Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sudan holding 89 Darfur child 'rebels' in good health: UN

KHARTOUM (AFP) - The UN Children's Fund visited on Saturday 89 children recently arrested by Sudan for allegedly taking part in a Darfur rebel assault on Khartoum, reporting they appeared in good health.
Sudan's powerful security services are holding the children about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of the capital in two spacious buildings opening onto a courtyard not far from a Chinese-built oil refinery, witnesses said.

UNICEF officials were allowed to visit the children -- aged 10 to 17 -- two weeks after Sudan announced they were holding around 80 children press-ganged into Darfur rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

"UNICEF has welcomed being given access to 89 children detained in connection with the attack by forces of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on Omdurman on May 10," the UN agency said in a statement.

UNICEF condemned JEM -- militarily the strongest rebel group battling the Sudanese government in the western region of Darfur -- for using children in its brazen attack on Khartoum's twin city in which more than 220 people died.

"During a meeting with the children on Saturday, UNICEF was able to confirm that they appear to be in good health and that they are being detained separately from adults in line with international standards," the agency said.

"These children should be considered primarily as victims, and every effort must be made to enable their reintegration back into their communities in line with international conventions," UNICEF representative Ted Chaiban said. Read more >>>>

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