World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


DR Congo: Grave Consequences For Children Witnessing ‘Appalling Violence’, UNICEF Reports

The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, appealed on Thursday for urgent resources to support thousands of people who have fled armed violence in two small towns in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the past two months.

The simultaneous attacks on Boga and Tchabi, located in Ituri Province, have been devastating for children, the agency said, as many have witnessed brutal acts committed by assailants wielding machetes and heavy weapons.

A 12-year-old orphan called Grace is among them.

A child’s plea

Grace arrived unaccompanied at a camp in the provincial capital, Bunia, in early June after she was separated from her grandmother during the attack on her hometown, Boga.

“I was watching television in our house in the middle of the night when the gunmen attacked at four in the morning,” she recalled. “They were firing bullets everywhere and everyone took different paths to flee. As I fled, I saw a mother whose head had been cut off.”

Grace managed to find a vehicle that was taking displaced people from Boga to Bunia, a journey of more than 100 km. UNICEF and partners are trying to reunite her with her grandmother.

Meanwhile, Grace is being cared for by a foster mother in a crowded shelter in one of two main camps in Bunia housing more than 20,000 displaced people.

“I ask the world not to ignore the appalling violence that is going on here,” she said. “We must do all we can to get rid of people who kill innocent civilians.”

Entire families killed

Similar attacks like the ones on Boga and Tchabi have uprooted whole communities, UNICEF said, with reports of entire families, including children, hacked to death. Health centres and schools have been ransacked, and whole villages set on fire.

Around 90 per cent of the population fled the Boga area in the wake of the twin assaults, with people seeking sanctuary north, south and east of the town.

“It is estimated that about 30,000 people have fled their homes in the recent displacements, including more than 9,500 in Bunia,” said Dr. Ibrahim Cisse, UNICEF Bunia Chief Field Officer.

Most of the displaced stay with friends and relatives in the host community, not in camps, and needs are great, particularly for food, essential household items and other non-food items.

Support for displaced people

UNICEF is working with humanitarian partners to distribute thousands of household essentials, and sanitary and hygiene kits, in addition to providing tarpaulins to more than 4,000 households.

Dr Cisse said it was unlikely that people will be able to return to their homes despite military operations to eliminate armed groups in the Boga area.

UNICEF has urgently appealed for resources to support the displaced, mostly children and women, who have suffered serious rights violations, including rape.

Top priorities include working to reunite children separated from their families, or recruited into armed groups, as well as providing access to healthcare, nutrition, drinking water, education and other basic necessities.

In a report published earlier this year, UNICEF called for an end to the conflict in the eastern DRC, which has generated one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

Some 1.6 million people were driven from their homes in the first six months of 2020 alone.

Overall, 5.2 million Congolese are displaced, which is more than in any country, except Syria.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Afghanistan: Record Number Of Women And Children Killed Or Wounded

More women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since records began in 2009, a United Nations report revealed on Monday... More>>

Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>

UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Food Systems: More Than 100 Countries Discuss Visions For Futures To Accelerate Global Action Ahead Of September Summit

More than 100 countries came together over the course of three-days to discuss how they will transform their national food systems to drive progress against the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030... More>>

Food Systems: Italian & Rwandan Leaders Join Urgent Call To Transform World’s Food Systems As Pre-Summit Begins

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame stress need for more inclusive, sustainable and holistic approaches ahead of the Summit in New York in September... More>>

UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>