At least 11 children, including five girls, were abducted by suspected ADF rebels on Sunday (August 30) during a raid on the Bundingili group in southern Bunia, the capital of Ituri province, according to civil society. The army has deployed in the area, but it does not confirm the number of kidnapped children and says that the investigation is ongoing.
as reported from Kinshasa, Patient Ligodi
Children are among the first victims of violence in the eastern DRC. Kidnappings and forced recruitment of armed groups have increased in recent months despite military efforts in the area.
In July alone, at least 130 cases of kidnapping were registered. Monusco’s child safety section documented and verified 174 serious violations of children’s rights in connection with armed conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo. North Kivu is still the province most affected by the phenomenon, followed by Ituri, Tanganyika and South Kivu.
The majority of the documented violations concern the kidnapping and forced recruitment of children by armed groups and militias. The main perpetrators of these kidnappings are Nyatura, active in Masisi and Rutshuru. At least 145 children were abducted by this group during the first half of this year. There is also Mai-Mai Mazembe, author of 88 cases of child abduction during the same period.
The latest reports from the UN Joint Human Rights Office also point to the various factions in Codeco, the largest armed group in Ituri province, Mai-Mai Apa Na Pale and the ADF, which are considered one of the most violent.
The army and the UN mission are trying to help these children who are trapped in armed groups. These institutions were very pleased with some major successes during the last semester. Thus, at least 574 children, including 46 girls, were taken from armed groups and militias. However, the question of better long-term care remains. This will be one of the challenges new DDR program.