KINSHASA, 27 January 2023 – UNICEF has called for the immediate and unconditional release of at least 13 children reported to have been abducted this week by a non-state armed group during an attack near the city of Butembo, in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The 11 boys and two girls – aged between 12 and 14 - are believed to have been abducted during an attack on the night of 22 January 2023 in the village of Makungwe, about 26 kilometres east of Butembo. At least 24 people were reported killed, including a 13-year-old girl and five women. UNICEF condemns the abduction and expresses concern that the abducted children are at risk of inhumane treatment and is calling for them to be released immediately.
The abduction of children is a violation of international law and a grave violation of children’s rights in armed conflict. Following this attack, several houses were burned and ransacked, forcing dozens of inhabitants of this village to flee to the city of Butembo. During the course of the attack at least seven children – aged between 9 and 12 - were separated from their parents. UNICEF and its partners are providing care to these children, while working to reunite them with their families at the earliest opportunity.