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Mass wedding celebration for DRC refugees in Burundi

They have fled their homes and lost loved ones to conflict, but for 46 Congolese couples there is a reason to celebrate.Inside a wooden, tin-roofed structure in the Kavumu refugee camp in eastern Burundi, 46 couples are waiting to get married. They have all fled their homes in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some of them are already married but, having lost their wedding certificates when they left their homes, are going through the process again.But marriage can mean more than that for the refugees.

Couple walk with theirr friends and family to the tent where the wedding will take place
Couple approach the desk where the marriage certificates are signed,its over seen by an officer dressed in national colors of Burundi
A woman dances in celebration at the weddings
An onlooker throws rice as a couple prepare to exchange wedding rings
Some wait their turn to be called up to get married,while others await the wedding of a family member or friend
A bride places a wedding ring on her husdand's finger after they had signed their marriage certificates with their thumbprints
A woman smiles as she watches her friends getting married
There are almost 57,000 refugees or asylum seekers from DRC in Burundi
4 refugee camps accommodate all the refugees from DRC
UNHCR says approximately 200 people are coming into Burundi seeking asylum each week.Thats a 'slight increase' on last year's number
People dance in celebration after the mass marriage ceremony
Deo and Antoinette return to their home in the camp after their marriage
I feel very happy because i have a husband,i had children but had not yet been married,now i feel much happiness because he is really my husband from now on and when we exchanged rings that made me overjoyed; says Antoinette
Clement had paid a dowery to the father of the then fiance Anita but had to leave DRC before they could marry,they were separated as they fled but later reunited
Faliala and Johanna say they fled DRC after they become in a land conflict with a neighbour who was a Major in Mai-Mai,the man threatened to kill them if they refused to refund back land that he had encroached.

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