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Goma youth dream of peace in DR Congo's east

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Copyright © africanews
Gaël Mpoyo

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The International Day of Peace is held every year on September 21. To mark the day In Congo's North Kivu province, the UN Peacekeeping Mission (MONUSCO) invited about 20 students to Goma for a discussion about peace.

North Kivu is home to dozens of armed groups which have terrorized the population by committing massacres, kidnappings, recruitment of child soldiers and sexual violence.

MONUSCO has come under heavy criticism for failing to stop attacks on civilians despite being the largest peacekeeping force in the world.

"This mission has been here since 1999, we have pacified this country which was divided into several zones where there was some belligerence, now there are pockets of resistance in North Kivu and South Kivu which pose a problem and we are on top of this. So from that point of view, there is a positive side, while recognizing that there are also areas of instability," said Amadou Ba, a MONUSCO public information officer .

Zawadi Gasindikora is the head of the students association in North Kivu. She was born during the war and has never known peace.

Her home city of Goma has been attacked and captured by rebel groups in the past.

"I was born and raised in North Kivu, and today the biggest concern that disturbs us every day is the issue of peace," Gasindikora said.

North Kivu is home to more than 40 armed groups.

In May, the region was put under a state of emergency by President Felix Tshisekedi but attacks by armed groups have not stopped.

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