Butemb - More than 100 child soldiers have deserted an armed group in eastern Congo, the United Nations mission to the country said on Tuesday.
The 113 children aged between 12 and 17 years took advantage of fighting between the Front for Patriotic Resistance in Ituri (FRPI) and government forces, Oussou Laurent Sam from the UN mission said from Bunia by telephone.
Since a new offensive was launched against the FRPI in May, child soldiers have been escaping to army and UN bases, Sam said.
At least 400 children are still believed to remain with the FRPI, which reportedly forced them to join its ranks in 2011-12. The group also has 1 200 adult fighters.
The use of child soldiers is not rare in the region, where dozens of armed groups are operating. Eastern Congo has been ravaged by violence since the Congo wars that lasted from 1996 to 2003.