Refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo have proved more important than the fear of Covid-19 after the Uganda International boarders were finally re-opened (since March 2020), to over 4000 Congolese nationals seeking asylum.
The Congolese nationals who are fleeing from intensified tribal clashes had been trapped in Zeu Forest at the boarder point of Gulajo in Zombo district. Congolese nationals, including a majority number of children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers were allowed into the country on humanitarian grounds and were given food and basic relief.
The group was received by Hilary Onek, the minister for refugees and disaster preparedness, accompanied by Grace Kwiyucwiny, state minister for Northern Uganda Rehabilitation, Joel Boutroue, the United Nations Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), area MP Lawrence Songa, at a place called Ayutepa, about 17kms from the Congo boarder. The groups that arrived include the Alur, Lendu, Hema, and the Kebu.
The refugees were all given face masks and sanitized upon entry into the country, boarded onto UNHCR trucks and transported to Akaa Quarantine Centre, located at the Zombo District Farm Institute. They will stay at the centre for 14 days, during which time they all will be tested for Coronavirus.
In the spirit of brotherhood, the Alur kingdom in Uganda, represented by the Prime Minister of Alur kingdom offered 2000 acres of land to settle the refugees after the 14 days of quarantine are over.
Minister Onek appealed to the international community to be sympathetic and increase funding to the UNHCR to cater for the needs of the increasing number of refugees in the country. Onek however warned the refugees to leave their misunderstandings at the border and ensure they remain peaceful once they are in Uganda.
Photo credit: New Vision