The UN Children's Fund said Friday it had credible information that government and rebel forces in the Central African Republic were recruiting children to fight in the conflict, DPA reported.
A rebel coalition known as Seleka has been advancing on the capital Bangui since launching an offensive in December. The rebels accuse President Francois Bozize of breaching a past peace deal and want him to step down.
Diabate said UNICEF, cooperating with other organizations, has been monitoring and verifying information on child recruits, many of whom had been separated from families or lost their homes.
UNICEF said it had information that an estimated 2,500 children were associated with various armed groups in CAR before the conflict erupted in December. It said the number of child recruits has increased, but difficult to determine, as the conflict has escalated.
It said the conflict has already affected more than 300,000 children across CAR through recruitment, family separation, sexual violence, and forced displacement, which cut them off from schools and health services.