Congo Se­cu­rity Forces Kill at Least 18 Bu­run­dian Refugees


KIN­SHASA (Dis­patches) - Con­golese se­cu­rity forces killed at least 18 Bu­run­dian refugees dur­ing clashes over plans to send some of them home, lo­cal ac­tivists and a diplo­matic source said.

Po­lice and sol­diers opened fire as the refugees protested over the plan and tried to free some of their ar­rested com­pa­tri­ots in the town of Ka­many­ola in east­ern Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo on Fri­day, the sources said.

Ac­tivist Wendo Joel said the refugees had seized a weapon and killed a sol­dier, though that ac­count was not con­firmed by other sources.

“The sol­diers first fired in the air but there were many refugees,” Joel told Reuters. “I have counted 32 bod­ies. There are also about 100 wounded.”

A West­ern di­plo­mat said at least 18 refugees died and dozens more were wounded. A lo­cal army spokesman, Dieudonne Kasereka, told Reuters there had been clashes be­tween sol­diers and refugees armed with knives and ma­chetes, but that he did not know if there were any deaths.

More than 400,000 refugees have fled Congo’s neigh­bour Bu­rundi since vi­o­lence erupted there in April 2015 when Pres­i­dent Pierre Nku­run­z­iza said he would seek a third term in of­fice, a move his op­po­nents said was un­con­sti­tu­tional.

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