As recently as September 17, almost one hundred children were abducted from various schools in northeastern Congo. According to the Associated Press, UNICEF is demanding from the LRA:
the immediate and unconditional release of all of the abducted children, who were taken during simultaneous attacks on the Kiliwa, Duru, and Nambia villages in Orientale Province on Sept. 17. They blamed the Lord’s Resistance Army for abducting the 90 children from their schools in the villages.
These ninety children are the latest innocent victims of this decades-long war in Uganda, eastern Congo and southern Sudan. The Lord’s Resistance Army, accused of this latest atrocity, is headed by known child soldier recruiter Tony Kony (who has been accused of abducting tens of thousands of children over the past 20 years). Kony repeatedly denies accusations of using child soldiers despite overwhelming evidence collected by UNICEF and human rights organizations to the contrary. Kony was quoted saying yesterday:
First of all I would want to address this question of child kidnapping and so on and so forth. I would like to categorically tell you that in the places that I have crosschecked with MONUC, I have crosschecked with UNICEF and all the places they alleged the LRA is kidnapping the children. But there are other private militias that are operating in Congo and the government of Congo should check and MONUC should check on these private militias, which are fighting and attacking civilians. The LRA soldiers are not in those areas.
Additional information on child soldiers in Uganda and Congo:
- Eastern DRC Civil War still producing Child Soldiers by the thousands
- Uganda’s LRA still has child soldiers in their ranks, UN says
- Reintegration of children still needed in Congo… and more fighting in Uganda predicted.