More than 6,000 Congolese nationals have crossed into Uganda since the Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF and the Congolese army launched an offensive against the positions of the rebel Allied Democratic Forces-ADF, Hedwig Arinitwe, the acting commandant of the Bubukwanga refugee transit centre in Bundibugyo district, has revealed. The asylum seekers are from ADF rebels in North Kivu, DRC.
Asylum seekers, mainly women and children, are entering Uganda via the Busunga crossing border, while others enter through the porous borders of Butoogo, Bundikaleba, and Bundingoma, among others. The Office of the Prime Minister, together with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, has stated they are relocating the refugees.
According to Arinitwe, over 4,000 refugees have so far been relocated to Rwamwanja and Kyangwali settlement camps. Some of these people have very touching stories and experiences. Most of these people appear anaemic and sickly in nature, but we are lucky because we have partners who strictly attend to these asylum seekers, “Arinaitwe said. She says that more than 400 asylum seekers cross into Uganda every day.
Arinitwe says that Kyaka refugee camp is filled to capacity, adding that they have resorted to taking the asylum seekers to Rwamwanja refugee camp.
Some of the asylum seekers who preferred anonymity said that hospitals in the Bundibugyo district were not attending to some of them on the account that they were refugees. Even when they see your child or mother in a dire condition, they still don’t give you attention. “It is sad that we have come 100 kilometres from Butembo in Nobili and many areas, and our children normally get sick along the way,” the source told URN.
One of the refugees told URN that the food they are being served in the camp, mainly posho and beans, is causing serious diarrhoea in their children, and he wants it to be changed with a suitable alternative.
In November last year, the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces launched a military offensive dubbed “operation Shujja” against ADF rebels in the DRC. The rebels have since turned their wrath against civilians, forcing hundreds to flee their homes for dear life.