Forced recruitment and other grave child violations continue. Last week, 89 children were forcibly recruited from Wau Shiluk, however, it is believed that the number may be much higher. Some witnesses have noted that at least some of these children are receiving military training. Reports of forced recruitment in other parts of the country were also received this week and UNICEF and partners are now working to verify the number of children who may have been forcibly recruited and to advocate for their release.
The national launch of the Back to Learning initiative took place on 19 February in Juba with the participation of more than 40,000 children, parents and teachers, hosted by the President. UNICEF aims to get 400,000 children back into learning programmes, including 200,000 children forced out of school due to the conflict.
Support to the 547 boys released from the Cobra Faction is continuing. As the family tracing and reunification work continues, over 400 of these children are now sleeping at home. Fourteen schools and two accelerated learning programmes have reopened and are now enrolling released children and other children from the community in Pibor.
A new cholera outbreak has been confirmed in Ikotos County, Eastern Equatoria State. To date, 42 suspected cases have been reported including three deaths (case fatality rate of 7.1 per cent). UNICEF has deployed health and WASH Specialists and is providing a comprehensive health and WASH response including supplies.