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Over 20 children abducted in Jonglei state: official

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August 19, 2016 (BOR) - 21 school going children were abducted in South Sudan’s Jonglei state by suspected Murle tribesmen since the year began, an official said.

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Jonglei Governor Philip Aguer speaking during children conference in Bor, August 19, 2016 (ST)

The state education minister, while presenting a report, said abduction and internal wars were key challenges that frequently place children in villages at risk.

“We have problem of child abduction, and this has been going on for many years. We, as the ministry of education, we are against that, because it makes children not to be in learning premises, they don’t stay with the families and it traumatized the children. Families are missing their children for unknown reasons”, said Susan Aluong.

“And recently in Baidit payam, we lost two children to abductors. Because of this, the numbers may increase”, she added.

The education minister was speaking during a conference organised by Save the Children International, focusing on child rights, governance sector, with funding from Save the Children Norway. At least 120 children from four schools within Bor town as well as government officials attended it.

Those in attendance particularly urged the state government to observe children rights and allocate more money in the budget for children affairs and their well-being.

The right to education, life and protection were considered key during the conference.

Most of the children who graced the conference urged the state government to restore peace and stability in the country.

According to the state education minister, however, the ongoing conflict in the country has contributed to the limited learning spaces, while underpayment of teachers makes it difficult for them to deliver much needed services.

“This war has forced the communities to leave their villages, bomas, for town, causing congestions in the town schools. With rights to education, we have to increase teachers’ salaries so that they teach children well,” said the minister.

“The salaries we are giving to the teachers is not really enough to cover the needs of the teachers due to economic crisis we are in now”, she further stressed.

Meanwhile Jonglei state governor, Philip Aguer said the number of abductions that occurred in his state this year was less when compared to what happened last year.

Aguer said he was optimistic concerned governments would stump out all forms of abductions.

“Child abduction is a bad criminal act and it is an act that can be eradicated. Because when you abduct the child, you subject the child to a different orientation. You will be taught how to hide, how to steal and how to do cattle raiding, these are subjecting you to be become an object. Children are human beings, they are not objects”, he said.

The governor further revealed that Jonglei state administration would meet the Boma state government in Gumuruk or Pibor next week to find out ways of halting abductions.

“We are communicating with authorities in Boma state. I am sure we will stop this child abduction. We will have a meeting in Gumuruk, with David Yauyau, and Baba Medan to discuss the issues of child abduction. Yauyau is a changed man after his rebellion and after the peace agreement. Yauyau is helping us to combat child abduction”, he said.

(ST)

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