Ten Congolese nationals, who were denied registration as refugees by the office of the prime minister in Arua, have now been relocated for re-settlement in Kyaka II refugee settlement in Kabarole district by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
The asylum seekers reported to Arua refugee desk office two weeks ago but local officials could not verify their status. Arua refugee desk officials say they have been ordered by their head office in Kampala to stop registering any asylum seekers from Congo.
The Congolese refugees spent the last two weeks at Arua police station where they received help from good Samaritans.
On Tuesday this week, Office of the Prime Minister directed that the asylum seekers be sent to Kyaka II. The directive triggered action from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR office who released a vehicle to transport the refugees.
But as the Congolese were boarding UNHCR vehicle for relocation today, David Wangwe, the deputy refugee desk officer for Arua maintained that they doubted the status of the refugees because they should have reported to Kyaka or Nakivale refugee settlements which are closer to their origin in Congo.
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The Congolese refugees were subjected to a series of security vetting to ensure they were not connected to armed groups. Masimbuka Chatal, one of the refugees says their relocation will help them to recover from the trauma of being bounced by Ugandan authorities and UNHCR offices.
This is the first time the refugee desk office in Arua has turned down a request to register Congolese who reporting as refugees.
West Nile is home to more than 400 Congolese refugees who are mainly settled at Imvepi refugee settlement area.