Dozens die as se­cu­rity forces fire at refugees

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - World -

At least 36 Bu­run­dian refugees have been killed in clashes with Con­golese se­cu­rity forces who al­legedly fired in­dis­crim­i­nately at pro­test­ers, the UN en­voy to Congo said yes­ter­day.

Ma­man Sidikou said he was “deeply shocked” at the vi­o­lence. An­other 117 peo­ple were wounded and one Con­golese of­fi­cer was killed, he said in a state­ment.

Thirty-nine gravely wounded Bu­run­dian refugees were evac­u­ated by he­li­copter to the city of Bukavu, the UN peace­keep­ing mis­sion in Congo said.

The 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, Mr Sidikou said, cit­ing “cred­i­ble re­ports” re­ceived by the peace­keep­ing mis­sion.

The death of the Con­golese army of­fi­cer led to “the es­ca­la­tion of vi­o­lence”.

The UN en­voy called for a swift investigation and urged Congo’s se­cu­rity forces to use force as a last re­sort.

Congo’s gov­ern­ment says it is open­ing an investigation to es­tab­lish the facts and true iden­tity of the “sup­posed refugees,” a gov­ern­ment spokesman said.

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