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REFUGEES: Museveni DRCongo invasion now complete success, Uganda to get forex

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DAILY NATION – Thousands of Congolese nationals fleeing fighting have arrived in Hoima District in western Uganda.

Conflict has erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), security officials said.

VIOLENCE

The refugees were reportedly fleeing tribal fighting between the Bagegere and the Lendu, while others were running away from areas where UPDF soldiers were fighting ADF rebels.

“Within less than a week, we have received over 7,000 Congolese refugees. They are asylum seekers who have come for safety,” the Hoima Resident District Commissioner, Mr John Stephen Ekoom, said.

He said more refugees were arriving as fighting raged in eastern DRC.

REFUGEES

The refugees travelled by boat across Lake Albert and arrived at various landing sites in Uganda.

Most of them entered Uganda through Kaiso, Sebagoro, Nsonga and Bugoma landing sites. However, some have evaded being registered by local authorities.

“We are not taking issues lightly. We have deployed security officials to scrutinise them. We are not allowing them to mix with local communities although there are some who are trying to seek refuge from their relatives and friends,” Ekoom added.

The refugees include some Alurs, Bagegere and Lendu, according to the Albertine regional Police spokesperson, Mr Julius Hakiza.

PATROLS

The Police Marine Forces said they would increase boat patrols to curb possible accidents due to overloading.

The Congolese told Ugandan authorities they fled as houses were being torched and people attacked with machetes and firearms.

Upon arrival, the refugees received basic relief assistance before being transported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Kyangwali refugee settlement camp.

SCREENING

The refugees were being registered by OPM and medically screened by Action Africa Help, government officials said.

“Since December 19, 2017, we have registered 11,553 refugees but an estimated 3,000 others are still at reception centres at landing sites,” said Mr Douglas Asiimwe, an officer in OPM.

OPM and UNHCR used buses to transport the refugees from reception sites on Lake Albert but there were plans to deploy more trucks to speed up the transportation to Kyangwali.

Mr Asiimwe said an emergency registration team was on the ground to conduct biometric registration.

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