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Mimes of death, forgiveness ease Congo conflict

June 2, 2011

We recently wrote about the work Search is doing on the conflict between the Munzaya and Enyele communities of northern Congo since the outbreak of violence in the Equateur province, two years ago. Now Reuters’ Johnny Hogg takes a closer look at the process of reconciliation:

Access to fishing ponds similar to these is one of the underlying issues in the conflict between the Munzaya and Enyele communities. (from


By Jonny Hogg

MONZAYA, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 27 (Reuters) – The actors circle and glare in mock anger, surrounded by villagers who have come to witness a performance played out on the sandy earth in the shade of mango trees in northern Congo.

In a flurry, the performers clash, miming fighting, killing, mourning — and eventually forgiveness.

For the spectators, this narrative is not fiction but reality, after the people of Monzaya and Enyele in Congo’s northern Equateur province began a dispute over fishing rights in 2009 that killed scores and triggered a refugee crisis.

With partial peace restored by the Congolese army, the United Nations, working with the international NGO Search For Common Ground, is now trying to build bridges between the two communities through ceremonies and workshops.

The latest of these meetings took place in the tumbledown church in Monzaya, with 20 members from each community taking part and ending with speeches and participative theatre to spread the message of peace…


The following clip shows scenes from a recent signing of a nonagression pact between the two communities that was accompanied by a traditional reconciliation ceremony and a three-day peace festival:

Read the rest of the Reuters article here and learn about the work we’re doing in DRC!



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