Several school children were killed and many others reported missing after armed clashes between the DR Congo army and militia fighters in Masisi, North Kivu province. The clashes took place on Thursday in a centre where primary school children were sitting their national end of course examination.
According to the Administrator of the Masisi Territory, Kangakolo Kah Cosmas, “The regular forces were assuring the security of the school children who were sitting the examination in the Ufamandu 2 and Nyamaboko 2 group. A certain rebel whose name is Kapasi came and attacked the army for no reason.
“ That is why the children were blocked in the examination room. I asked the head of the group if there were any victims and he has not yet given me any answer, so we have no figures to give for now. However, there were clashes between the army and rebels in the examination centre”.
The Provincial Minister for Primary, Secondary and Technical Education for North Kivu, Prisca Kamala, also confirmed the attack but said she did not have any figures to report.
She, however, said some children were killed and some reported missing.
“It was in the village of Katanga where the attack took place and up till now, we have not yet had the details. The confrontation was between the national armed forces and rebels who attacked the centre.
“We do not know exact figures, but it is certain some children lost their lives. Some of the children are said to have been abducted and taken into the bushes by the rebels,” Kamala revealed.
Following the attack, the examination was suspended in the village, according to the minister.
Masisi territory is infested by both local and foreign armed groups and in spite of massive surrenders within the past several weeks, many armed groups continue to operate in the region.
It is difficult to know exactly what some of the groups are fighting for as they attack both civilians and the national army.