In a deeply distressing turn of events in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), rebels resorted to a horrifying tactic involving strapping explosives onto infant twin girls, with the intent of using them as a sinister booby trap against security forces.
This shocking incident is but one stark illustration of the escalating violence targeting children in the region, as outlined in a report by the United Nations on Friday.
These twin girls, who were a mere one year old, were discovered in a village situated in North Kivu, an area where the militant group known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) has increasingly employed explosive devices.
UNICEF, the United Nations agency dedicated to children, disclosed that experts in demining successfully removed the explosives without any detonation taking place.
During a media briefing in Geneva, Grant Leaity, the UNICEF representative in Congo, elucidated that the malevolent intent behind this appalling act was to trigger an explosion when police or Congolese military personnel arrived, effectively targeting the security forces.
This incident, which involved the use of explosive devices, is just one facet of several profoundly troubling patterns, as violence against children has reached unprecedented levels in Eastern Congo.
Leaity underscored that children are subjected to daily horrors, including rape, murder, abduction, and recruitment by armed groups, emphasizing that the reported cases represent only a fraction of the grim reality.
The ongoing violence in Congo has given rise to one of the world’s most severe and enduring humanitarian crises, with over 27 million people grappling with food shortages and nearly 5.5 million forced to flee their homes, according to the UN’s reports. Among the most profoundly impacted are more than 2.8 million children.
The twin sisters, who remain unnamed, are presently recovering from malnutrition at a UN facility before they can be placed in foster care.
Tragically, their parents lost their lives in an attack believed to have been perpetrated by the ADF. While they are making strides in terms of physical health, the emotional scars they bear may endure for a lifetime, as Leaity acknowledged, stating, “Their unimaginable experiences are beyond comprehension.”