What you need to know:
- The acting Commissioner for Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr Douglas Asiimwe, said government has offered to host the Congolese refugees for two months at Nyakabande refugee transit camp.
The Expanded Joint Security Verification team from the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) on Saturday visited Bunagana Town in Kisoro District to assess the effects of the war between Congolese government and the M23 rebels that has led to the influx of refugees in Uganda.
The ICGLR member states include Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Republic of South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia.
The delegation was led by Col Mohammed Karrar from Sudan.
The team held a two hour closed-door meeting with the Kisoro District security committee at the Bunagana border customs board room before they interacted with the Congolese refugees at Bunagana Town.
They also visited another group of Congolese refugees at Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro District.
The Kisoro Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Shafique Ssekandi, said the Expanded Joint security Verification team members will also interrogate the 11 M23 rebels who surrendered to the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in Kisoro last month after they were over powered by the Congolese soldiers as they attempted to capture Bunagana Town on Congo side.
“They will present a report about their findings to their bosses so they come up with a way forward,” Mr Ssekandi said.
He added that about 11,000 Congolese are camped at Bunagana border post while about 9,000 have been registered and are being accommodated at Nyakabande refugee transit camp.
Mr Ssekandi said the Kisoro District security committee, which he chairs, resolved that all the Congolese refugees camped in Bunagana Town be transported to Nyakabande refugee transit camp where they can be accommodated and availed with daily necessities such as food, shelter, health care and clean water.
The acting Commissioner for Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr Douglas Asiimwe, said government has offered to host the Congolese refugees for two months at Nyakabande refugee transit camp.
“We have secured enough food, shelter, health care and other daily necessities for the Congolese refugees at Nyakabande refugee transit camp. The infrastructure established at this refugee transit camp can accommodate about 25,000 people. We have launched a campaign to sensitise the Congolese refugees in Bunagana Town to voluntarily accept being transported to Nyakabande refugee transit camp for their own good,” Mr Asiimwe said.
However, some Congolese refugees including Ms Modesta Wimana, Mr Jean Bosco Ntamukunzi, and Mr Juma Ntakarimaze said they cannot cope with life in camps.
“Staying at the border gives us an opportunity to monitor our crop gardens and we are assured of a decent meal,” Mr Ntamukunzi said.
But Mr Asiimwe said they are providing them with breakfast, lunch, and supper every day.
The Uganda Red Cross Society team leader at Nyakabande refugee transit camp, Mr Abel Niwamanya, said they have recruited about 40 volunteers to assist in promoting hygiene and sanitation to avoid disease outbreak and reuniting families who were separated during the stampede to flee the fighting.
“We have reunited about 278 children with their parents and we still have 24 children whose parents are still missing. We have secured about 300 latrine slabs and several tap lines that will be used in making more latrines and constructing bathing shelters for the refugees at Nyakabande transit camp. We are installing water tanks to ensure that the refugees have access to clean water,” Mr Niwamanya said.