Officials in Bundibugyo district have expressed concern to the Prime Minister’s office, seeking assistance for the substantial influx of refugees who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo. This movement occurred following an attack by the Allied Democratic Forces in the Kitshanga region, which shares a border with Uganda, resulting in the loss of numerous lives.
Yesterday, over a thousand refugees sought refuge in Uganda, fleeing a life-threatening situation caused by gunfire in their location, resulting in numerous casualties and fatalities.
Currently, there is concern that the ADF rebels could exploit the presence of these refugees, entering Uganda under the guise of seeking peace and shelter. Consequently, the government has taken measures to enhance security along the border of Uganda and Congo, particularly in the Bundibugyo district.
Richard Muwumuza Gafabusa, the Member of Parliament representing the Bwamba region in Bundibugyo district, noted that there has been a continuous increase in the influx of people from Congo to Uganda. However, he highlighted the challenge of insufficient space to accommodate the growing number of refugees.
“Gafabusa emphasized the overwhelming number of people in Bundibugyo, making it challenging to manage the situation independently. Urgent assistance is sought from UN Agencies, specifically the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The plea extends to the president’s office to intervene as there are no transit camps for refugees in the area. Notably, the influx of refugees has disrupted normal school activities, with classrooms taken over by those stranded since yesterday.”
Recently, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda directed security agencies to enhance their vigilance and double their efforts in certain regions of the country. He emphasized the importance of caution when dealing with individuals whose intentions are not fully understood.
Irene Nakasiita, the spokesperson for the Uganda Red Cross Society, has announced that they have reached agreements with security agencies to receive refugees. Some of them are directed to the Nyahuka Health Center IV for further medical care.
Odong Ongotho, as communicated by the Office of the Prime Minister, has expressed collaborative efforts to locate a suitable facility for storage. However, they are currently facing a shortage of funds for this initiative.
Nakasiita mentioned that they enlist these refugees in collaboration with local community leaders, and individuals with injuries are transported to a nearby healthcare facility for supplementary care.
In Bundibugyo, the entire district appears to be facing vulnerability due to an influx of refugees, creating a challenge for local officials who are uncertain about where to relocate them. This situation is viewed by some as a potential threat, as the large number of refugees could serve as a disguise for rebels to infiltrate and launch unexpected attacks on Uganda. The concern is that rebels might exploit the refugee status to carry out surprise acts of terror.
Despite these worries, the president has reassured the public of Uganda, promising collective stability and protection for the people and their property. The government is committed to addressing the challenges posed by the refugee situation and maintaining the safety of the nation.