KIGALI, Rwanda — The United Nations refugee agency says protests by Congolese refugees in Rwanda have turned violent with several people injured and that police have fired into the air to disperse them.

Tensions are high over cuts in food rations. U.N. official Daniela Ionita says refugees refuse to return to Kiziba camp in western Rwanda despite pleas from government officials.

The demonstrations demanding better living conditions or relocation began Tuesday.

Rwanda hosts over 17,000 refugees from Congo, most of them women and children.

The World Food Program cut rations by 25 percent in January because of low funding and further cuts are possible.

Jean Claude Rwahama, Rwanda’s director of refugee affairs, confirms that several people have been injured in the unrest and says authorities and camp representatives are meeting to pursue solutions.

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