- The United Nations peace keeping mission has disbanded 880 children recruited as child soldiers in the volatile North Kivu in Democratic Republic of Congo between January and 2 March, a UN report has said.
The mission’s spokesperson, Madnodje Mounoubai said the majority of the 839 boys and 41 girls are Congolese, saying there are also 31 Rwandans, two Burundians and two Ugandans who are part of the armed forces in Congo.
“All of the children were handed over to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for their return and reintegration into their families and communities, after they were demobilised by MONUC’s Child Protection Unit,” he said.
According to the UN report, the Mission has separated 98 children in early February from the armed forces in Kivu province.
“The separation of children from armed forces and groups is one of MONUC’s priorities, within the framework of its support to the process of the accelerated integration of armed groups into the FARDC,” the mission statement read.
The mission further appealed for protection and the release of all minors associated with armed groups to be able to reintegrate into civilian life.
In January DRC and Rwanda launched a joint military offensive against the FDLR, which consists of Rwandan Hutus who fled after the Hutu extremist genocide of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.
The fighting between the government army (FARDC) and a Tutsi militia and Hutu groups has displaced more than 250, 000 people since August 2008.
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