Rehabilitating Sudan's child soldiers
The United Nations children's agency Unicef is planning to return 3500 Sudanese boy soldiers to their families by the end of this month. The boys were taken out of rebel forces after the southern Sudanese army agreed to hand them over. They have been airlifted to Unicef camps and are being encouraged to take up other activities, such as football, before being taken back to their communities.
Most of the children now in the camps worked as servants in rebel army barracks. Some had been living there since they were very small, with about 10% having seen active military experience.
Unicef wants to ensure that the children go back to an improved situation where they can be incorporated into their families. There are no clear estimates of how many children have been drawn into Sudan's 17 year long civil war, but some estimates have put the figure as high as