More than 800 children have been separated from their families following recent fighting between the Democratic Republic of Congo national army, FARDC and rebels in the eastern part of the country, the Red Cross said.
“Our teams of the Ugandan and DR Congo Red Cross have told us that 800 children have been separated from their families following the spike in violence in Rutshuru territory,” said Irene Nakasiita, the head of the Ugandan Red Cross Communication Unit in Kampala on Saturday, June 25.
The increase in violence in the past months has constrained tens of thousands of people to flee from their homes in the Rutshuru region of DR Congo near the border with Uganda.
Clashes have intensified these last months after rebels of the M23 movement accused the Kinshasa authorities of not honouring a 2009 accord in which the DR Congo government had to integrate M23 combatants into the national army.
Nakasiita added that 716 unaccompanied children from DR Congo had been recorded in Uganda alone, while 155 others have been reunited with their families.
“Unfortunately, the security situation in the region makes it difficult to search for missing persons and reunite them with their families,” said the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The Red Cross said access into the zones of origin of displaced persons is risky, and members of the family are constantly moving.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) indicated Wednesday, June 22, 2022, that 13 civilians, including four children, died in the fighting in Rutshuru district between June 19 and 21, 2022.
“Several villages in Rutshuru territory were emptied of their inhabitants, some of whom fled towards Uganda.”
United Nations said armed violence had displaced about 158,000 people in Rutshuru and the neighbouring region of Nyiragongo since March this year.
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