Extreme violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s greater Kasaï region has left more than 1.5 million children vulnerable to “horrific abuse,” including physical brutality, kidnapping, rape and execution, the United Nations warned Friday.
Some 600,000 boys and girls have already been forced to flee their homes in the impoverished area of central Congo, where tensions have erupted between government forces and tribal militias.
The conflict in Kasaï-Central and Kasaï-Oriental provinces has been escalating since the start of the Kamwina Nsapu uprising last summer. Jean Pierre Mpandi, also known as Kamwina Nsapu, launched a violent rebellion in June to challenge the government of President Joseph Kabila, who refused to step down at the end of his term.
Nsapu was killed while leading an attack against state security forces in Kasaï-Central province in August. His militia group, which reportedly includes several fighters under the age of 13, has since intensified its deadly campaign. There have also been reported clashes between other native and non-native groups, fueling ongoing mass displacement.
In the past week alone, violence and intercommunity chaos have internally displaced some 62,000 people in the Kasaï provinces, bringing the total number of internally displaced persons to 1.09 million, according to the U.N.’s latest situation report for the region.
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Source: The Huffington Post