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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mai Mai militia frees 85 child soldiers in Congo

Tue, 03 Feb 2009 22:11:46 GMT | PressTV

A child soldier in Congo
A pro-government militia group in the Democratic Republic of Congo has released some 85 child soldiers, UNICEF has announced.

The children, aged between 7 and 17, were freed after months of talks with the Mai Mai militiamen, UNICEF spokeswoman Veronique Taveau said on Tuesday.

Some children were released in the province of North Kivu Thursday and the rest on Sunday. They included five girls.

Taveau stated that the children were starving and traumatized when they were handed over to UNICEF.

There are an estimated 2,000 child soldiers in North Kivu, Taveau said. She declined to say if the militiamen were paid for the release of the children.

The Geneva Convention, which governs the protection of human rights in warfare, prohibits the use of soldiers under the age of 15, while the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child draws the line at 18.

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