Over 10,000 refugees
fleeing instability in Boga Town in the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC have crossed
into Ntoroko district mainly via Rwamabale, Kayanja and Haibale. Boga is
about 25km from Ntoroko District.
the refugees have pitched camp at Rwamabale Primary School while others are in Bweramule, Rwebisengo, Karugutu,
Kanara and Butungama Sub Counties.
Kawamara, the Ntoroko Resident District Commissioner told URN that the
situation is alarming with many more Congolese sneaking into the communities
He says the asylum seekers take advantage of the porous borders
to cross into Uganda and settle within the community, which is a health threat as
the country battles the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Kawamara says that they are internationally obliged to welcome asylum seekers
and appeals to development partners to support the district to monitor and
register them for proper management. The district is also seeking support
to test the refugees for COVID-19.
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Kasoro, the Ntoroko district LC V chairperson says that they are financially constrained
to cater for the growing number of refugees. He says the numbers could be
much higher with many dodging registration for fear of being transferred into
Kasoro says that he wrote to the Office of the Prime Minister and the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-UNHCR Country Office on the current
status for help.
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Both local leaders
and residents are worried that the refugee crisis may worsen the spread of
COVID-19 and Ebola.
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Friday Mugisa, the LC III chairperson sub-county told URN that there is a need to
mobilise all the asylum seekers and transfer them to designated places for
proper management. He says wrong elements could take advantage of the
situation to cause insecurity in the district.
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Asaba Stephen Kyomya, the Bweramule Sub County LC III Chairperson says there
over 4000 refugees in his sub-county alone. He is also worried that if the
group is not isolated it may lead to disease outbreaks.
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Ben Musoke, the Ntoroko Acting District Police Commander-DPC says they have
intensified security patrol in the district to ensure the displaced persons do
not become a security threat.
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one of the refugees wants the Uganda government to transfer them to a camp
where they can settle decently. She says they have currently taken shelter in a
class without beddings and other utilities.
Isa Bambona, another refugee
decries the lack of space, saying that it is exposing them to diseases. He also
says that they are surviving on one meal a day.