Humanitarian agencies are worried over the increasing number of children flocking refuge camps from Democratic Republic of Congo ,where they say rebels are forcibly recruiting them to fight government.
A report form world Vision say a high proportion of refugees in Uganda are children under 15 most of them facing trauma of displacement.
“We are particularly concerned that the majority of the refugees here in Uganda appear to be children under 15 years of age,” said World Vision’s Stuart Katwikirize, from the Ugandan side of the border. “Many are separated from their parents, and are struggling to deal with what they’ve endured.”
In Rwanda,65% of the refugees are reported to be children and some are unaccompanied.
Despite the release of some of the estimated 30,000 child soldiers since the height of the armed conflict in eastern DRC, there is evidence that children continue to be recruited into the ranks of armed groups. The Government of the DRC needs to immediately order the release of all children within the ranks of its troops, says World Vision.
“Children are hiding in the forest in North Kivu, and we know for certain that nearly two hundred children have been kidnapped by armed groups recently and forced to join in the fighting,” said World Vision’s Dominic Keyzer in Goma. “Because of the difficult nature of collecting figures, we’re worried the number of children being lost to the fighting is much higher.”He adds