DR Congo unrest: Children freed from militia, says UN

Monusco vehicles in Kagnaruchinya, north of Goma. 2 June 2013 Monusco is tasked with protecting civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo says that 82 children - some as young as eight - have been rescued from an armed group.

Monusco says the children, including 13 girls, had been forcibly recruited in the past six months by the Mai Mai Bakata Katanga militia.

The group is active in Katanga province in the south-east of the country.

Forty of the rescued children have been reunited with their families and the others are said to be receiving care.

Correspondents say the region remains very restive, with local militia demanding a fairer distribution of wealth between the poorer north of Katanga and the southern zone where foreign mining firms operate.

Monusco - the UN's stabilisation mission in DR Congo - said in a statement that the children had been identified and separated from the militia through the concerted efforts of child protection agencies.

"We are extremely concerned by continued reports of active recruitment by Mai Mai Bakata Katanga and other armed groups in eastern DRC," said Monusco head Martin Kobler.

"Children face unacceptable risks when they are recruited for military purposes. The recruitment of children, particularly those under 15 years of age, could constitute a war crime and those responsible must be held to account."

Monusco said that since the beginning of the year, 163 children, including 22 girls, have been removed from the militia.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa


  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine


  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health


  • The OfficeIn pictures

    Fifty landmark shows from 50 years of BBC Two


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world

Programmes

  • Tuna and avacadoThe Travel Show Watch

    Is Tokyo set to become the world's gourmet capital?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.