Nyarugusu (Tanzania) : assassination of a Congolese refugee suspected to be M23 supporter

Nyarugusu (Tanzania) : assassination of a Congolese refugee suspected to be M23 supporter

The congolese refugee had just recently arrived at the Nyarugusu refugee camp. The man from the Banyamurenge community was killed on Thursday morning allegedly by gunmen in police and civilian uniforms in the same camp. According to our sources, he was suspected of being an officer of M23, an armed group mainly composed of Congolese Tutsis. The victim’s family has been taken into protective custody. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Refugees in the Nyarugusu camp in the Congolese part were awakened by the sound of weapons that did not last long on Thursday.

“Gunmen in Tanzanian police uniforms and in civilian clothes broke into our house. They shot my husband at point-blank range and he died instantly,” said his terrified wife.

The incidents took place in zone 10. The victim received two bullets in the chest, the woman added.

The assailants first questioned the refugee on a probable illegal possession of weapons, which he denied before being forced out of his room, the only chance not to see his whole family being decimated.

“Before shooting him, they kept repeating: ‘show us where you hid the weapons, dear general of the M23′”, recalls his wife. She and their two children are frightened because the head of the household was murdered in their presence. They saw blood spurting out and staining their clothes. The body was recovered by the assailants who carry him, in a pickup to an undisclosed location.

Cops in uniform

The neighbors testify that they saw many police officers in uniform at the time of the incident.

“We saw at least three police vehicles and several armed elements, some in uniforms and others in civilian clothes. They had surrounded all the houses in the neighborhood. We were scared too. It is now that we understand what they really wanted,” they say.

Family placed under protection

In the afternoon of this Thursday, “the family of the victim was placed under protection and installed in one of the houses located next to the office of the head of the camp, jealously guarded by the police”, say witnesses.

The young family had fled the DRC and went to Nyarugusu camp earlier this year when Tanzania received a wave of Congolese refugees fleeing the east of the vast central African country, following fighting between the regular army and the rebels of the M23 movement.


The causes of the assassination are not officially known. His widow went to the police and got as a response that “it doesn’t know anything about it”.

However, sources on ground speak of “a movement of intelligence agents who followed him from Monday to Wednesday evening and took photos of his residence card at the camp, pretending to be humanitarian workers”.

Since his arrival in Nyarugusu, the man described by his neighbors as “helpful, alert and good”, has always been suspected of being part of the March 23 movement, M23 and of “recruiting for it”, according to one of his friends.

“Here, there are even people who nicknamed him ‘general’. Intelligence has always been convinced that he played a role within the M23”, he continues.

Police involved?

When the police say they don’t know, the refugees don’t even believe it for a second.

“The pick-up exited through the main entrance guarded by the police. How else can strangers enter such a large camp and go directly to a specific house? It was something that was meticulously prepared”, react Burundian and Congolese refugees.

A Burundian refugee not found

Before going to their victim’s house, the attackers first kidnapped a Burundian refugee, Norbert Nkundabera living in village B2.

After the crime, they took him away in the same pick-up with the body of the Congolese refugee. Burundian refugees who confided in SOS Médias Burundi fear the worst.

“He remains the only eyewitness, no doubt they have also already killed him,” they complain. They think that he would have been the victim of his name “Nkundabera” which is similar to that of the members of the Banyamulenge community. His neighbors demand an independent investigation to find him.

UNHCR agents in charge of the protection of threatened refugees and the police have accepted to conduct investigations whose results are already criticized by refugees, for not having confidence in the Tanzanian police.

Nyarugusu has more than 110,000 refugees, including more than 60,000 Congolese.

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