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Education under Attack 2010 - The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Publisher UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
Publication Date 10 February 2010
Cite as UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Education under Attack 2010 - The Democratic Republic of the Congo, 10 February 2010, available at: [accessed 12 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo witnessed a significant number of attacks on education over the reporting period. Sexual violence against schoolgirls was widespread. Both the military and armed rebels forcibly recruited child soldiers from schools, using trucks to take them away. Teachers and schoolchildren were also shot or abducted. Schools were ransacked, and it is estimated that up to 100 schools a year were occupied by the military, armed groups or IDPs in the territories of Rutsuru and Masisi, North Kivu.382

In July 2007, one principal was shot dead by rebels from the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CDNP) in Masisi after speaking against infiltration of school programmes by political and armed groups;383 another principal was abducted on 8 September from Buyaga Primary School and killed by Mayi Mayi combatants.384 In September 2007, 200 young men aged 16 to 30, including children and students, were forcibly recruited by CNDP rebels in Muheto-Nyamitaba, North Kivu Province, though it is not known whether they were recruited from schools.385 In October, 320 children were reportedly recruited from schools by CNDP rebels in Masisi.386

In December 2007, an international NGO convoy transporting teaching and learning materials for schools was ambushed.387

In March 2008, police looted a school.388 In April 2008, children were blocked on their way to school and recruited by the national army, FARDC, in several incidents in Masisi. Though figures are not confirmed, the number recruited is estimated to be up to 270. In September 2008, 90 children were forcibly recruited from one primary and one secondary school by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).389 After abducting the children, the LRA is reported to have looted and burned down the schools.390 By October 2008, an estimated 3,000 children were being held captive by armed groups and some teachers were taken for forced labour.391 On 7 November 2008, Save the Children reported that there had been an "explosion" in recruitment of child soldiers over the previous few weeks.392 On 10 October 2008, another three teachers and seven children were abducted outside a secondary school in Masisi by an armed group, though they escaped after two days.393 In Shasha, five miles from Sake, another secondary school was attacked by an armed group, with one child killed.394 Twenty-two schools were burned down by the LRA in September and October in Dungu, Haute Uele. The office of an NGO involved in providing education was also attacked by an angry mob and an armed group in Rutsuru.395

In early November 2008, the corpses from a massacre were left in a school compound in Kiwanja. A large number of children were recruited by CNDP rebels, who took them from schools in Rutsuru in truckloads. Estimates of the number taken range from 50 to 300 but have not been verified.396

In the same month, the army was reported to be occupying schools in Kayembe, Mutaho and Kibati, while CNDP was reported to be constantly present at a school in Kanyanja.397 The chief of the city of Kayna reported that the military had ransacked three schools in Kayna, Kanyabayonga and Kirumba, and had used classroom benches as firewood.398 In December, an education aid worker was shot dead in Rutsuru.399

Between 24 December 2008 and 13 January 2009, the LRA abducted another 160 children, according to Human Rights Watch.400

Sexual violence is widespread in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and the victims include schoolgirls. In the first half of 2009, it is estimated that thousands of women and young girls were raped by Rwandan and rebel groups in eastern Kivu and Orientale Province.401 Between 2007 and 2008, the UN recorded 5,517 cases of sexual violence against children in the conflict areas of Ituri and North and South Kivu; 31 per cent of sexual violence victims were children, according to Human Rights Watch.402 In Kisangani, in the northern part of the country, 60 per cent of cases of sexual and gender-based violence involved victims aged 11 to 17, according to Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General.403 The Minister for Gender, Family and Children estimates that more than one million women and girls have become victims of sexual violence.404 Girls are targeted mostly on their way to or from school and at markets, according to UNICEF.405 Victims' lack of access to clinics and the stigmatizing of rape victims are serious obstacles to obtaining accurate figures.

In April 2009, one abducted school director in Masisi reportedly died of exhaustion during forced labour.406

Between December 2008 and May 2009, eight schools were attacked due to an order to LRA soldiers to abduct and integrate 1,000 new persons, aged 25 and below, into the force. Most of the abductions took place in March.407

In higher education, 47 academics applied to the Scholar Rescue Fund for relocation grants from 2002 to 2007 to avoid acts of persecution, including death warrants, torture and illegal detention.408

[Refworld note: The source report "Education under Attack 2010" was posted on the UNESCO website ( in pdf format, with country chapters run together. Original footnote numbers have been retained here.]

382 Information supplied by UNICEF Eastern Congo Zonal Office, Goma.

383 Ibid.

384 United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), "MONUC Monthly Human Rights Assessment: September 2007," November 9, 2007.

385 Ibid.

386 Information supplied by UNICEF Eastern Congo Zonal Office, Goma.

387 Ibid.

388 MONUC, Special Enquiry into the Bas Congo Events of February and March 2008 (May 2008).

389 Information supplied by UNICEF Eastern Congo Zonal Office, Goma.

390 HRW, The Christmas Massacres: LRA Attacks on Civilians in Northern Congo (New York: HRW, 2009).

391 IRIN News, "DRC: Recruitment of Child Soldiers Rising," November 11, 2008.

392 Sky News, "Child Soldiers Recruited in Congo," November 7, 2009.

393 Save the Children, "Schoolchildren Seized as Congo Armed Groups Recruit Child Soldiers," November 7, 2008,

394 Save the Children, "Schoolchildren Seized."

395 Information supplied by UNICEF Eastern Congo Zonal Office, Goma.

396 Ibid.

397 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), "DR Congo: OCHA Humanitarian Situation Update No. 17 - North Kivu," November 26 - December 1, 2008; and OCHA, "DR Congo: OCHA Humanitarian Situation Update No. 15 - North Kivu," November 20 -21, 2008,

398 OCHA, "DR Congo: OCHA Humanitarian Situation Update No. 16 - North Kivu," November 22-25, 2008,

399 Information supplied by UNICEF Eastern Congo Zonal Office, Goma.

400 Agence France-Presse (AFP), "At Least 100 LRA Victims Found: UN," January 29, 2009,

401 AFP, "Major Rise in Attacks on DR Congo Civilians: Rights Group," July 2, 2009, http://www. major-rise-in-attacks-on-dr-congo-civilians-rights-group&option=com_content&Itemid=100166.

402 HRW, "Taking the Next Step: Strengthening the Security Council's Response to Sexual Violence and Attacks on Education in Armed Conflict," April 20, 2009.

403 T.V. Siriam, "Karuna faction recruiting child soldiers in Lanka: UN," PTI, January 31, 2008, http://

404 HRW, Soldiers Who Rape, Commanders Who Condone: Sexual Violence and Military Reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo (New York: HRW, 2009).

405 IRIN News, "DRC: Rape Crisis Set to Worsen Amid Kivu Chaos," November 19, 2008; and information supplied by UNICEF Eastern Congo Zonal Office, Goma.

406 Information supplied by UNICEF Eastern Congo Zonal Office, Goma.

407 MONUC figures and information supplied by UNICEF Eastern Congo Zonal Office, Goma.

408 Henry G. Jarecki and Daniela Zane Kaisth, Scholar Rescue in the Modern World (New York: Institute of International Education, 2009); see also Brendan O'Malley, "A Deadly Silencing of Scholars," University World News!, April 19, 2009.

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