KAMPALA, Uganda — Five Congolese refugees have been killed during protests over reduced food rations, with the U.N. refugee agency saying Friday that police fired at the angry protesters.
Another 15 refugees were injured this week as several hundred marched to the U.N. agency offices in Kiziba camp in the west, Rwandan police said in a statement.
Police intervened when “demonstrators armed with stones, sticks and metal projectiles assaulted and wounded seven police officers,” the statement said. The refugees had been reminded that “disruption of public order was unacceptable.”
The U.N. refugee agency in a statement said it was “shocked” by the deaths, adding that “disproportionate use of force against desperate refugees is not acceptable.” It urged police not to use force and called on authorities to investigate.
The demonstrations demanding better living conditions or relocation began Tuesday in Kiziba camp, which hosts over 17,000 Congolese refugees.
Underfunding forced the U.N. World Food Program to cut food rations by 25 percent in January.