World

Hundreds of South Sudanese boys believed abducted by armed group

The U.N. children's agency says it believes hundreds of children were abducted two weeks ago by an armed group in South Sudan that is believed to have ties with the country's military.

UNICEF had previously said at least 89 boys, some as young as 13, were forcibly recruited in mid-February by an armed group near the town of Malakal, the capital of the oil-producing Unity state.

UNICEF said in a statement Saturday that it was "confident that the armed group which took the children ... is aligned with" South Sudan's military.

Jonathan Veitch, the UNICEF representative in South Sudan, said he feared the children "are going from the classroom to the front line."

South Sudan's government has condemned the abductions, saying the military is investigating what happened.