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Democratic Republic of the Congo: ICRC reunites 77 unaccompanied children with their families

10-11-2000 News Release 00/41

Geneva (ICRC) — Seventy-seven unaccompanied children were flown from Goma to Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 10 November under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). On their arrival in Lubumbashi, capital of Katanga province, the children were looked after by the ICRC before being returned to their families, from whom most of them had been separated since the conflict in the country flared up again in August 1998.

A week previously, 79 unaccompanied children and adolescents, ranging in age from one to 16 years, had been flown from Goma to Kinshasa and another group of 14 children from Kinshasa to Goma. This operation, involving 170 minors, was the largest transfer of children carried out by air in the Democratic Republic of the Congo so far.

Since January 2000, the ICRC has reunited 404 Congolese children with their families and has repatriated 310 children to Rwanda and one to Burundi. The organization is still trying to trace the relatives of some 1,200 unaccompanied minors, in both government-controlled and opposition-held areas of the country, with a view to organizing family reunifications.