In addition to these 181 children formally released through the Southern Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (SSDDRC), another 30 children went home earlier by themselves prior to the demobilization as they came from nearby locations.

“The process of advocating for the release and registering these 211 boys and girls started back in February,” explained UNICEF Representative in Sudan, Ted Chaiban.  “The children range from 10 to 18 years; they all lived and attended school in the military barracks of the SPLA for the past 3 to 5 years.”

As he tried to pack his bicycle on the bus, Abubaker who is 15 years old and one of the children released, said, “Thanks to UNICEF and all those who made this possible for us.  I’ll go home and get ready for school before the next academic year.”

“UNICEF is extremely pleased about this demobilization and thanks the SSDDRC for its collaboration” said Chaiban.  “There are still more boys and girls who are associated with armed groups in Southern Kordofan and other areas of Sudan and we hope they too will return home soon.  UNICEF has already registered another 80 in the Kauda area, and these children are ready to be released.  We have also been informed of other children in Blue Nile State that will also be reunited with their families.”

UNICEF works with the SSDDRC for the demobilization of children in the SPLA, and Save the Children US, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the UN Mission to reunite and provide services for reintegration for these children and receiving communities in Southern Kordofan, North Sudan and beyond.

For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, contact:
Lorena Carrillo, UNICEF Media Kadugli: +249 631 821 336, lcarrillo@unicef.org
Roshan Khadivi, UNICEF Media Khartoum, 249 9121 22 291, rkhadivi@unicef.org




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