UNHCR ’shocked’ by police killing of refugee

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday expressed shock at the shooting dead of a young female refugee during a riot at one of the country’s refugee camps early this week.

The late refugee from an unnamed country was killed when police were called into Maheba refugee camp in the north west of the country to quell rioting refigees. Trouble began when 200 refugees staged a protest at the administration offices to prevent a new administrator who had been appointed to oversee them from taking office.

Some of the refugees were also demanding to be offered asylum to the United States of America, and in the ensuing confusion police were called in to stop the protest.

The police opened fire, killing the teenage refugee instantly.

UNHCR country representative James Lynch told journalists on Friday that the UN agency was shocked that live ammunition had been used on the refugees. He said although he did not support the actions of the refugees, it was saddening that deadly force had been used to break up the disturbance, leading to the killing.

He welcomed the commitment made by the Zambian government that it had instituted an investigation to establish how live ammunition was used to quell the riot.


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