DR Congo forces kill Burundi 'refugees'

Sep 18, 2017, 00:24
DR Congo forces kill Burundi 'refugees'

At least 34 refugees who had fled political violence in Burundi were killed by government forces in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, a civil society group said Saturday.

More than 400,000 refugees have fled Burundi including 40,000 to neighbouring Congo, since violence erupted in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term in office, a move his opponents said was unconstitutional.

Boji said troops tried to disperse the refugees by "firing in the air but were overwhelmed" when the group responded by throwing stones.

Government spokesperson Lambert Mende also claimed that many of those killed during the clashes were members of an "armed group", without providing details.

The U.N. envoy called for a swift investigation and urged Congo's security forces to use force as a last resort.

The UN's Monusco peacekeeping mission in the country had said on Saturday that at least 36 refugees were killed in the violence in Kamanyola on Friday, in which a Congolese soldier also died.

The UN refugee agency also called for an investigation of "this tragic incident", saying in a statement that it was "in shock and saddened".

Those killed during the protest likely included asylum seekers, the United Nations agency said.

Roughly 44,000 refugees from Burundi are sheltering in Congo.

In the wake of the killings, Burundi's Foreign Minister Alain Aimé Nyamitwe took to Twitter demanding answers.

Residents said the killings occurred after some Burundian refugees went to the bureau of intelligence in Kamanyola to inquire about four detained refugees.

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