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With U.N. Congo Mission at a Crossroads, No Let-Up in Violence

Thursday, May 13, 2010

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo -- Were it not for the convoys of blue-helmeted soldiers, one would hardly guess this lakeside town is the nexus of one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

Though its rutted streets are a stark contrast to the newly surfaced, tree-lined avenues across the nearby Rwandan border, the capital of eastern Congo's North Kivu Province is abuzz with new construction, a testament to Goma's status as a bastion of stability in a region defined by conflict. On a recent Friday night, cigarette-smoking ex-pats downed Primus beers at Petite Bruxelles, a kitsch new establishment and ode to Congo's Belgian colonizer. Half a mile down the road, wedding-goers danced until early hours at the lakeside Ihusi Hotel -- the shiny SUVs in the parking lot belying the estimated 1,300 people that continue to die each day as a consequence of war in the Congo. ...

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