The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF urged on Friday for the release of 13 children who were abducted during a deadly attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern region this month.
In a statement, the agency said 11 boys and two girls were believed to have been kidnapped by an armed group during an attack on a village in North Kivu province.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
“UNICEF which condemns the abduction, is concerned that the abducted children are being inhumanely treated and is calling for them to be released immediately,” it said.
On January 22, suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) members killed at least 23 people during an attack on the village of Makugwe and kidnapped several people, sources previously told AFP.
The ADF is one of the deadliest armed groups in eastern DRC, a volatile region that has been plagued by violence for decades.
The armed group – which the ISIL (ISIS) group has claimed as its central African affiliate – has been accused of slaughtering thousands of Congolese civilians and carrying out bomb attacks in Uganda.
There are more than 120 other armed groups in eastern DRC, including the M23 rebels, which Kinshasa, the EU and UN have said are being backed by Rwanda. Kigali has continued to deny the allegations.
In 2021, the United States officially linked the ADF to ISIL and added it to its list of foreign “terrorist” organisations.
On January 15, suspected ADF operatives also detonated a bomb in a church in North Kivu, killing at least 14 people and injuring another 63.