Burundi nationals killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Inquiry Opened 

Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

It is known that 37 nationals from Burundi were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after alterations between migrants/refugees from this nation with security forces. At the moment, accounts remain sketchy apart from the current death toll that is acknowledged by the government of the DRC.

The trigger for the spiral of events happened after 4 nationals from Burundi were expelled from the DRC. This, in turn, generated anger within the Burundi community in the province of South Kivu. Hence, protests erupted that resulted in the death of one soldier from the DRC but who – or if both sides – triggered the violence remains open to different interpretations.

Ethnic and religious tensions can quickly spiral out of control throughout the region. For example, millions of people have perished based on ethnic and religious tensions over the last few decades in Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, and the relatively new state of South Sudan. Therefore, a trigger can often result in a high loss of life because of ethnicity, religious sectarianism, overt racism, political factors, countless different militias, and other factors that emerge because of regional intrigues.

The BBC reports, “More than 400,000 people have fled Burundi since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term, sparking widespread violence…Some 40,000 are living in the DRC, the UN Refugee Agency said.”

Lambert Mende, a government spokesperson for the DRC, is indicating that security forces killed “armed groups.” While other voices state that soldiers panicked after coming under attack from stone-throwing individuals from the Burundi community. However, if armed groups had been involved, then surely more soldiers from the DRC army would have perished. Hence, a thorough investigation is needed that takes into account individuals from all sides of the spectrum.

According to other reports, you may have a religious angle because it is alleged that many Burundi nationals look up to Zebiya, a female prophet, who claims to see religious visions of the Virgin Mary. This angle was espoused in a report by the AFP news agency.

Sadly, images show-harrowing scenes of dead Burundi nationals who were killed by the armed forces of the DRC. Therefore, a thorough inquiry is needed that involves parties that can be trusted by all sides.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-41294643

www.africanews.com/2017/09/18/drc-says-it-has-opened-inquiry-into-fatal-shooting-of-burundian-refugees

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