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This Is Some Much Needed Heartwarming News From Central Africa

Seriously, this peace march makes you feel good things.

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There was a pretty amazing march in the Central African Republic (CAR) earlier this month.

Search for Common Ground

Hundreds of people marched from a Muslim neighborhood known as PK-5 to another neighborhood, called Boy-Rabe, both in the capital city, Bangui.

The march was a big deal: Boy-Rabe has basically been off limits to Muslims since 2013, when a coup toppled the government. Rebel groups and self-defense forces have been clashing since then.

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A lot of Muslims lived in Boy-Rabe and had to flee to PK-5, on the other side of town. They hadn’t seen their homes or their neighbors since then. At least not until this moment.

Search for Common Ground

When the Muslim marchers arrived in their old neighborhood, thousands of people came out to greet them — including some of their former neighbors. It was pretty joyous.

Local leaders, talking to the conflict resolution group Search for Common Ground (SFCG), said they wanted to commit to a new era of peace. “Peace is not only a behavior; it is also a commitment,” one said.

Search for Common Ground

SFCG, based in Washington, D.C., has been working in the CAR since 2012. Right now, there are good signs for peace: Fighting has calmed for the moment, and the country just elected a new president and is undergoing its first peaceful transition of power since independence.

These two guys really demonstrate that commitment. They used to be in rebel groups that were trying to kill each other.

Search for Common Ground

Abdel Kadher, left, in the light-blue boubou, is a former leader of the Seleka rebel group that toppled the government in 2013. Next to him, in the shorter blue-and-red shirt, is Emotion Namisio, a former member of the anti-balaka movement.

The mostly Christian members of the anti-balaka originally fought back against the largely Muslim Seleka's rampages throughout the country following the coup, but quickly devolved into committing abuses of their own.

Bangui’s young people really got into the whole peace groove.

Search for Common Ground

They sang the national anthem together and jointly hoisted the national flag at the police station. But most importantly, they danced.

Jina Moore is the global women's rights correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Berlin.

Contact Jina Moore at jina.moore@buzzfeed.com.

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