UNICEF condemns latest attack in eastern DR Congo as act of ‘horrific brutality’

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 14 November 2023 – UNICEF condemns an attack reported to have been carried out on Sunday in the northeast of Beni near the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with Uganda.

Initial reports put the death toll at 29 people, including eight children between 4 and 15 years of age.

“The sheer horrific brutality of the attack defies belief,” said UNICEF DRC Representative Grant Leaity.  “Attacks on civilians – especially children – cause immense suffering and undermine the very fabric of societies. Every child has the right to live in safety and security, free from the horrors of violence and conflict.

Cases of killing, maiming, and abduction of children – classified by United Nations as “grave violations” – have risen dramatically this year. As a result, the DRC is on track to have record levels of verified grave violations against children for a third consecutive year.

The latest data shows there has been a 41 per cent increase in the number of verified grave violations against children in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period a year ago. There were 3,377 grave violations against 2,420 children in all of 2022, according to the June 2023 Children and Armed Conflict – Report of the Secretary-General.

If trends continue, the country is on track to reach new highs since the United Nations started monitoring and reporting grave violation in 2005, and surpassing records set in 2022.

Eastern DRC has been plagued by unrest for many years, but conflict and violence have worsened drastically since 2022. Over 6 million people are estimated to be displaced in eastern DRC, making this the worst displacement crisis in Africa and among the top three globally.