UN Frees Child Soldiers in Congo

You hear a lot of terrible news out of Eastern Congo these days. And rightly so. An overwhelmed and undermanned UN peacekeeping mission is struggling to keep a peace that does not exist. Still, there are occasional stories like this that demonstrate the great value that even a struggling peacekeeping mission can bring to a situation like this.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has demobilized 880 children associated with armed groups in the volatile eastern province of North Kivu between 30 January and 2 March, it was announced today.

Madnodje Mounoubai, spokesperson for the mission, known by its French acronym MONUC, told a news conference in Kinshasa that the great majority of the 839 boys and 41 girls are Congolese, but there are also 31 Rwandans, two Burundians and two Ugandans.

All of the children were handed over to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for their return and reintegration into their families and communities, after they were demobilized by MONUC’s Child Protection Unit.

Unicef just posted a pretty powerful video on the subject.