Photos: Wikimedia Commons\YouTube Screenshots
Members of DR Congo’s Africa Cup of Nations squad have used the opportunity of being in the international spotlight to call for peace in the troubled eastern region of their country.
Dozens of armed groups – including the notorious M23 rebels – have long plagued the mineral-rich east of the Central African nation, battling for control of the land there.
Conflict between the groups, which include pro-government militia, flared after a precarious six-month truce ended in October, with at least 60 civilians reportedly killed during attacks in North Kivu in that month alone.
Today the fighting continues within 25km (15 miles) of the province’s main city of Goma, in a region where the government in Kinshasa has failed to get a grip on security for the past three decades.
According to the United Nations, the heightened conflict has pushed 6.9 million people to flee their homes – with the organisation saying that the Democratic Republic of Congo is facing one of the “largest humanitarian crises in the world”.
“Everyone sees the massacres in eastern Congo. But everyone is silent,” DR Congo striker Cedric Bakambu wrote on social media. , external
“Use the same energy that you put into talking about the Nations Cup to highlight what is happening with us. There are no small gestures.”