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Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Friday, 26 February 2010
Crisis in DR Congo

The continuing war in DR Congo has shattered lives and torn the country apart.

For his latest series of reports from the country, Mike Thomson spoke to three people whose lives are, in very different ways, inexorably tied to the conflict.

Listen to their stories below, some of which contain passages some listeners may find distressing.

Zawadi and daughter

In 2007 Zawadi Mongane, a young mother from a village near Bukavu, told Mike how she had been abducted by the FDLR militia.

Over the days that followed all but two out of 50 people taken were slaughtered and Zawadi was made to hang her own baby.

The following year, Mike went back to Congo to see how she was recovering. The report that followed, which revealed that a still very traumatised Zawadi was facing eviction from her home, inspired an almost unprecedented wave of generosity from listeners to this programme. Donations flooded in to help her.

On his return to DR Congo, Mike returned to find out how Zawadi is now.


Save the Children estimates that there are up to 250,000 children held by armed groups around the world, thousands of them in DR Congo.

One child soldier, who spent most of his life in the forest with FDLR rebels, and escaped only to be forced to fight for the Congolese army, told Mike his story.

Former FDLR Sergeant

The FDLR are one of the most feared militia groups in Congo.

Their leaders fled into the forests from Rwanda in 1994 after taking part in the genocide and have plagued the east of the country ever since.

Their notoriety has reached such heights that last year the UN joined the Congolese and Rwandan Armies in a lengthy offensive against them.

One Sergeant from the FDLR, who has left the militia group to return home to Rwanda, spoke to Mike about his decision to lay down his arms.

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