Page last updated at 18:11 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008

In pictures: Cry for peace in Congo

Women carry signs reading: "Why so much hate?" and "Enough of camp life" among others

Hundreds of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo have taken part in a protest in the eastern city of Goma to demand peace and protection for the region.

A woman weeps during the protest (Photo: ActionAid)

The demonstrators sang in Swahili "God take care of us, we are tired".

A child sleeps in a camp near Goma

One of the women said the plight of their children - many of whom are sick, starving, lost or dead - led them to gather together "to cry and to ask for peace, just that".

Displaced people wait for food handouts at a camp

The women say they are being raped by rebel fighters, as well as army and police forces.

A goat roams a camp in a heavy downpour

One woman, speaking from hospital, said she was among a group of villagers who had been raped by Mai Mai rebels in front of their husbands, who the insurgents had tied up with ropes.

Orphans and lost children at the Don Bosco Ngangi center in Goma

A spokesman for the charity ActionAid said the high incidence of rape sometimes resulted in offspring known as the "children of war".

A cholera-stricken woman at the hospital in Goma

In addition to violence, women are dealing with food shortages and sickness. Around 1,000 cases of cholera have been reported since October, the World Health Organisation warned.

People leave the aid distribution point at a camp in Kibati, north of Goma

Fighting that flared at the end of August has displaced 250,000 people, despite the presence of the largest UN peacekeeping force in the world.

Congolese soldiers man the front line

Soldiers and rebels are guarding a tense front line just kilometres from Goma, raising fears that fighting would resume, despite a lull in fighting this week.

The bodies of two dead men lie on the ground

The rebel leader says he is fighting because the Congolese government has not done enough to protect his minority Tutsi ethnic group from Hutu militias.




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