Troops kill 18 Burundian refugees in Congo

Refugees From Burundi Killed in Congo, Activists Say

At least 30 Burundian refugees have been killed in clashes with Congolese security forces over plans to send some of them home, a Reuters witness and local activists said on Saturday.

"The precise circumstances are not yet clear [but] reports indicate that in the course of a confrontation with Burundian demonstrators, Congolese security forces opened fire on the crowd", the United Nations agency added.

The refugees were protesting against the decision of DRC officials to extradite two other refugees arrested recently for allegedly making weapons.

"The Congolese army and police were overwhelmed by the refugee protest and fired shots into the air before the situation worsened", the army spokesman said.

Five soldiers and 20 of the attackers were killed in the fighting, Mende said. UNHCR also calls for an investigation into this tragic incident.

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"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".

Residents in the area tell The Associated Press the killings occurred after some Burundian refugees went to the bureau of intelligence in Kamanyola to inquire about four detained refugees.

The Burundian protesters, she said, "were not happy because four of them have been expelled from Congo".

More than 400,000 refugees from Burundi have fled to neighboring Congo since 2015, to escape an outbreak of political violence that was sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza's successful but disputed bid to win a third term in office.

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