Refugees From Burundi Killed in Congo, Activists Say

FILE Burundian refugees who voluntarily came back to Burundi from the Democratic Republic of Congo pose with a Burundian flag in the western Burundian town of Gatumba on 5 October 2010

Refugees From Burundi Killed in Congo, Activists Say

While the precise circumstances are not yet clear, reports indicate that in the course of a confrontation with Burundian demonstrators, Congolese security forces opened fire on the crowd.

Friday's clashes erupted in Kamanyola in Congo's South Kivu province when Burundian refugees and asylum seekers protested the expulsion of four of their countrymen from Congo, Sidikou said, citing "credible reports" received by the peacekeeping mission.

"The soldiers first fired in the air but there were many refugees", Joel told the Reuters news agency.

Activist Wendo Joel said the refugees had seized a weapon and killed a soldier, though that account was not confirmed by other sources.

Interior minister Josue Boji said that troops tried to disperse the refugees, who were fleeing violence and unrest in their own country, when the group started to throw stones. There are a total of 43,769 Burundian refugees living in DRC.

A Congolese government spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment, and the number of deaths and other details about the episode could not be independently verified. At least 34 people were killed, and dozens were wounded, Mr. Kijana said.

The town hosts some 2,005 refugees and asylum seekers from Burundi, most of whom arrived in 2015.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Congo, Maman Sidikou, in a statement said that he condemned the acts of violence perpetrated in Kamanyola.

Burundi Foreign Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe asked Congo and the United Nations on Twitter for an explanation of the shootings.

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