The United Nations refugee agency has called upon the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government to protect refugees and asylum seekers after Congolese soldiers shot and killed at least 39 Burundian protesters.
The dead included men, women and one child. One Congolese soldier was also killed, with six others wounded, according to UN.
The government has promised to probe the shootings that took place last Friday. UN reports that the shootings after a peaceful protest over the detention of some Burundian refugees who feared deportation.
“This is a devastating tragedy. It should never have happened,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.
He welcomed the announcement from Congolese officials to launch an inquiry into the incident and called for it to be detailed.
“We need to establish facts and determine responsibility and make sure that such an incident never happens again.”
UNHCR said it had deployed a team to the area to collaborate with medical staff of a partner organization in local hospitals to provide life-saving medical assistance to the injured.
57 people that sustained critical injuries were evacuated to Goma and the nearest city of Bukavu, while 37 others are being treated in Kamanyola.