South Kordofan rebels deny forced recruitment of children

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January 6, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has denied accusations of having forcibly recruited 900 children from South Kordofan state where they have been fighting government troops since June 2011.

The Secretary General of the Sudanese National Council for Child Welfare, Gamar Khalifa Habani, stated Thursday that SPLM-N moved some 900 children away from their original areas in South Kordofan and sent them to training camps in South Sudan.

Sudanese government and the ruling National Congress Party accuse on daily basis Juba of harbouring SPLM-N rebels who fought in the past with the ruling party in Juba before the independence of South Sudan.

"The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement has no any training camps," said Arno Nuguthulu the SPLM-N spokesperson in a statement released today. He further stressed that "the SPLA have the needed fighters who can continue the armed struggle to overthrow the regime."

The southern sector of the SPLA formed official army of South Sudan when the country seceded from north Sudan in July last year. The SPLA says that it no longer supports the northern sector of the SPLM/A.

Arno went to accuse the army of being responsible for the forced recruitment of boys in the Nuba Mountains after the heavy losses sustained during a series of attacks they launched against the Sudanese army there.

The rebel official renewed the SPLM-N’s commitment to international humanitarian laws and conventions which consider the recruitment of children as war crime.

Yesterday Sudan filed a complaint with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), claim that 900 children had been conscripted by the rebel group.