By Byamukama Libino
A delegation of 13 top Army officers from the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Member States have reportedly appreciated a recent operation to chase away refugees from border areas of Uganda with the DRC.
Security in Kisoro on Friday morning forced over 13200 refugees out of Bunagana town, Kibaya land, Rukundo town council, Nyarubuye and Busanza, areas they illegally occupied. 8,639 of these went back to their home country through Busanza border while 4,560 accepted to be driven to Nyakabande refugee holding centre.
According to the Kisoro resident district commissioner (RDC), Hajji Shafique Ssekandi, the operation raised concern from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region member states due to rumours that refugees were mishandled by Ugandan security.
While visiting areas of Bunagana, Busanza border post and Nyakabande refugee holding centre yesterday, these officers refused to comment about their visit to Uganda citing that it is illegal.
However, RDC Hajji Ssekandi said that the delegation has appreciated the efforts put in by security in Kisoro to remove refugees from the border because it is within the international law for refugees to stay 50 kilometers away from the border.
Ssekandi added that over 20,000 refugees have been illegally staying in Uganda which cause some insecurities, environmental degradation, land grabbing among others. He said that the operation took 3 days and security is organising another one soon.
He also said that over 1500 tents that had been set up in Bunagana and Kibaya by refugees have been vandalised while the refugees that tried to stone police will be produced before court on today 6th September.
He warned locals who are renting houses to asylum seekers.