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DR Congo marks 50 years of independence

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DR Congo marks 50 years of independence


The Democratic Republic of Congo is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence from Belgium today.

Congolese President Joseph Kabila organised a military parade as part of the festivities.

Many heads of state and government joined Kabila in marking the celebrations, including the first Belgian monarch to visit the country for 25 years.

The central African nation has been blighted by war in recent years, including an ongoing inter-ethnic conflict in the east of the country.

Belgian rule began in the late 19th century when the then-king, Leopold II, treated the Congo as his own personal colony and ruthlessly exploited its natural resources.

But since the Belgians left in 1960, hopes of building a better Congo have been dashed by corruption and political instability.

Despite having vast reserves of gold, copper, cobalt and diamonds, it remains one of the world’s poorest nations where two-thirds of its 60 milion population scrape by on just one euro a day.

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