The United Nations Children's Fund is concerned that children involved in Nepal's conflict have not returned to their families or communities.

A UNICEF statement says thousands of Nepali children under 18 associated with armed groups during the country's decade-old conflict are still missing.

International human rights groups have accused Nepal's Maoist rebels of conscripting children to their cause, a charge the rebels have repeatedly denied.

The Nepalese government and Maoist rebels have been holding to a ceasefire for six months. They are expected to sign a formal peace agreement Thursday. Part of the comprehensive peace accord addresses the issue of children affected by the war.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.