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UN chief: Over 8 000 children killed and hurt in conflicts

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says it's unacceptable and appalling that more than 8,000 children were killed and injured in conflicts across the world last year and is urging combatants to do more to protect boys and girls.

The U.N. chief said in his annual report on children and armed conflict, obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, that the United Nations verified 3,512 child casualties in Afghanistan, which was more than 40 percent of total child deaths and represented "the highest number ever recorded" in that country.

Guterres said the recruitment and use of children in conflict more than doubled in Somalia and Syria compared with 2015. He also said the U.N. verified 169 incidents affecting at least 1,022 children in South Sudan, where youngsters were frequently recruited by government security forces.