Geneva: Over 1,000 children have been released from armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) so far this year, Unicef said Friday.
The current figure is more than five times the total number of children released in 2013, noting thousands more children remain in the hands of armed groups, Xinhua quoted United Nations International Children`s Emergency Fund (Unicef) as saying during a press briefing here.
The UN agency estimated the armed groups controlled up to 6,000 children in the war-torn country, meanwhile, it stressed one in five of the children released this year are girls.
Since the violence engulfed the country December last year, children have been used by all parties to the conflict not only as combatants, but also as cooks, porter and guards.
"The growing number of children who continue to be used in this brutal fighting is yet another reminder of the unspeakable atrocities children are living every day," Souleymane Diabate, Unicef`s representative for CAR said in a statement.
"Such blatant violations of children`s rights must not go unpunished," he added.