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February 27, 2009

Portraits from the Congo

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), fighting continues among various rebel armies, tribes, the Congolese army and U.N. forces. The dire situation has prompted the government of DR Congo to ask for help, and invite the armies of neighboring South Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda to enter their territory on several joint operations, to hunt down and pacify or dismantle at least two major rebel armies operating in the lawless border region. Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda was captured in January by Rwandan forces, but his army is still active - and Ugandan troops are seeking out the rebel Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army, which has taken refuge in eastern DR Congo. Once more, caught in all of this are the local civilians, terrorized by fleeing and advancing troops of all kinds. Reuters photographer Finbarr O'Reilly has been traveling through the area, capturing some amazing photographs of the people involved. (38 photos total)

Ano Mboligikpelani, 12, holds her sister, Honrine Ngbadulezele, 2, in the village of Bangadi in northeastern Congo, February 19, 2009. Thousands of Congolese have fled their villages since December as Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebels roaming the bush carry out massacres that have killed some 900 civilians in northeastern Congo during the past two months. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly)

A Congolese man pans for gold on a riverside at Iga Barriere, 25 kms (15 miles) from Bunia, in the resource-rich Ituri region of eastern Congo, February 16, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A woman displaced by violence returns from collecting firewood at a camp near Minova in eastern Congo, February 12, 2009. Reports are trickling in from the Congolese bush as people reach larger towns with stories of the killings of civilians by FDLR rebels, who are being hunted down by a coalition of Rwandan and Congolese forces. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A displaced woman lies in a tent with her child at a makeshift camp in Kibati near Goma in eastern Congo February 13, 2009. Congo's military said more than 40 Rwandan Hutu rebels had died in an air raid, as a 3-week-old joint Congolese-Rwandan offensive sparked rebel reprisals which a rights group said had killed 100 villagers. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A fighter from the FDLR rebel group, which is being hunted by the Rwandan and Congolese armies, stands guard deep in the bush of eastern Congo, February 6, 2009. Rwandan Hutu rebels are melting into the forests of eastern Congo before advancing Rwandan and Congolese forces, in a sign the surprise joint offensive has little chance of quashing militia groups at the heart of 15 years of conflict. Picture taken February 6, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A woman who has recently undergone surgery sits at the general hospital at Dungu in northeastern Congo, February 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Children walk along a road above a camp for people displaced by violence near Minova in eastern Congo, February 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Internally displaced people gather at a market in the middle of a makeshift camp near Goma in eastern Congo February 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A woman stands outside her hut deep in the bush of eastern Congo February 6, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A South African United Nations peacekeeper secures the landing site for a U.N. helicopter at the village of Pinga in eastern Congo, February 7, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Sisters displaced by war hold hands in front of a makeshift hut at Bulengo camp just outside Goma in eastern Congo, February 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A Congolese girl prays during Sunday Mass in the village of Mweso in eastern Congo, February 8, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Money changer Kwami Longange poses for a portrait on a streetcorner in Goma in eastern Congo, February 9, 2009. Longange, nicknamed "le Bon" - the Good - is a Sappeur, the local name for a dandy dresser. He has some 200 different matching outfits that he wears to work as a money changer and musician. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Jean-Pierre Kalikunshe (L), 10, comforts his friend Espoir Kangeshe, 6, both of whom have had surgery to correct leg deformities, at the Heal Africa hospital in Goma, February 10, 2009. Kalikunshe and Kangeshe are among some 70 children looked after by Stand Proud, a charity that assists children suffering from polio and other leg defects in war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo, where 15 years of war has devastated public health services. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Beatrice Mapendo, 22, who fled after a massacre in the town of Kiwanja last November, stands at Kibati camp near Goma in eastern Congo, February 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A Congolese woman sells bananas in Goma in eastern Congo, February 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A man plays an electric guitar in the village of Pinga, a village with no electricity, in eastern Congo, February 7, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Fourteen-month-old Yabila Kubemboli, who is malnourished after his mother fled attacks on her village by Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, awaits treatment at the hospital in the village of Dungu in northeastern Congo, February 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A Congolese girl displaced by fighting carries firewood at a camp near Goma in eastern Congo, February 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A Red Cross worker covers the the body of Dieudonne Kulimbo who was shot and killed in the bush near Dungu in northeastern Congo, February 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A woman walks home carrying an umbrella near Minova in eastern Congo, February 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Villagers who have formed a local self defense force move during a training session in the village of Bangadi in northeastern Congo February 18, 2009. In the face of attacks and massacres by Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, who have slaughtered some 900 Congolese civilians since December, villagers in Bangadi have formed a self-defense force with locally made weapons and have twice repelled LRA attacks in recent months. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Lea Mbikaz, 32, who wears a traditional Congolese hair style, poses for a portrait in the village of Bangadi in northeastern Congo, February 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Gold miners form a human chain while digging an open pit at the Chudja mine in the Kilomoto concession near the village of Kobu, 100 km (62 miles) from Bunia in north-eastern Congo, February 23, 2009. Civil conflict in Congo has been driven for more than a decade by the violent struggle for control over the country's vast natural resources, including gold, diamonds and timber, most of which is exploited using hard manual labour. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Gold miners pass mud along a human chain in an open pit at the Chudja mine in the Kilomoto concession near the village of Kobu in north-eastern Congo, February 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

War-displaced mother Marie Nako, 20, stands outside the hospital in the village of Dungu where her malnourished child is being treated in northeastern Congo, February 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A woman who fled attacks by Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels stands outside a makeshift shelter at Ngalima in northeastern Congo February 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A war-displaced boy wears an improvised sun hat made from wood and flip-flops at Ngalima in northeastern Congo February 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A man displaced by war is reflected in a mirror as he gets a haircut at Bulengo camp just outside Goma in eastern Congo, February 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

War-displaced Mizelede mourns at the funeral of her grandfather, Leon Biliyo, 60, who died from malaria in Ngalima in northeastern Congo February 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Congolese troops patrol through the village of Bangadi in northeastern Congo, February 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A member of a local self-defense force poses for a portrait in the village of Bangadi in northeastern Congo, February 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

War-orphan Faustin Mugisa, 8, who has machete scars on his head and body, stands at the Kizito orphanage in Bunia in northeastern Congo February 24, 2009. Mugisa was left for dead in a pile of corpses when ethnic Lendu militiamen hacked to death his mother and seven siblings in 2003. Mugisa's father discovered him alive and took him to the bush to recover, but his father was later hacked to death by the same militia group. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A Congolese fighter from the pro-government Mai-Mai militia looks through a window in the village of Kalenge near the front line in eastern Congo, February 4, 2009. Rwandan and Congolese forces are hunting down thousands of Hutu extremist rebels in the wilds of eastern Congo in an operation intended to address the root cause of 15 years of conflict in Congo. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A war-orphaned child sits in a cardboard box at the Kizito orphanage in Bunia in northeastern Congo February 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

Men displaced by war play soccer at Bulengo camp just outside Goma in eastern Congo, February 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A girl displaced by violence wears a traditional Congolese hair style while standing near government soldiers in the village of Bangadi in northeastern Congo February 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A war-orphaned child looks through a window at the Kizito orphanage in Bunia in northeastern Congo February 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly) #

 
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