The United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has condemned the attack on a primary school and health centre in Petsi, situated in Djugu territory of Ituri province in eastern DR Congo. The attack took place on Saturday, Jan.15.
In a declaration published onThursday, Jan. 20, UNICEF called on “all parties in conflict to respect the higher interests of children and respect as well and protect schools and health centres.”
“Within this context, UNICEF wants to recall that during the period of political tension, schools, basic services essential to survival, development, and the protection of the child, must be inviolable sanctuaries. The school is a privileged learning area for socializing, protection, and construction of citizenship. The school gives children a sentiment of normalcy and hope for the future,” the UNICEF declaration reads.
A pupil was seriously wounded on Saturday, Jan. 15, during an army bombardment that hit a school in Petsi, Djugu territory.
Petsi is a village situated about seven kilometres to the west of Bambu centre.
For over five years now, Ituri province has faced insecurity following attacks by armed gangs against civilians, causing an enormous humanitarian crisis, particularly among women and children.
Since 2018, at least 109 schools and health facilities have been attacked in Ituri province.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), in 2022, about 2.9 million persons are vulnerable in Ituri province and would require special protection and humanitarian support for long periods.
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