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Clowns bring smiles to DR Congo

Clown performing in Congo camp

A team of clowns has started a tour of refugee camps in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than half of those displaced are children.

The four performers, from the Spanish organisation Payasos Sin Fronteras (Clowns Without Borders), are on a 25-day tour of seven camps around Goma.

A spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency told the BBC that the clowns could help the children overcome their trauma.

Some one million Congolese have fled their homes after years of unrest.

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UNHCR spokeswoman Francesca Fontanini said that the team of clowns had achieved good results working with those displaced in Syria and the former Yugoslavia.

She said it was the first time that they had visited camps in DR Congo.

The seven camps to be visited by the clowns hold almost 100,000 people - of whom 55%-60% are children, Ms Fontanini said.

Various rebel groups, as well as the armies of neighbouring countries, have been active in eastern DR Congo for the past 15 years.

Clowns without Borders was founded in Barcelona in July 1993 and its first missions were in the former Yugoslavia.



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