Reports say nearly 120 children were released from an armed group in South Sudan on Monday, bringing the total number of children released to 3 100.

The children were released in Yambio where they were associated with the South Sudan National Liberation Movement.

Of the 119 children, 48 were girls and the youngest was only 10.

This release coincided with the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers.

“Every child no longer with an armed group represents a childhood restored and a future regained,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore.

Fore visited South Sudan in January 2018.

“More and more children are being freed from armed groups and armed forces in South Sudan, and while this is an encouraging development, there is a long way to go before all of the more than 19 000 children still in their ranks are returned to their families,” Fore added.

Since February 2018, more than 1 000 children have been released from armed conflict.

UNICEF is unable to pinpoint exact data on the number of children who are or have been used and recruited into armed conflict, but it is estimated that tens of thousands of children – aged 18 and younger – are used in these situations worldwide.

These children are either recruited or used for various functions by armed forces and groups.

This includes being fighters, cooks, porters, messengers and spies, or they are subjected to sexual exploitation.