Kinshasa:Over 8,000 children were rescued from armed groups by the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in Congo (MONUSCO), from January 1, 2009 to May 31, 2015, its head, Josiah Obat, has said. Obat, marking the International Day of the African Child, said 56 per cent of those children were rescued in Congo's North Kivu province, Xinhua news agency reported. This year's event was marked under the theme "Conflicts and crises in Africa Let us protect rights of all children". "There are some rebels who do not want to surrender. I believe it is time they put down their weapons and support efforts to restore peace in eastern Congo," Obat said. On Wednesday, MONUSCO and the Congolese Football federation signed an agreement for elimination of the phenomenon of "child soldiers". MONUSCO will use football tournaments to sensitise armed groups to end the phenomenon of "child soldier" in Congo, so that they can rejoin their families.