A new UNICEF Israel report reveals that as a result of South Sudan’s three-year civil war, 17,000 children have been forced to take part in the fighting. More than 2,000 children have been killed, while thousands more have been abducted and raped. Take a look inside the bleeding country that will most likely continue bleeding throughout the upcoming year.

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Three years after war erupted in South Sudan once again, the civilian population is paying the price. Yesterday (Wednesday), UNICEF Israel published gloomy and frustrating data regarding child recruitment into armed groups that are fighting in the country.

This year alone, more than 1,300 children were recruited into armed forces and armed groups. According to data collected by UNICEF within South Sudan, 17,000 child soldiers have been used in the country’s conflict since 2013. “Since the first day of this conflict, children have been the ones most devastatingly affected by the violations,” said UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala. “Now, as the fighting intensifies and despite repeated pledges by all to end child recruitment, children are once again being targeted.”

1,300 child soldiers recruited in 2016

1,300 child soldiers recruited in 2016 Photo Credit: UNICEF/Channel 2 News

Only 177 children were able to escape or were released from armed groups this year. The two main parties of this bloody war, the SPLA and the SPLA in Opposition, signed agreements with the UN requiring them to end child recruitment, but this has not stopped them. UNICEF has stated that child recruitment into armed forces and groups to be utilized on the battle field is not the only “use” of children within the country. UNICEF has been made aware of complaints regarding thousands of rapes, sexual assaults, abductions and other such cases of severe abuse. Since the beginning of the country’s conflict, 2,342 children have been killed or maimed, 3,090 children have been abducted, and 1,130 children have been sexually assaulted.