DR Congo security forces shoot dead 37 Burundi migrants

17 September, 2017, 09:46 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • Refugees have fled Burundi after its pPresident Pierre Nkurunziza won a third term in office

Soldiers shot dead 36 Burundian refugees in clashes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said yesterday, prompting shock, outrage and a demand for answers from the United Nations.

Congolese security troops killed at least 18 Burundian refugees during confrontations Friday over plans to return some of the refugees to their home country, officials and local activists said.

Lt. John Mwanamboka said the refugees were killed in Kamanyola area in South Kivu province's Walungu territory after they allegedly rioted and the Congolese army made an attempt to control the situation.

"Congolese defence and security forces then allegedly responded with indiscriminate firing on the protesters".

"So far, we have counted 31 dead and at least 105 injured, 15 of them seriously", the refugee said.

Tens of thousands of Burundians have fled to the eastern DR Congo to escape a wave of violence that unfurled in 2015 after Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza sought a fiercely contested third term in office.

Kamanyola is home to 2,000 of the almost 44,000 people who have fled Burundi to neighboring Congo, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency.

The clashes broke out when refugees were opposed to repatriation to Burundi, Kasereka said.

"UNHCR calls for an investigation into this tragic incident", said the statement, adding that UNCHR and its partners have sent teams to Kamanyola, including medical staff, to treat the injured.

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