9,000 DR Congo children hawking in Angola

Child-labourAn estimated 9,000 DR Congo (DRC) refugee children in Angola are engaging in street hawking in Lunda Norte Province, the media reported.

The VOA Radio quoted the Lunda Norte Province National Child Institute Officer, Ms Maria Tchianda, saying the children were mainly operating in Dundo municipality.

Dundo is the capital of the northeast Lunda Norte Province, which lies some 656km north of the capital Luanda

Their parents

“The main reason for this is that many children are not living in refuge centres but in local communities. That is why their parents ask them to trade in streets,” she was further quoted.

Nearly 35,000 refugees have fled conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Central Kasai region for Lunda Norte since March last year.

The violence in Kasai erupted in September 2016 after government forces killed a tribal chief and militia leader, Kamwina Nsapu, who had been leading a rebellion against President Joseph Kabila.

Tenure expired

The conflict added to the woes of the volatile Congo where rival militia groups fight for control, especially in the the mineral-rich areas.

Sporadic violence has also been reported across the country since President Kabila refused to step down when his tenure expired in December 2016. There were fears that the country could slide into civil war again.

In January, Congolese refugees in Angola said they would not return home despite an agreement between the two governments to repatriate them.