Armed factions in Central African Republic agreed on Tuesday to free all child soldiers and other children used as sex slaves or menial workers, boosting UN-driven efforts at national reconciliation after two years of turmoil. The pact signed by the eight main militia groups in the landlocked ex-French colony covers an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 children, according
to United Nations child agency UNICEF. Armed groups also pledged to end the recruitment of children. The accord emerged from a week-long national reconciliation forum which began on Monday with the goal of ending conflict that has killed thousands and driven more than a million people from their homes. “This is a major step forward for the protection of children in this country,” said Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF envoy to Central African Republic.