36 refugees shot dead in DR Congo

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Six members of the Congolese security forces were killed in the clashes, Congolese army spokesman Dieudonne Kasereka said. A [Congolese soldier] was killed in the clash, and it led to the escalation of violence.

Out of 40,000 Burundian asylum-seekers, 28,000 who fled hostilities in their country were identified by the DRC's National Commission for Refugees in Kamanyola. A total of 43,769 Burundian refugees live in DRC.

He also stressed that defence and security forces could resort to force "only as a last resort" and in accordance with worldwide norms, and urged "the authorities to promptly open criminal investigations".

"The incident provoked a reaction from the soldiers, who started shooting everywhere", he said.

"I am deeply shocked by the high number of civilian casualties who have sought refuge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and condemn any form of violence between communities".

Of the people killed in Friday's clashes, 15 were women, the commander of the Pakistani battalion of the United Nations peacekeeping mission, Waquara Yunusi, told The Associated Press. Many fled political violence at home in 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza successfully pursued a disputed third term amid deadly protests.

The Burundian protesters, she said, "were not happy because four of them have been expelled from Congo". Congolese soldiers responded with gunfire when some of the refugees hurled stones, said refugee Aline Nduwarugira.

It was not immediately clear why the four refugees had been detained.

An official says Congolese forces have allegedly shot and killed 34 Burundian refugees in an area near Burundi's border.

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