DR Congo Refugees Riot over Food Shortages in Zambian Camp
A food riot by hundreds of refugees and former soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at a camp in northern Zambia left one person dead, a Sunday paper reported.
Some 28 other people were injured during the clashes Friday between the refugees demanding increased food rations and Zambian police officers at Kala refugee camp, according to the Sunday Mail.
The paper said 16 people were arrested and charged for riotous behaviour.
Police spokesman Lemmy Kajoba said police were forced to fire teargas to disperse the rioters.
Kajoba said the rioting refugees damaged three police vehicles, adding that the 16 arrested were expected to appear in court soon.
People fleeing wars in the neighboring DRC and Angola have poured into Zambia, which now hosts more than 250,000 refugees, the largest refugee population in southern Africa.
In December, Ilunga Ngandu, regional director for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), admitted that funding for refugees was inadequate, warning that Zambia was a "time bomb".
Early this year, a visiting UNHCR assistant high commissioner, Soren Jessen-Petersen, said it was a "very big burden" for impoverished Zambia to host so many refugees.
"Zambia needs urgent international support," he said.
Food shortages in refugee camps had prompted inmates to invade nearby Zambian villages to steal crops belonging to local communities – LUSAKA (AFP)