GOMA, Congo (AP) — Nearly 36,000 people have gathered in Goma over the weekend for the Amani Festival, a three-day concert of music and dance to promote peace and improve eastern Congo's generally negative global image.
Eastern Congo has drawn international headlines since the 1990s for rebellions, rape and instability, and multiple armed groups remain active in the region, drawn by its vast mineral wealth.
But Goma is a relatively peaceful provincial capital, nestled at the foot of mountains and beside picturesque Lake Kivu. Close by is Virunga National Park, which features the Mt. Nyiragongo active volcano and some of the world's last lowland gorillas.
Julien Paluku Kahongya, governor of North Kivu province, said spreading the message that Goma can host tens of thousands of concert-goers without problems is part of the festival's mission.