Refugees reject biometric registration in DR Congo
08 December 2017 13:45 GMT

Burundian refugees living in a transit camp in Democratic Republic of Congo are resisting plans to register them on a biometric database, claiming it would violate their religion.

The group of more than 2,000 belong to an obscure Catholic sect that follows a female prophet called Zebiya and claim to have fled their homeland due to religious persecution, reports AFP.

"2167 refugees are resisting the identification scheme despite several efforts" by refugee agencies, including the UN, local NGO worker Augustin Bulimuntu told AFP in the South Kivu region which borders Burundi.

Bulimuntu said guidelines in DRC mandate that refugees register on a biometric database that includes fingerprints and iris scans.

Most of those currently housed at the camp in the border town of Kamanyola are followers of Zebiya who claims to have had several visions of the Virgin Mary in north Burundi.

They fled there with the prophetess in 2015, accusing the Burundian police of religious persecution.

"We refused this biometric registration because our faith forbids it," group spokesperson Dionise Nyandwi told AFP, without explaining why.