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Refugees in West Nile abandon settlements for urban centers

Refugees in West Nile have resorted to settle in urban centers. File Photo

Arua, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Refugees in West Nile are abandoning their settlements in search of better social services in the urban centers according to a new report.

A case analysis report by the Norwegian Refugee Council indicates that nearly half of the refugees settled in Arua city, came for health reasons, while others migrated for education reasons among others.

The urban refugees are mostly settled in the areas of Oli, in Central division while others are settled in Ediofe and Oluko areas in Ayivu division, all in Arua city. Other towns in the region like Koboko and Yumbe equally have self-settled urban refugees with the majority being women and children.

Osman Ayike, a project officer at Norwegian Refugee Council notes that the situation of refugees relocating to urban areas is real and many are faced with numerous challenges. He however says the situation can be addressed if all the key stakeholders like the urban authorities join hands with other humanitarian actors.

Abdulatif Atiku Juma, the LC1 chairperson of Oli B cell, Tangayika ward in Arua central division says his cell alone hosts over 1,000 urban refugees mainly from South Sudan. He says the presence of the refugees has exerted a lot of strain on the already stressed health service delivery.

Muzaidi Khemis, the Mayor Arua Central Division explains that the presence of urban refugees in Arua city has become a source of insecurity, since many of them especially the youth have become disorderly. He says there is need for the refugee implementing partners to intervene to address the matter.

The most affected refugee settlements are Rhino camp in Madi Okollo district and Imvepi in Terego district, which have the highest number of registered refugees living in Arua city.

But Jena Toma, the deputy refugee desk officer in the Office of the Prime Minister Arua says that Uganda’s self-reliance policy allows refugees the right to work and freedom of movement within the country.

The current policy framework that governs refugee management does not recognize refugee settlement in secondary cities and other urban centers apart from Kampala Capital City.



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