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More than 46,000 children on the run from DR Congo violence

The United Nations children’s agency, Unicef, says more than 46,000 children are on the run because of violence between two ethnic groups in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Tens of thousands of people have fled fighting in the DR Congo. Photo: AFP

Unicef says it has recorded at least 76 killings – mostly of women and children – since violence broke out between the Hema and Lendu groups.

The organisation said more than 70 villages had been burnt down, with three health centres and seven schools attacked and looted since December.

The BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga, who travelled to the area, has seen the burnt and abandoned villages in the Ituri province, where the two groups have been fighting for control of land.

However, while the governor of the north-eastern Ituri province, Abdallah Pene Mbaka, was willing to acknowledge the attacks on villages and facilities, he denied that so many people had been killed.

He told news agency AFP that “people need to do some work first… to avoid sensational news”.

“I fear that the humanitarian workers have fallen into facile ways,” he added.

This conflict is one of several in DR Congo, which has seen more than 4.5 million people flee their homes over the past two years.


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