Congo forces shoot dead at least 18 Burundi refugees

Henrietta Brewer
September 17, 2017

Troops shot dead 18 Burundian refugees in clashes in Kamanyola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, local officials in the eastern province of South Kivu said on Saturday, giving what they said was a provisional toll.

Six members of the Congolese security forces were killed in the clashes, Congolese army spokesman Dieudonne Kasereka said. At least 34 people were killed, and dozens were wounded, Mr. Kijana said.

Congo's military could not immediately be reached for comment.

Marchal said at least 50 others were wounded and the death toll is likely to rise.

Monusco's Florence Marchal said her team was "shocked" by the killings. Congolese soldiers responded with gunfire when some of the refugees hurled stones, said refugee Aline Nduwarugira.

Waquara Yunusi, commander of the Pakistani battalion of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo, says the deaths occurred Friday in the Kamanyola area of Congo's South Kivu province.

More than 100 people were injured in the incident, according to Bertin Bisimwa, chief of Kamanyola.

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. There are a total of 43,769 Burundian refugees living in DRC.

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.

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