About 10,000 Children are Still Fighting Alongside Armed Groups in Central African Republic

Marthe Kirima, the minister for family and gender, said in a statement that children are still being recruited as fighters, spies, messengers, cooks and even used as sex slaves.

While 15,000 children have escaped from rebel forces, she said, many are traumatized and find it difficult to return to normal life. The United Nations, which has a peacekeeping mission in the country, estimates the fighting has killed thousands and displaced over a million people, or one-fifth of the population.

In 2019, a peace deal was reached between the government and 14 armed groups, but fighting continues. The U.N. is trying to prevent children from joining armed groups and make it easier for those released to reintegrate into society.

It has created training programs for them to become mechanics, masons, carpenters or take up other professions.

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