Congolese Security Forces Kill at Least 18 Burundian Refugees
17 September, 2017, 08:57
At least 37 people were killed in eastern Congo on Friday when Burundian refugees who were protesting their forced return to their crisis-hit country were fired upon by Congolese forces.
Soldiers and police opened fire as the refugees tried to free some of their compatriots in Kamanyola, a town in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo near the Burundi border.
Six members of the Congolese security forces were killed in the clashes, Congolese army spokesman Dieudonne Kasereka said.
The death toll is likely to worsen, Marchal said.
Congo-based U.N. communications official Florence Marchal confirmed the deaths and said the Congolese government, the U.N. refugee agency and the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo "have deployed teams on site to shed light on everything that happened".
In the wake of the killings, Burundi's Foreign Minister Alain Aimé Nyamitwe took to Twitter demanding answers.
A Burundian refugee said that more than 30 had been killed and at least 100 wounded.
"There are 34 dead and 124 wounded among the Burundian refugees", he said, before warning that the death toll could rise further because refugees had taken bodies of other victims to the Pakistani-run United Nations camp at Kamanyola.
There are over 400,000 Burundian refugees in DRC who fled after violence erupted in their country in April 2015 when incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza refused to leave power after serving two terms and stood in elections for a third term. A total of 43,769 Burundian refugees live in DRC.
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