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Three years after its 2011 independence referendum, South Sudan’s government has not provided the infrastructure required for stability of any kind in the country. Amid renewed warfare, actor and activist George Clooney believes he is seeing the creation of a second generation of Lost Boys.

In an oped for USA Today last month, Clooney says the boys of South Sudan, with no education and no job prospects, have little hope for their future. This makes them easy pickings for recruitment into militia forces.

But recruitment has also been fuelled by revenge. Ordering soldiers of the Neur ethnic group to target Dinka civilians and Dinkas to target Neur civilians is “lighting an ethnic match that has now engulfed parts of South Sudan,” says Clooney. Atrocities, such as killing everyone in a hospital, seem even more outrageous when hearing that it was child soldiers who swept through the compound murdering everyone in sight.

“At the direction of their ‘leaders’, these boys have committed numerous atrocities,” he says. “They have also borne witness to monumental crimes that will only deepen cycles of vengeance and child soldier recruitment.”

Clooney wants to see a peace process begin that will “deal squarely with the burgeoning numbers of new Lost Boys and the broader crisis facing youth [… through] investment in education, livelihood opportunities, demobilization activities, and psycho-social support for boys and girls throughout the country,” and he thinks the US should play a role in such initiatives.

“Feuding politicians cannot be allowed to use hope-starved boys so cynically in pursuit of their ambitions.”

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