South Sudan Recruiting Child Soldiers Again 

South Sudan Recruiting Child Soldiers Again South Sudan Recruiting Child Soldiers Again 

Both the government and the rebels use blackmail to coerce families into giving up their children to fight. The International Criminal Court considers it a war crime to recruit anyone under the age of 15 for combat.

A UN document revealing the initiative said President Salva Kiir appointed a senior official to lead the recruitment effort. It says government forces, or their supporters, recently used intimidation to recruit an entire village of boys, some as young as 12 years old, Deutsche Welle reported.

UNICEF's deputy executive director, Justin Forsyth, recently returned from South Sudan. "The dream we all shared for the children of this young country has become a nightmare," he said.

It is unclear how many children were taken, but armed groups—both government and rebels—often resort to blackmail, threatening to seize a family's cattle, to recruit children for war. Cattle are an integral source of wealth and status in their bucolic society.