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Winnipeg's Congolese community calls for action, solutions to ongoing war in Congo

Dozens gathered in Winnipeg on Feb. 24 to bring attention to the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Source: Alexandra Holyk) Dozens gathered in Winnipeg on Feb. 24 to bring attention to the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Source: Alexandra Holyk)
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Dozens of people from Winnipeg’s Congolese community gathered at the Manitoba Legislative Building on Saturday to bring attention to the ongoing war in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Demonstrators held signs demanding peace and an end to what they say is a genocide against the eastern Congolese people.

“There is a war going on in our country,” said Emmanuel Kambale, the Congolese Community of Manitoba’s media and communications lead. “Rwanda invaded Congo...we came here as refugees so we are victims of war.”

Kambale said the decades-long conflict has strained the community.

“It’s just bothering our community psychologically, emotionally and financially as well because we put the little money we have to help the people back home who are suffering,” he said.

“I am a child of Congo and in my lifetime I’ve never seen a Congo without war,” said Johise Namwira, a Congolese advocate and scholar. “This is an unfair, unjust war that has been going on for too long.”

The group is calling on the federal government to take action and denounce the violence.

“We have seen Canada stepping in for other countries that have been invaded by other countries, so why when something’s happening in Congo the government is staying quiet?” Kambale asked.

Namwira said since the war began, more than 10 million people have lost their lives.

“We want people to be aware that people are dying,” she said. “Women are being brutalized, their bodies are being violated.”

Namwira said despite the ongoing conflict, Manitoba’s Congolese community is resilient.

“Even though we came here as displaced members fighting and fleeing a war, we are strong and we strongly condemn the war that’s happening in Congo,” she said.

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