UN blue helmets free 23 child soldiers in DRC

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New York - The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known as MONUC, has freed nearly two dozen children from the ranks of the country's armed forces this week.

In the eastern province of South Kivu four children were separated from the newly integrated Congolese army (FARDC) as part of "Operation Zero Tolerance for children associated with armed forces," a MONUC-backed initiative.

The children had been recruited by the mainly Tutsi rebel militia, the National Congress for People's Defence (CNDP), before joining the FARDC during the accelerated integration process.

The integration process began after a peace deal was struck between the Government and the CNDP.

South Africa holds a particular place in the UN family and is an important partner in the UN peacemaking and peace building processes. South Africa has about 2 000 troops helping the UN in the DRC and Sudan.