In DR Congo camp, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr with much-needed food aid

In DR Congo camp, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr with much-needed food aid
Food donations made Eid al-Fitr celebrations more bearable for Muslims living in camps across North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where fighting between government and rebel forces has displaced millions.
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Young Congolese Muslims bought bags of rice, beans and fish and gifts to those in need [Getty]

Young Muslims go from tent to tent at a camp for displaced people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, their arms laden with bags of rice, beans and fish, gifts to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

More than a million people have fled fighting between rebels from the M23 armed group and government forces in North Kivu province since March 2022. At the Munigi camp in the compound of a mosque outside the city of Goma, hundreds live in makeshift tents crowned by rugs or plastic sheets to keep out the rain.

Maisara Abdu, a 26-year-old displaced Muslim woman had given up celebrating the Eid holiday with her five children for lack of funds. But last week's food donations changed that. Eid marks the end of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during sunlight hours, when Muslims fast during sunlight hours.

"We were waiting for a miracle from God. We were waiting for his will to be done; and now look, they are bringing us food. We are happy, we thank God," she said.

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In other parts of Congo, including the north-east, relations between Christians and Muslims have deteriorated following an increase in attacks by the Ugandan ADF rebel force, affiliated with the Islamic State group. But in the Munigi camp people of both religions live side by side.

Francine Mapendo, Abdu's neighbour, is Catholic, but she received the same gift for Eid.

"Even we Christians have benefited and we thank them very much. May God bless them abundantly," she said.