Refugees From Burundi Killed in Congo, Activists Say

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza is sworn in for a third term at a ceremony in the parliament in Bujumbura Burundi. Crimes against humanity are being committed in Burundi according to a United Nati

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza is sworn in for a third term at a ceremony in the parliament in Bujumbura Burundi. Crimes against humanity are being committed in Burundi according to a United Nati

Congolese security troops killed at least 18 Burundian refugees during confrontations Friday over plans to return some of the refugees to their home country, officials and local activists said.

Most of the refugees involved in yesterday's incident are followers of a female prophet called Zebiya, who has attested to seeing visions of the Virgin Mary in northern Burundi, according to testimony to AFP from some of them.

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 the Congolese army officer led to "the escalation of violence". "The soldiers responded by firing at the protesters and killing some of them".

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

Congo-based U.N. communications official Florence Marchal confirmed the deaths and said the Congolese government, the U.N. refugee agency and the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo "have deployed teams on site to shed light on everything that happened".

He says 15 of the victims are women.

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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.

According to initial reports more than 30 have been killed and over100 injured, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a news release on Saturday.

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