Sudan rebels, UN vow to act against child recruitment

The rebel SPLM-N signed a United Nations Action Plan to end the recruitment of children in conflict. Its fighters came under attack in South Kordofan on Wednesday.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has signed an Action Plan with the United Nations to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in conflict. Its rebel fighters came under attack in South Kordofan on Wednesday.

The chairman of the SPLM-N, Malik Agar, signed the Action Plan in a ceremony taking place at the United Nations’ Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday.

“SPLM-N is firmly committed to the protection of children in conflict and today’s signing is a continuity of that commitment”, he declared afterwards.

“The United Nations in Sudan reiterates that it stands ready to support the full implementation of this Action Plan,” said the co-chairs of the UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting: Marta Ruedas, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and Abdallah Fadil, Unicef representative. Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, also expressed happiness for the signing of this plan.

The action plan contains a series of measures to end and prevent the recruitment and use of all children under the age of 18 in the ranks of the armed movement, which is active in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The SPLM-N also committed itself to appoint a high-level officer that will coordinate and collaborate with the UN to ensure the full implementation of this plan. All former child soldiers will be reintegrated into their communities, the rebels pledged.

As reward for a successful completion of all measures in the action plan, the non-State armed group will be eligible to be delisted from the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict. The SPLM-N was the first armed non-State signatory of the Child Protection Deed in 2015.

Fighting in Um Dorain

Rebel positions in Um Dorain in South Kordofan came under attack on Wednesday. “Nine missiles were fired from Kadugli town on the evening of 23 November 2016, targeting Um Serdiba, El Nugra, Allabo and Tablo areas,” military spokesman Arnu Ngutulu Lodi said in a press statement. The next morning the government forces resumed their attack and again launched missiles on the areas.

The SPLM-N and two rebel movements from the Darfur region extended an unilateral cessation of hostilities for six months at the end of October. On 10 October, President Omar Al Bashir announced the extension of an unilateral truce for two months. The warring parties have failed to strike a cessation of hostilities deal and a humanitarian access agreement under mediation of the African Union.