Central African Republic: Over 300 Children Killed in Conflict

Bangui — GOVERNMENT forces and rebel groups have forcibly recruited some 473 children as soldiers despite the signing of a peace agreement in the Central African Republic (CAR) earlier this year.

It is the most prevalent violation of children's rights.

In total, grave violations have been verified against 1 364 children as well as 138 attacks on schools and hospitals and 342 incidents of denial of humanitarian access to children between 2016 and June 2019.

According to the United Nations (UN), at least 324 children have been killed or maimed.

No less than 291 children have been raped or suffered forms of sexual abuse.

UN officials confirmed 16 children were detained for their alleged association with armed groups during the conflict in the Central African country.

The violations have overshadowed advances achieved by the government of President Faustin-Archange Touadera and 14 armed groups that signed a peace deal in February 2019.

The release of more than 8 600 children from the warfare since 2016 is among the highlights.

"Notwithstanding these positive steps, the security situation remained fragile in the country and boys and girls continued to endure dreadful acts of violence," said Virginia Gamba, UN envoy for Children and Armed Conflict.

The country of some 5 million people spilled into conflict in 2013 when Muslim rebel groups overthrew the government of Francois Bozize Yangouvonda.

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