What you need to know:
- The directive follows a closed door meeting between Congolese security officials and those of the Ugandan government that endorsed the resolution to have the refugees relocated to camps
Thousands of Congolese refugees camped at Bunagana border post in Kisoro District since Monday have been advised to voluntarily accept relocation to the gazetted refugee camps in Uganda or return home.
The directive follows a closed door meeting between Congolese security officials and those of the Ugandan government that endorsed the resolution to have the refugees relocated to camps.
The Kisoro Resident District Commissioner, Mr Peter Mugisha, told Daily Monitor after the joint meeting yesterday that the Congolese officials had assured them that there is relative peace back home and that the troubled areas were now peaceful.
“We have agreed that the refugees either voluntarily accept to be relocated to Nyakabande transit camp for screening and provision of health care services among other daily needs or they return back home since the Congolese authorities have assured us that the place in now peaceful,” said Mr Mugisha.
By yesterday evening, the leaders had started moving around the border using the public address system to convey the message.
Fighting that erupted between the M23 rebels and the Congolese government soldiers on Monday morning has since forced about 30,000 Congolese refugees to flee into Uganda and they are currently camped at Bunagana border town.
The Congolese government delegation was led by the head of intelligence services, Mr Bosco Mugalu.
Mr Mugisha said they were overwhelmed by the swelling number of refugees who are competing for food and other services with the locals.
He said normalcy will return at the border by Monday. Mr Mugalu declined to talk to the press yesterday.
The acting commissioner for refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr Douglas Asiimwe, said they are ready to extend all the required support to the Congolese refugees while at Nyakabande refugee transit camp.
He said by yesterday afternoon, about 2,500 Congolese refugees had been registered at Nyakabande refugee transit camp.
Mr Eric Eloyi, one of the Congolese refugees, said: “Let’s wait until tomorrow. I am not yet sure that our home villages are secure. I crossed back to Congo to get water and food items to cook for my children but it seems the situation is not yet secure for us.”
More refugees were pouring into the country by press time.