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12 Refugees Intercepted in Kotido

Gerald Tumwesigye, the Officer in-Charge Kotido Police Station who led the operation to arrest the refugees, says they were intercepted aboard a Kampala bound Gateway Bus around 4:00am this morning.

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Kotido Police are holding 12 refugees accused of sneaking into Uganda illegally. They include eleven Eritrean nationals and one South Sudanese national. The refugees include three children and three women.

Gerald Tumwesigye, the Officer in-Charge Kotido Police Station who led the operation to arrest the refugees, says they were intercepted aboard a  Kampala bound Gateway Bus around 4:00am this morning.

 

He says police swung into action after receiving intelligence that some foreign nationals had crossed into Uganda without clearance. He says the refugees were travelling from Kakuma refugee Camp in Kenya to Kampala.

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Tumwesigye says they are in touch with the refugee reception Centre in Kampala to establish who the suspects are and their motive. He observed that refugees from Kenya find it easy to cross to Uganda through Kaabong district because of the porous border.  

He says the refugees will be released after clearance from the Office of the Prime Minister. Gabriel Jok Mading, a 31- year- old South Sudanese national, who was being interviewed by detective Nickson Okello, said he crossed to Uganda because his life back at home is at risk. 

Mading added that even after leaving South Sudan and settling in a camp in Kenya, he was still threatened. He wanted to visit his sister in Kampala for assistance.

This is not first time refugees are abandoning their settlement in Kakuma refugee camp, according to Detective Okello. Last month, two South Sudanese nationals were intercepted as they sought new settlement in Kiryadongo camp.

 

They were, however, taken back to Kakuma after the Uganda refugee reception centre said they are no longer receiving refugees. Last year, 16 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo were intercepted in Moroto following their escape from Nakivale settlement in Kibaale district enroute to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. 

Uganda is currently hosting the highest number of refugees in the country's history, and is receiving simultaneous emergency influxes from South Sudan, DRC and Burundi, according to UNHCR.

 

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