New child soldier fears in C. African Republic

The final contingent of reinforcements under current deployment plans, a group of around forty soldiers from Cameroon, departs by truck after arriving to bolster the multinational central-african regional force known as FOMAC which now numbers around a thousand troops, at the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Facing an insurgency by a new rebel coalition, Central African Republic President Bozize consolidated military power under his control Thursday after dismissing his own son as acting defense minister along with his army chief of staff. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

The final contingent of reinforcements under current deployment plans, a group of around forty soldiers from Cameroon, departs by truck after arriving to bolster the multinational central-african regional force known as FOMAC which now numbers around a thousand troops, at the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Facing an insurgency by a new rebel coalition, Central African Republic President Bozize consolidated military power under his control Thursday after dismissing his own son as acting defense minister along with his army chief of staff. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — The U.N. children's agency says it's concerned about a growing number of children being recruited by armed groups in Central African Republic as President Francois Bozize's government faces a rebellion in the north.

UNICEF said Friday it has received "credible reports that rebel groups and pro-government militias are increasingly recruiting and involving children in armed conflict."

Souleymane Diabate, UNICEF Representative for Central African Republic, said children who have become separated from their families amid the instability are at the greatest risk.

UNICEF estimates that even before the latest crisis here some 2,500 children were part of armed groups in the country long plagued by rebellions. Rebels have seized 10 towns in a month's time.

Associated Press
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