Zee Media Bureau
Kinshasa: At least 82 children have been reportedly rescued from militia by the United Nation Mission.
The youngest of the rescued children is 8 years old which includes at least 13 girl children. These children were forcibly recruited by the Mai Mai Bakata Katanga militia which is active in the Katanga province, as per a BBC news report.
Several children have been identified and sent home to their families, Monusco, the United Nation`s mission here said, the report stated.
MONUSCO estimates that 163 children, including 22 girls, have been separated from Mai Mai Bakata-Katanga fighters since the beginning of the year.
Katanga, the home province of President Joseph Kabila, is regularly engulfed by secessionist unrest dating back to 1960 when the mining province announced it was seceding from the rest of the nation, triggering a long series of wars and rebellions.
Katanga province is the richest part of the country, with various mineral resources including copper, which is the mainstay of foreign exports.
Tensions have been rising in recent months, with the Bakata-Katanga complaining about what it sees as the unequal distribution of wealth between the poorer northern parts of the province and the richer southern areas, where foreign firms operate.
In March, clashes erupted between army troops and the militia group, including child fighters, in the provincial capital of Lubumbashi, leaving 23 dead.
(With AFP Inputs)