More Congolese Refugees Enter Uganda

CongoleseMore Congolese refugees have entered Bundibugyo district after fleeing the fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC. On Wednesday, more than 500 refugees entered Bundibugyo through Busunga border post after Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces -ADF rebels attacked Kamango town, about 12kms from the Ugandan border. 

This morning, more than 600 refugees entered Bundibugyo district, bringing the total number of refugees to 1,500 since Wednesday.

Steven Mugisa, a settlement officer in the Office of the Prime Minister told reporters that the refugees started arriving at Busunga border post at 5:00a.m. According to Mugisa, some of the refugees they spoke to said that fighting was still raging on.

The refugees are being registered and screened by the UPDF, Police and local council authorities of Busunga. He says that after the registration exercise the list will given to the officials of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-UNHCR officials, who will relocate the refugees to the Bubukwanga Transit Camp, 3 kilometers from Bundibugyo town.

On Friday, UNHCR started the relocation of the refugees who entered Bundibugyo on Wednesday to the transit camp.  Francis Mushabe, an official from the Office of the Prime Minister who is overseeing the relocation exercise told Uganda Radio Network in a telephone interview that the number of refugees could be high. He says that some of the refugees have preferred to stay with their relatives from where they can always sneak back to the DRC to look after their gardens.

Mushabe says that some of the refugees are living in Busaru, Bumandi and Busulu. He says government will not be responsible, should anything happen to the refugees not in the camp since they aren’t in their records. Mushabe states that the OPM’s office with the help of the UNHCR plans to carry out a head count of the refugees to establish the exact number of refugees living with host families and convince them to either return home or be relocated to the camp, which is secure.

Bukukwanga transit camp was established early this year to host about sixty thousand Congolese refugees who fled to Uganda after ADF rebels overran Kamengo town. Forty thousand refugees have so far been relocated to Kyangwali refugee settlement camp in Hoima District. Maj. Ronald Kakurungu, the UPDF 2nd Division spokesperson says the army has secured the Ugandan borderline to make sure no negative elements infiltrate into the country.

On Friday, the Congolese government forces took control of Kamango town after a special United Nations force used helicopter gunships to chase away the rebels.Kamago

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