Burundi refugees killed in clashes with Congo forces

DRC says it has opened inquiry into fatal shooting of Burundian refugees

More than 400,000 refugees have fled Burundi - including 40,000 to neighbouring Congo - since violence erupted in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term in office, a move his opponents said was unconstitutional.

In total, according to the latest information, around 37 people were killed (36 Burundian and one member of the armed forces) and between 117 and 134 people were injured. In the current situation, solutions need to be found quickly for the protection of the Burundian refugees.

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

Eyewitness Alfred Rukungo said the soldiers continued shooting into the crowd even after some refugees were wounded.

Congo's government says it is opening an investigation to establish the facts and true identity of the "supposed refugees", spokesman Lambert Mende said.

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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.

Those killed during the protest likely included asylum seekers, the United Nations agency said.

Interior minister Josue Boji said that troops tried to disperse the refugees, who were fleeing violence and unrest in their own country, when the group started to throw stones.

The death of a soldier during the protests is said to have triggered the bloodbath.

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

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