United Nations refugee agency 'shocked' by killings in eastern DR Congo

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At least 37 people were killed in eastern Congo on Friday when Burundian refugees who were protesting their forced return to their crisis-hit country were fired upon by Congolese forces.

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.

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.

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

Out of 40,000 Burundian asylum-seekers, 28,000 who fled hostilities in their country were identified by the DRC's National Commission for Refugees in Kamanyola.


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

Burundi's foreign minister, Alain-Aime Nyamitwe, on Twitter described the incident as a "shooting" and said "explanations are needed".

He also stressed that defence and security forces could resort to force "only as a last resort" and in accordance with worldwide norms, and urged "the authorities to promptly open criminal investigations".

They fear religious persecution if they are sent back home, they said.

Burundi's government firmly rejected the allegations, accusing the United Nations investigators of being "mercenaries" in a Western plot to "enslave African states".

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