Kasese, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | More than 500 Congolese nationals fleeing fresh attacks by the rebel Allied Democratic Forces-ADF in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC have entered Kasese district. The group comprises of mostly women and children from the areas of Masamba, Nobili, Kakororo and the surroundings.
They have pitched camp in Kithoma/Kanyansi town council and Kitholhu sub county, bordering DRC. Authorities say more asylum seekers are still arriving. Uganda Red Cross Society has deployed a team of volunteers to offer support to the refugees and register whoever is coming in.
Milton Kule Mburara, the Kithoma/Kanyansi town council LC III chairperson says that the asylum seekers started arriving on Monday night and were registered at Kanyansi playground, which is acting as a temporary reception centre.
He says that they have informed the district leadership for immediate intervention since the majority of the asylum seekers don’t have food or clothes and the town council doesn’t have the necessary facilities to cater for them.
Emmanuel Kule Maliba, the LC III chairperson of Kitholhu sub-county says that they have so far registered more than 400 people from 121 households and they anticipate the numbers to increase. He says that they have designated Kisebere primary school to host them temporarily.
Maliba told URN on Wednesday that they have agreed with the administration of Kisebere school that learners who are yet to sit their exams be transferred to neighbouring schools. He noted that the number of asylum seekers is overwhelming the local authorities and need to be provided with relief food.
The leaders from the two sub counties call for the intervention of humanitarian agencies and the Ministry of Health to vaccinate the refugees to avoid the spread of communicable diseases.
Boniface Kinyera, the Bwera Division Police Commander says that they are working with sister agencies and are alert to deal with any ADF rebels who might try to infiltrate the country under the guise of being refugees.
Kidweke Mbusa, a Ugandan with relatives in DRC says three of his maternal uncles arrived on Tuesday at his home but they were yet to establish where other relatives were after ADF attacked their village.
By the time of filing this story, the Kasese District security team led by the RDC Lt. Joe Walusimbi were visiting the area to assess the situation. Uganda is the biggest host country for Congolese refugees. By 2020, there were over 900,000 Congolese refugees in various African countries with over 40% being in Uganda.