Uganda: Over 10, 000 Congolese Stuck At Uganda-DRC Border

Zombo — At least 10,000 people are stuck at the Uganda-DRC border in Zombo District following ethnic clashes.

They are fleeing the clashes between the Alur and Lendu in Nsimbi, Logu and Gonyubendu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that started on May 24.

Speaking to Daily Monitor on May 31, Ms Janet Athua, 45, an expectant mother, who escaped with her two children, said her greatest fear is for her unborn child.

"These children keep asking why they are being punished by sleeping under trees and rain. I pray that the Uganda government will help us and allow us to cross into the country," she said.

Another refugee, Mr George Angala, 60, said he was traumatised after witnessing some of his relatives hacked to death.

"The attackers burnt my houses, looted my animals and I do not have any helper here. I do not know whether my grandchildren are alive or not," he said.

The Member of Parliament for Ora County in Zombo District, Mr Lawrence Songa, described the situation of the displaced people as pathetic and called upon the humanitarian agencies to take it as a matter of urgency.

"We need expeditious interventions into the issues of the displaced people from the DRC. These tarpaulins, iron sheets, blankets, jerrycans, handwashing facilities and liquid soap that I have given to the displaced people is not enough," he said.

At the onset of the conflict, the survivors of the conflict were barred by police and Uganda People's Defence Forces soldiers from entering Uganda due to the Covid-19 regulations.

The UPDF fourth Division Commander, Mr Bonny Bamwisike, during a meeting with district leaders on May 30 said the ban on entry and exit points stands and no refugee would be allowed into the country.

According to him, there are some negative forces behind the attack and it is a tricky situation that makes it hard to determine whether they are genuine displaced people.

"At the moment, we shall not allow anyone from the DRC to enter into Uganda because we already have a huge challenge of Covid-19. More so, we do not trust some of the people seeking protection from our government," he said.

Mr Bamwisike said they have also deployed more soldiers at the border with DRC for better security management along the porous border.

The MP for Mahagi Territory in DRC, Mr Muber Thoniot, on the phone said: "Two years ago, the attackers formed rebel groups where they raided, burn houses and kill people at will. They have moved to Angal II and displaced many people. As I speak now, they have moved to Panduru and Jukoth chiefdoms."

Similarly, in 2002, over 150 people were killed with 15,000 displaced by similar ethnic clashes in the DRC.

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