Congolese refugees who fled the fighting between government forces and rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo have finally been resettled in Rwamwanja refugees’ settlement camp in Kamwenge district.
The refugees who had been stranded in Kisoro district entered Kamwenge town on Tuesday night aboard eight buses and were escorted by two police patrol vehicles.
Francis Bafakai a settlement officer in the prime minister’s office said that brought in 672 refugees and they are expecting more 600 at the end of this week.
On Sunday, Congolese officials led by Vincente Mwanbusya met officials from Uganda and addressed the refugees at Bunagana border and urged them to return home but a two days later they were ferried by the UNHCR to Kamwenge district.
Bafaki said that up to 7,000 Congolese refugees have fled to Uganda to escape violence in their home country, adding that residents are nervous and scared of the coming of refugees in their area but urged them to stay calm as no one will be chased away from his home.
“The people of Rwamwanja are starting to feel nervous, yet we are not displacing them. We are only settling the refugees and that is all,” he told the New Vision on Wednesday.
Government’s plan to settle the refugees to Rwamwanja were delayed by the objections of residents who say they also need the land. Some had threatened violence if they were forcibly evicted.
The government had originally planned to resettle the Congolese refugees on March 19.
However the Settlement Commandant David Mugenyi said that they will keep on settling the refugees as they come and people who encroached on the government land will have to move.
Mugenyi did not say when the government was likely to evict the residents who encroached on the resettlement camp.
“As of now I have not received any instructions of evicting them but if I get it, we will act,” Mugenyi said.
Frank Tumwebaze the MP for Kibaale County and Dorothy Shaija the Kamwenge district MP they could not be reached as all their known telephones were switched off.
Shaija and Tumwebaze last month went on loggerheads with the Minister of Disaster and preparedness Dr Steven Malinga over settling Congolese refugees in Rwamwanja.
Moses Kwesiga the LC I chairman of Kaihora village said that they have no choice since government have decided to bring the refugees.
“The government has decided to bring the Congolese here and we have to choice but to accommodate them,” he said.