Gov't denies Israeli refugee-settlement claim
Publish Date: Feb 19, 2014
Gov't denies Israeli refugee-settlement claim
African asylum seekers, who entered Israel illegally via Egypt, stage a protest outside the Holot detention centre in Israels southern Negev Desert, on February 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO
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By John Masaba

Uganda has denied it is receiving refugees from Israel and resettling them in the country.

Haaretz, a newspaper in Israel, reported Wednesday that Israel has secretly started sending African asylum seekers to Uganda.

The refugees reportedly got to Israel by foot through Egypt by slipping through Israel’s porous border with Egypt.

Quoting a senior Israeli official, Haaretz reported that dozens of asylum seekers had already been transferred to an unknown place, believed to be Uganda.

However, Uganda has refuted the claims saying they are not true.

Internal Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Pamela Ankunda, said: “Uganda has no such arrangement with Israel. We are therefore not hosting any refugees from their country,” she said.

Efforts to reach officials in the Foreign affairs ministry were futile.

It is not the first time such allegation is coming up.  In August, allegations that Uganda and Israel had agreed on the settlement of tens of thousands of illegal migrants were denied by the Ugandan government.

Haaretz reported that Israel would finance the migrants’  flights to Uganda and their resettlement here, with each refugee receiving $1,500 (sh3.6m).
Haaretz had quoted Israeli Minister Gideon Saar as informing a parliamentary committee that a senior Israeli official had secured Kampala’s acceptance to the deal.

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