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Democratic Republic of Congo forces kill Burundian refugees

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

While the precise circumstances are not yet clear, reports indicate that in the course of a confrontation with Burundian demonstrators, Congolese security forces opened fire on the crowd.

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 clashes broke out when refugees were opposed to repatriation to Burundi, Kasereka said. "The soldiers responded by firing at the protesters and killing some of them".

Maman Sidikou, the head of MONUSCO, the UN's peacekeeping mission in the country, said in a statement Saturday that at least 36 refugees had been reported killed.

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A Burundian refugee told AFP news agency: "I saw people falling down, men, ..."

Reuters TV footage showed more than 30 bodies covered by sheets on the roadside in Kamanyola, with many more wounded also lying in the street.

Marchal said at least 50 others were wounded and the death toll is likely to rise. Many others had taken shelter at the United Nations peacekeeping mission's nearby base, she added.

The events occurred Friday afternoon in Kamanyola in eastern Congo when a group of Burundian refugees went to an office of the Congolese intelligence service to demand information about several other refugees who had been detained, said Jean-Chrysostome Kijana, a member of the civil society group, which is based in Congo. The death of the Congolese army officer led to "the escalation of violence". The government rejected the commission's findings as "propaganda".

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