22.10.2010 31 °C
……..have bizarre faces, especially the dead ones……
I spotted this on an 8hr car journey yesterday so perhaps I was losing my mind a little at the time, but they seem to be smiling all the time and have rosy cheeks and wear fake eye-lashes, I had flashbacks to Miss Piggy.
I am in Dongo, a town on the Ubangi River which until October last year was home to 97,000 people but largely deserted when it became the centre of ‘inter-communal fighting’ [proof positive of UN diplomatic language gone mad] and everyone headed over the river to the Republic of Congo. It is safe to say that this town saw more than its fair share of violence; I wasn’t here [and it is part of the problem of unravelling the web of rumour surrounding this conflict that nobody else was either] but there is plenty of evidence of vicious fighting – including the 14 unexploded rockets the technical team destroyed this afternoon after only 2 days of evaluation of the centre of town.
Rumour is King in DRC and although 25% of the 200,000 people who fled the territory have come back, mainly to towns like Dongo where almost 50,000 are rebuilding their burnt homes, rumours that leaders are re-grouping on the other side of the border mean the majority of women and children are not taking the risk. It’s sad, and a little worrying, that the population only believed that security had improved when they saw international NGOs turning up [although if it was me I would be using exactly the same yardstick]; sad because of the continued dependence that this shows, and worrying because to me it’s pretty clear that if something does happen here we are all stuffed!