52 child-fighters from the Kamuina Nsapu militia were handed over to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) by authorities in the DR Congo’s Kananga town, in Kasai central province.
32 of the children were aged between 14 and 17 years, and were captured during battles between the militia group and policemen. 20 others handed themselves over to the police.
According to Kasai central security officer, Lt. Paul Masala, the children confessed that they did not willingly join the militia group.
”Most of them said that they were forced into the militia after being abducted from their villages. They said that they were later trained and taught how to kill without mercy,” Anadolu Agency reports Masala to say.
The children vowed not to return to the militia group. .
Minister for Interior Ramazani Shadari called upon the rest of the militia fighters to surrender to the authorities, warning that those that defy the call would face the wrath of the police and army.
Officials from MONUSCO and UNICEF said the children would be referred to reintegration centres.
Kasai has been hit by clashes between the DR Congo security forces and the Kamuina Nsapu militia, with more than 400 people killed in the violence.