Burundi Government urges DRC to clarify killings of Burundians in Kamanyola

At least 39 Burundian asylum seekers have been killed while 127 others seriously wounded in a clash with Congolese Security forces this 15 September. Burundi government urges the DRC, UNHCR and MONUSCO to shed light on their death circumstances.

About thirty Burundian asylum seekers died in a clash with the Congolese Security forces

About thirty Burundian asylum seekers died in a clash with the Congolese Security forces

The government of Burundi recommends the DRC government, UN Refugee Agency and United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC [MONUSCO] to clarify how and why around forty Burundian nationals were killed in Kamanyola Eastern DRC on 15 September.

Philippe Nzobonariba, Spokesperson for Burundi government, says the country is waiting for the response as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alain Aimé Nyamitwe has already requested. “They are our citizens, we want them to come back home, but all that, they have a right to security,” Nzobonariba says.

Following the clashes that erupted between the Burundian asylum seekers and the Congolese Defense Forces (FARDC) in Kamanyola Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the death toll rises. On 17 September, an agent of the Congolese security forces and three other Burundians who were seriously injured during the clash died when they were evacuated.

They add to 22 men, 15 women and a 10 year- old kid killed during the clash this Friday on 15 September. Around 120 others were seriously wounded. On the Congolese side, 6 FARDC agents were wounded. During the clashes, four policemen were also injured. The police and army opened fire on the refugees as they were protesting against the plan to send four of them back to Burundi.

Congolese government says it was a self-defense

Lambert Mende, spokesperson for the DRC government denied that those who were killed were not refugees. He said the clashes broke out when assailants from an unidentified armed group attacked an office of the national intelligence agency. “A group of armed assailants exchanged gunfire with FARDC units. The latter captured one of them and Burundians attacked back the office and killed one FARDC agent”, he said. The DRC spokesperson said those people were killed when the FARDC forces tried to repel the assailants.

In a statement issued on 16 September by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC, Maman Sidikou, Head of MONUSCO exhorted DRC authorities to promptly conduct investigations and afterwards shed light on the killings and for justice to be done on the part of the victims. He also indicated that field teams were deployed to determine precisely the circumstances of the clashes.

Three helicopters and MONUSCO ambulances rushed the injured people to Bukavu hospital on Sunday.

The Kamanyola city shelters 2917 Burundian asylum seekers. They currently spend the nights out in front of the Pakistani peacekeepers seeking protection. The victims were buried on Sunday 17 September.