Gov’t Explains Reports of New Refugee Arrivals Despite Current Ban

Despite the closure of the borders and issuance of a ban on the new entry of refugees in Uganda, there have been reports that refugees have continued entering the country.

On Wednesday, the Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Hon Musa Ecweru said the refugees sighted on trucks were not new arrivals but rather those who were already in the country before the ban took effect and were being transported to gazetted settlement to decongest transit centres in an effort to contain the widespread of COVID 19.

“If you saw trucks and buses ferrying refugees across Mbarara, that must be true because we are decongesting the transit centres of Nyakabande. There has been a transit centre in Kisoro in a place called Nyakabande and we wanted it to close as soon as the directives by H.E the President were given to us.”

“We are also decongesting the transit centre in Matanda in Kanungu and we wanted it to close as quickly as possible. So the best we could do was to remove those refugees who had been in those transit centres and take them to a gazetted settlement. This had nothing to do with new arrivals and should not cause any panic in the country,” Ecweru told reporters yesterday.

On reports that some refugees were entering Uganda through lake Albert without being screened by Ministry of Health to ascertain whether they are positive for COVID 19, Ecweru said these were traced, screened and none of them tested positive.

“I can tell you every effort has been made by the Ministry of Health, our teams and security to get those cases that are reported to have crossed through the lake and they are screened and so far nothing has happened that indicates that there has been a problem.”

He however reiterated that the borders are closed and currently no one is allowed to enter into the country.

“We have suspended the coming in of these people through the lake as it has been before.”

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