Burundi: UN envoy voices concern over children in hands of rebel group

6 May 2008

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict today expressed concern over the some 500 children associated with the ranks of a Burundian rebel group, calling for their release.

The children are in the hands of the Palipehutu-FNL of Agathon Rwasa, which reignited its fight against the Government last month.

“The outbreak of renewed fighting by the P-FNL of Agathon Rwasa proves once again the need to quickly separate all children from fighting forces even before a final peace agreement is signed,” Radhika Coomaraswamy said in a press release.

She welcomed the recent release of 232 children in the struggling African nation, where a comprehensive ceasefire agreement was signed in 2006 after years of civil war but sporadic fighting has continued.

Their release was made possible by eight months of negotiations with the dissident faction of the Palipehutu-FNL by the Burundian Government, civil society, UN agencies and others.


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