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Congo: Re-recruitment of child soldiers denounced

DR of Congo: UN denounces re-recruitment, maltreatment of child soldiers

Denouncing the re-recruitment of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), United Nations officials have called for the immediate release of youngsters by the various armed groups in the faction-ridden country.

The DRC is one of the seven countries most affected by the problem of child soldiers.

At least 30,000 boys and girls under the age of 18 have been recruited, either willingly or by force, by the army or armed groups since 1998 during a civil and regional fighting, and thus exposed to hostilities, forced labour or sexual servitude, the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) said.

So far, 16,800 of them have passed through the demobilization and reintegration programme that the UN is helping to organize as part of the country’s transition to peace and democracy.

Earlier this week in Kinshasa, the capital, the MONUC official responsible for the protection of children, Danielle Barrot, denounced “cases of re-recruitment of children, harassment, arrest and illegal detention and bad treatment of youngsters who have left the armed forces or armed groups.”

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