Democratic Republic of the Congo
UNICEF Calls For Release Of 13 Children Abducted During An Attack In Eastern DRC
The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF on Friday called for the release of 13 children who were kidnapped during a deadly attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) eastern region earlier this month, reported The Aljazeera.
“UNICEF which condemns the abduction, is concerned that the abducted children are being inhumanely treated and is calling for them to be released immediately,” the UN agency said.
In a statement, the agency said suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) members abducted 11 boys and two girls, all aged between 12 and 14, during an attack on the village of Makungwe, about 26 kilometres east of Butembo, in North Kivu province.
The ADF is one of the deadliest armed groups that are currently active in the eastern part of DRC, a volatile region plagued by violence for decades.
The ADF – which the ISIL (ISIS) militant group has claimed as its central African affiliate – has been accused of killing thousands of people in the DRC and carrying out bomb attacks in Uganda.
At least 24 people were reported killed in the attack on January 22, including a 13-year-old girl and five women.
Following the attack, several houses were burned and ransacked, forcing dozens of people to flee to the city of Butembo.
According to the UNICEF, at least seven children, aged between 9 and 12, were separated from their parents during the course of the attack. The agency said it is providing care to these children, while working to reunite them with their families at the earliest opportunity.
There are more than 120 other armed groups in eastern DRC, including the M23 rebels, which Kinshasa, the European Union and United Nations claims are being backed by Rwanda. Kigali has continued to deny the allegations.
In 2021, the United States government linked the ADF group to ISIL and added it to its list of foreign “terrorist” organizations.