Violence at Religious Ceremony in Djibouti Leaves Seven Dead

Seven people were killed in Djibouti after violence erupted when police tried to move worshipers gathered to mark a religious holiday to a new site, according to the Red Sea state’s foreign affairs ministry.

More than 20 civilians were injured and 50 police officers wounded in the clashes on Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf said in an e-mailed statement.

“When 50 police officers arrived to move the worshipers peacefully to the agreed site, clashes erupted and gunshots were fired from the crowd,” the minister said. “It was later discovered that a small number of people at the gathering were armed with Kalashnikov rifles, machetes and knives.”

Claims of 19 deaths were exaggerations, according to the statement.

Djibouti’s $1.5 billion economy is home to the only permanent U.S. military base in Africa at Camp Lemonnier, along with French and Japanese military deployments.

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