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Beni: 5 children formerly linked to armed groups delivered to a local NGO by MONUSCO


Goma, 4 March 2024 -After being associated to armed groups since a while, 5 children have been delivered to a local organization by MONUSCO in order to facilitate their reintegration and community reintegration.

An important leap in all initiatives aiming to avoid lost childhood in a torn-war province of North-Kivu.

They are in total 5 children linked with armed groups in time who were handed over to a partner NGO by MONUSCO so that they could be looked after.

They are teenager who are between 14 and 16 years old and who walked away from the nets of their kidnappers few weeks ago at Mwalika, Byakato and around Paida areas, 3,1 miles from Beni town.

It is in North-Kivu province, in the East of Democratic Republic of the Congo.

After they escaped, they were intercepted by FARDC soldiers who handed them over this Monday, March 4, 2024 to the Child Protection Section of MONUSCO in Beni.

Those children claim to have been kidnapped in certain villages in the Beni territory, as in Lwemba, Mamba, Kalingati or Byakato, between 2021 and January 2024.

Four of them had been detained unlawfully with their parents in forests by Allied democratic Forces (ADF).

The fifth has stated that he was kidnapped by a local militia known as Mai-Mai Kyandenga group and by trickery.

In order to escape, some have claimed to have used the pretext of going to pay visit; while others took advantage of the fact that it was dark of the night or to go and draw water, or even of the drunken state of the agent guarding the camp, to flee.

The Child Protection Section of MONUSCO in Beni, in turn, handed over these five children to a local non-governmental organization, a partner of UNICEF, for psychosocial support and transitional care, while awaiting their family reintegration.

In 2012, the DRC government signed the agreement to put and end to Child recruitment and other conflict-related violations against children.

However, that important step suffers as multiple armed groups and militias have continued to rely on children, girls and boys to play roles in armed conflicts, including as a large military force.

According to the protection officer of the Child Protection Section of MONUSCO in Beni who attended the ceremony, these children show signs of advanced trauma; some have indeed witnessed scenes of horror during their captivity.

Some have witnessed they parents being beheaded or have seen with their own eyes how their young brothers are giving ghost after being deprived food for a long period.

They are used as combatants, transports, spies, chiefs or sexual within armed groups and militia, said a report of UNICEF in 2018.

All these issues jeopardize their chance to write their own destiny and have bright future, their childhood is stolen from them, their beautiful dreams turn to nightmares.

Working closely with UNICEF, MONUSCO’s Child protection section has a mandate to monitor, report and respond to the six gross violations pf children’s rights during armed conflicts.

Those six gross violations are among other abduction, recruitment and use of children, killings and mutilations, rape and sexual violence, attacks on schools and hospitals and denial to access to humanitarian assistance.

Endelevu is the first Congolese information site specializing in sustainable development goals. It is also a media which favors data journalism and factcheking in the DRC and which aims to be focused implementation on all UN sustainable development goals in DRC and in Africa and beyond as the world gradually moves towards 2030.

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