UNICEF deplores killing of civilians, including children, by bomb falling on displacement camp

Incident occurred at Zaina camp outside Sake

12 February 2024
UNICEF for every child

KINSHASA, 12 JANUARY 2024 – UNICEF is alarmed by reports of a bomb explosion in a camp for displaced people in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The explosion occurred in the Zaina displacement camp on the outskirts of the town of Sake in North Kivu province and reflects a worrying increase in civilian casualties in recent weeks resulting from deliberate or accidental targeting of people in displacement sites in the east of the country. A number of deaths, including those of children, have been reported in today’s incident and many people have been injured. UNICEF is seeking more information about casualty figures.

“It is unthinkable that families who fled from violence have been killed and injured in a location that was supposed to offer safety,” UNICEF DRC Representative Grant Leaity said. “We call on all parties to this conflict to protect the lives of innocent civilians, especially children.”

Fighting has intensified in recent months in eastern DRC, triggering massive population movements and increased humanitarian needs.  There has recently been an influx of people into Sake because of violence in Masisi.

The number of new internally displaced people (IDPs) in North Kivu in January 2024 was higher than in January 2023 – which was the previous peak. There are now 1.1 million IDPs in North Kivu up from 591,000 in August 2023.

UNICEF is responding to the humanitarian needs of displaced people and host communities in eastern DRC across multiple sectors including child protection, health, education and water and sanitation.

“We urge the government to hold the perpetrators accountable and to step up the protection of children and their families,” Leaity said.

Media contacts

Lianne Gutcher
Tel: +243 820 996 405


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

Follow UNICEF DRC on Twitter et Facebook