Unidentified gunmen in war-torn South Sudan, kidnapped about 90 boys, some as young as 13, from their school in oil-rich Upper Nile State, the United Nations reported on Saturday.
The schoolboys were taken while doing their exams, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) said, adding that the total number of kidnapped children could be "much higher."
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the abductions and the gunmen's intentions were not clear, though in the past armed groups have forcibly recruited children before major offensives.
Yet Another Destructive U.S. Intervention
Conflict has been rife in South Sudan since December 2013 when fighting erupted in capital Juba between soldiers allied to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to his former deputy, Riek Machar. The war there is the result of yet another Washington intervention in a foreign country, with the same results obtained everywhere else, which is destruction, violence, chaos and the victimization of the people.
Washington ignores once and again that the people only want peace. (Photo: AFP)
“Washington was more interested in weakening the Republic in Sudan and encouraged the Republic of South Sudan to break away, but the looming civil war will damage U.S. interests in the region,” Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African news wire, told RT a few days after violence erupted in the country.
“The U.S. has a lot invested politically in the Republic of South Sudan and they were the main forces behind encouraging the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to break away from the Republic of Sudan in the north of the country. Therefore, they have a lot to say about developments that are going on right now in this troubled nation,” the expert said in an interview with RT.
US military intervention in #SouthSudan and in nine other African countries is a disastrous echo of 19th century colonialism.— Mahwish ZK (@MahwishKD) December 28, 2013
I feel completely uninformed about South Sudan & potential US intervention. If only there were still journalists in America!— Clarence Fruster (@TheGreatHustler) December 23, 2013
He also explained that the motives of the U.S. intervention in Sudan are linked to their interest, as always, in oil, as the country was producing over 500,000 barrels per day, which were held by China, therefore, the subsequent motive in causing destabilization in the nation was to weaken the anti-U.S. government of Khartoum, Republic of Sudan, and lessen the influence of China.
The result of Washington's intervention has been the country's deterioration into a civil war, which threatens to spread to other countries throughout Central and East Africa, and the despair of the people who now face potential famine.
Another common practice by the U.S. is to impose sanctions on countries, as it recently has done in South Sudan.
Death and Displacement
At least 10,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million internally displaced, according to Reuters. UNICEF said about 12,000 children have been recruited into armed groups since the outbreak of war.
The latest incident took place near Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile State, in a small village that has seen its population swell to about 90,000 due to a flood of internally displaced people.
"According to witnesses, armed soldiers surrounded the community and searched house by house. Boys older than 12 years of age were taken away by force," UNICEF said in a statement.
According to Reuters, the use of child soldiers in South Sudan, which only became independent in 2011, has a long history.
The U.N. last month secured a pledge for the release of about 3,000 child soldiers in South Sudan, in what it called "one of the largest ever demobilizations of children.”
Tens of thousands of displaced Sudanese people now face hunger and homelessness. (Photo: AFP)
Rape and Sexual Violence
Rape and other forms of sexual violence by all sides in South Sudan's civil war have become so widespread that a 2-year-old child was among the victims, the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in armed conflict said recently.
"In my 30 years of experience, I've never witnessed anything like what I saw in Bentiu," Zainab Hawa Bangura told reporters about a recent trip to the northern town, one of South Sudan's regions worst hit by the conflict.
Also read Bill Fletcher’s Opinion article: Ebola, Race and Neo-liberalism