KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Rebel groups deploying child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have prompted the United Nations to demand all children be released immediately.
Alan Doss, the U.N. secretary-general's special representative for DR Congo, Tuesday said the recruitment and use of child soldiers in the volatile, war-torn country is an international crime.
"The recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups is a war crime and a crime against humanity," Doss said in a statement. "This literally destroys the future of this country."
Doss demanded that the rebel National Congress for the Defense of the People and other militant organizations release all children recruited for war, the United Nations reported.
Ongoing violence, mainly in the battle-scarred North Kivu province in eastern Congo, has forced an estimated 800,000 civilians to flee their homes.