Congolese Security Forces Kill at Least 18 Burundian Refugees

Aaron Brown
September 19, 2017

At least 34 people were killed, and dozens were wounded, Mr. Kijana said.

"UNHCR also calls for an investigation into this tragic incident", UNHCR local spokesman, Andreas Kirchhof, said.

Boji said the clashes began after a group of refugees overran a jail run by the country's domestic intelligence agency to demand the release of four Burundians who had been arrested for expulsion on Wednesday night.

"They grabbed a gun from a security officer and fired at the soldiers, killing one of them and seriously injuring a senior police officer". Congolese soldiers responded with gunfire when some refugees hurled stones, said refugee Aline Nduwarugira.

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Those killed during the protest likely included asylum seekers, the United Nations agency said. UNHCR and its partners have sent teams to Kamanyola, including medical staff, to treat the injured.

"I am deeply shocked by the high number of civilian casualties who have sought refuge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and condemn any form of violence between communities". In the current situation, solutions need to be found quickly for the protection of the Burundian refugees.

Many fled political violence at home in 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza successfully pursued a disputed third term amid deadly protests.

Witnesses told AFP that numerous Burundians in Kamanyola were victims of religious persecution because they are followers of a female prophet called Zebiya, who has attested to seeing visions of the Virgin Mary in northern Burundi.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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