DR Congo children find refuge in Zambia

Latest news

    Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo are bearing the brunt of escalating violence between Congolese security forces and armed groups in the country.

    Out of the 3,360 refugees who have fled into northern Zambia since August 30, at least 60 percent are children, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

    After walking hundreds of kilometres alone for weeks, many are traumatised and show signs of malnutrition.

    READ MORE: Thousands flee violence in central Africa

    Despite the perilous journeys they endure, some say fleeing the country was their only option.

    “My parents were both killed when the village was attacked,” Leon Musongo, a Congolese child refugee, told Al Jazeera. “The only thing I could do was run and leave the country.”

    He added: “I was told Zambia is safe. Bad people won’t follow me here. I walked for a long time. I miss my parents, but at least I am alive and safe in Zambia.”

    Most refugees are taken to the Kenani transit centre in the Nchelenge district, 90km from the border, where the Zambian government works with aid agencies to help them.

    ‘Huge needs’

    So far, 4,000 refugees have been registered at the refugee camp in northern Zambia.

    Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Kamponge, said the centre is “filling up fast” and the “humanitarian needs are huge”.

    “Some of the children who come alone wait in nearby villages, hoping their parents follow,” she said. “They can wait for days or weeks. Sometimes, they never hear from their families again.”

    Aid workers say unaccompanied or separated children need to be placed in foster homes.

    Meanwhile, dozens are making the journey alone. Others come with relatives because they got separated from their parents during the conflict.

    According to UNHCR aid workers, the children have suffered a lot of trauma from the violence back home. 

    “You have children who have fled because they have lost their parents, and they saw their parents being killed,” UNHCR’s Anna Leer told Al Jazeera.

    “You have children who came back to empty homes and then you have children who are telling us stories of forced recruitments and fear of abduction,” she said.

    Congolese child refugees are traumatised and show signs of malnutrition [Al Jazeera]

    The UN’s children agency, UNICEF, said in July that the violence in Congo’s volatile Kasai region has displaced at least 850,000 children.

    The number of people displaced by conflict in Congo has nearly doubled in the past six months to 3.8 million, a UN official said in August.

    The UN released a report in August, saying more than 250 people, including 62 children, were killed in Congo from mid-March to mid-June.

    In the southeastern province of Tanganyika, clashes between rival groups have also forced thousands to flee, as has the long-running violence in the Kivu region, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council, an NGO.

    In Kasai, violence erupted last September after the death of a tribal leader, known as the Kamwina Nsapu, who rebelled against the authority of President Joseph Kabila‘s government in Kinshasa and its local representatives.

    The killing sparked violence that has escalated, including alleged violations of human rights such as extrajudicial killings, rapes, torture and the use of child soldiers.

    View the original article: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/10/dr-congo-children-find-refuge-zambia-171008104220891.html

    Source: Al Jazeera News

    In the same category are

    Israeli jets carry out strikes in Gaza The Israeli military said 45 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israeli territory from across the Gaza border Israeli jets have attacked 25 ta...
    Philippine ex-president Benigno Aquino indicted for budget misuse Aquino had insisted the release of the funds were well-documented and was allowed by law Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino has been indict...
    Divers join search for 192 missing in Indonesia mishap Four were confirmed dead and 18 survivors were picked up from Toba Lake as of Wednesday Divers and an underwater drone have joined a fleet of rescu...
    Rockets fired out of Gaza as Israel attacks Hamas targets The Israeli military said 45 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israeli territory from across the Gaza border Israeli jets have attacked 25 ta...
    Who is George Soros? A government billboard is seen displaying George Soros in Hungary Born to a Jewish family in Budapest in 1930, George Soros survived the Nazi occup...
    Eritrea to send delegation to Ethiopia for talks Eritrea is dispatching a delegation to Addis Ababa for 'constructive engagement', an Eritrean diplomat said Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki said ...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.