Ninety-one children were killed between January and June in violence in Ituri, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which amounts to crimes against humanity, said in a statement on Tuesday. United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
“Alerts of violence against children recorded by Unicef came from all over Ituri,” Dr Ibrahim Cissé, head of the UNICEF office in Bunia (Ituri), told AFP when violence broke out. in May-June 2019 in Djugu where the armed group Coopérative pour le développement du Congo (Codeco) is active.
It returns that “91 children were killed, 27 were mutilated and 13 were victims of sexual violence between January and June 2020. Nearly 18 health facilities were looted or destroyed, while attacks on more than 60 schools have left about 45,000 children out of classrooms, ”according to the UN organization’s statement.
Unicef remains “deeply concerned” because there is a 74% funding gap on all humanitarian needs for children in the DRC assessed at “318 million US dollars”.
“The province of Ituri currently has 1.6 million internally displaced people, the majority of whom are women and children who have fled violence and 2.4 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance,” he said. the agency.
More than a thousand civilians have been massacred since December 2017 in Ituri, according to the United Nations which speaks of “crimes against humanity”.
The politico-military Codeco sect regularly cited in violence in Ituri claims to defend the Lendu, a community of Ituri, in the face of the “harassment” of the Congolese army and the supposed oppression of another community, the Hema.
The Lendu militias are accused by the United Nations of having killed several hundred Hema and Alur civilians – a third community.
A region rich in gold, bordering Uganda and South Sudan, Ituri was torn apart by a community conflict between Lendu and Hema between 1999 and 2003, which left tens of thousands of people dead until the intervention a European Union (EU) force.