See also:
» 02.03.2010 - Rights groups call for suspension of Lieutenant
» 25.02.2010 - Paris Club cuts DRC’s debt by half
» 02.02.2010 - Scores slaughtered by rebels in DRC
» 27.01.2010 - UN agency working with 100,000 DRC refugees
» 12.01.2010 - DRC refugees a problem to neighbours
» 14.12.2009 - Security Council should intervene – HRW says
» 08.12.2009 - Arms and minerals’ smuggling still rife in DRC, report
» 03.12.2009 - Congo upholds Norwegians death sentences

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Congo Kinshasa | Uganda
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UNICEF calls for release of 90 abducted children

afrol News, 22 September - United Nations Children's Fund has called for immediate and unconditional release of 90 children abducted by Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to local authorities, children were kidnapped by LRA during simultaneous attacks on Kiliwa, Duru, and Nambia villages, saying group took fifty children from a primary school in Kiliwa and forty others from a secondary school in Duru in Orientale Province on 17 September.

"UNICEF demands the unconditional release of the abducted children" stated Julien Harneis, UNICEF eastern DRC's Chief of Field Operations, stating that UNICEF is concerned that children would be forced to fight.

"These children were taken from their schools. UNICEF is very concerned that they will now be forced to fight or support fighting, putting their lives at risk," Ms Harneis said.

In addition to child abductions, a village chief and two Italian missionaries were taken, while at least three civilians were killed during attack.

"Health centers have been looted, and houses burnt. In Kiliwa, the entire village except for health center was burnt to ground. The population has fled and as of this morning has started arriving in Dungu town," UNICEF said.

UNICEF has reminded all parties that abduction and use of children in armed groups is a war crime and crime against humanity.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the two decades civil war between LRA and Ugandan government.

Fighting officially ended in 2006 when a ceasefire was agreed, but LRA rebels have in part regrouped across border in DRC during the agreement's much-delayed implementation.

UNICEF has mounted one of its largest emergency humanitarian operations in the world in DRC to respond to needs of both women and children in conflict zones.

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