Armed ViolenceNews

8-Year-Old Boy Dies As DR Congo Forces, Rebels Clash

The young boy was hit by a stray bullet as the rebels faced the DR Congo’s troops in a fierce clash

An eight-year-old boy was hit by a stray bullet during a clash between soldiers of the DR Congo government (FARDC) and rebels of the Alliance des patriotes pour un Congo libre et souverain (APCLS) in Nyabiondo, about 100 kilometres from Goma in the Masisi territory of North Kivu.

The boy, who was a second-year pupil of Kisheke primary school, died Tuesday, March 16.

“In the morning of Tuesday, a boy child was killed by a bullet in Nyabiondo following clashes between the FARDC and combatants of the APCLS. The child was hit by a bullet while at home,” said the Rapporteur of the civil society in Masisi.

Local sources told HumAngle that recurrent clashes in practically all the Masisi territory have continued to cause bereavement amongst the population. 

“It is our duty to call on the state of Congo to take on its responsibilities,” the Rapporteur said.

The boy’s death led to anger within youths and adults of the area, as they stormed the streets to demonstrate against the killing. 

The demonstrators carried the corpse to the office of the Osso/Banyungu military sector.

“The soldiers were clashing with the militia near the village of Rukoko, not far from Nyabiondo. That is when the soldiers who were in the camp on the hills were firing to reinforce their positions,” Baudouin Kiyana, Chief of the Osso/Banyungu sector said. 

“They were firing in all directions and it is under these circumstances that the boy received a bullet in the stomach. The inhabitants brought the corpse to our office and we have just buried the child this afternoon. The situation here is untenable.”

Didier Kamundu, the national parliamentarian for Masisi territory, blamed the Congolese national army for the death of the child because they were firing indiscriminately as they returned from operations on the frontlines.

“In Nyabiondo, the FARDC fired in a disorderly manner on their return from an attack,” Kamundu said.

“The fighting started again yesterday and continued this morning after a short calm in the night. A child of five years whose name was given as Safari, son of Safari Katheko was killed by a bullet. One week ago, a woman was wounded under the same circumstances. Another woman aborted following the explosion of a bomb near her.” 

For the past two weeks, the army has been clashing with militiamen of the APCLS in the agglomeration of Nyabiondo and its environs. One week ago, the army affirmed that it had killed 10 assailants and recovered arms.

However, the military spokesperson for the North Kivu operational sector Sokola2, Njike Kaiko Gullaume has on the other hand confirmed that fighting has rather continued with intensity in the sector.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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