Refugees From Burundi Killed in Congo, Activists Say

Posted September 19, 2017

More than 100 victims were injured during the confrontations at Kamanyola in the risky eastern DRC. At least 34 people were killed, and dozens were wounded, Mr. Kijana said.

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. Thousands of Burundian refugees fled to neighboring countries, including DRC, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. The death of the Congolese army officer led to "the escalation of violence".

"The incident provoked a reaction from the soldiers, who started shooting everywhere", he said.

Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende said the government was investigating what had happened and the identity of the "supposed refugees", saying they had opened fire on soldiers first and "we do not yet understand" how.

Interior ministry official Josue Boji said troops had tried to disperse the refugees by "firing in the air but were overwhelmed" when the group responded by throwing stones in Friday's confrontation.

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

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

The president of a group representing Burundians who have fled the country, Gratien Rukindikiza, said he feared the situation could slide into a "genocide".

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