Ugandans struggle to register as refugees in Yumbe

Some of the refugees from South Sudan being registered in Adjumani District. Photo by Felix Warom Okello.

YUMBE- Chaos ensued at Bidibidi Zone III Settlement in Kululu Sub-county, Yumbe District as hundreds of Ugandans struggled to be registered as South Sudan refugees.

Those who tried to be registered as refugees, according to officials reportedly wanted to access free relief items like food since most of them struggle to make ends meet.

The office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is currently registering refugees in Bidibidi Zone III.

However, chaos erupted after officials from OPM identified and blocked them from being registered.

An eyewitness who preferred anonymity said Ugandans who masqueraded as refugees were exposed after failing to answer basic questions related to physical features, languages, norms and cultures of South Sudan people.

The process of eliminating those ineligible is likely to be complicated since the Kakwa language is spoken in Koboko in Uganda and Yei, in South Sudan.

It is, therefore, easy for Ugandans at the border, many of whom speak Arabic, to pretend to be refugees for the sake of benefits.

In the same vein, many Ugandans hold South Sudan passports and identity cards which they acquired to get jobs across the border.

Mr Robert Baryamwesiga, the settlement commandant said some of the natives who wanted to register as refugees acquired cards fraudulently.

 "Accessing the cards is not a problem because the cards are many. Some refugees sell them to the Ugandans and go back to South Sudan. Buying these cards doesn't qualify a person to be a refugee. Registering as a refugee doesn't mean that you will become a rich person," he said.

 Mr Musiho Abubaker the Yumbe District police commander said on Monday: "The police had to fire live bullets in the air to disperse the rowdy residents. We never registered cases of assault and no arrests were made in connection to the incidence." the DPC said.

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