Displaced by the violence, Shukuru dreams of resuming his normal life

interethnic violence in Ituri

Shukuru, 13, who has lost both parents, fled the violence threatening his village

Since December 2017, interethnic violence has plagued Ituri Province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The territory of Djugu is not spared from the violence and many families are forced to flee, leaving everything behind them. In the panic, children find themselves alone and unaccompanied.

Shukuru, 13, who has lost both parents, fled the violence threatening his village, located some twenty kilometres from the city of Bunia. “When we learned that neighbouring villages were already burning, we had to leave the village to avoid being the next victims. In the aftermath, my aunt was nowhere to be found. So I followed other people and that is why I found myself alone in Bunia,” says Shukuru who fled from the village Malili 4.

The young lad is very worried. Being alone with no one to rely on is not easy. “There are many of us here and eating is a problem. At night it is very cold and I don’t have anything with which to cover myself. I sleep on the ground, in the dust. It’s really unbearable – it has to stop.”

Before leaving his village, Shukuru was a pupil in the fourth year of primary school. He does not know when he will be able to go back to school. “Every day, I try to find out if my aunt is still alive but I don’t have an answer yet. It was my godfather who took responsibility for my schooling, but I don’t know where he is. I need to go back to school, but for the moment, it’s impossible,” says Shukuru, who dreams of returning to his normal life. “I want to study, play, and eat and sleep well,” concludes the young boy.

Shukuru’s situation is not an isolated case. More than 46,000 children are displaced as a result of inter-ethnic tension in Ituri Province. Of these, 245 children separated from their families and 70 unaccompanied children are in urgent need of assistance. All these children have but one wish: to live in total peace in order to resume a normal life.

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Initially published in February 2018

Translated from French by Daphne Wood

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David

David a rejoint le Club d'Ecoute pour Enfants en 2012. Deux ans après, il en est devenu le porte-parole puis en 2015, le coordonnateur. La même année, David est devenu Enfant Reporter. Il présente également diverses émissions sur les droits de l'Enfant. "Parler des droits de l'Enfant via les médias, c'est ma préférence". David étudie le droit à Bunia et rêve de travailler à la défense des droits des plus vulnérables.

David joined the Children's Listening Club in 2012. Two years later, David became the spokesperson and in 2015 the coordinator. That same year, David became a child reporter. Since 2014, David has hosted various programmes on child rights.  "I want to use the media to talk about child rights”. David studies law in Bunia and dreams of working to protect the rights of the most vulnerable. He says he will always work for children.

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