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Wednesday,June 26,2019 04:29 AM

Congolese refugees charged for stay

By Ismael Kasooha

Added 17th February 2018 01:15 PM

Refugees allege that they are charged sh20,000 per head if they are to be allowed to settle in the community.

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Refugees allege that they are charged sh20,000 per head if they are to be allowed to settle in the community.

PIC: There are allegations that leaders in Kagadi are charging refugees from DR Congo money to be allowed to stay in Kitebere landing site (file picture)

CRIME


KAGADI - DR Congo refugees fleeing tribal clashes from their country are allegedly being charged so that they are allowed to stay in the community of Kitebere landing site on the shores of Lake Albert in Ndaiga sub-county Kagadi district.

It is estimated that over 600 Congolese, who have relatives in Kitebere landing site, have been integrated, while others are renting in the area.

Refugees allege that they are charged sh20,000 per head if they are to be allowed to settle in the community.

Some of the residents at Kitebere landing site told New Vision that when the refugees arrive at the landing site, they are screened and those without money are told to go to the refugee reception centre at Kagoma in Hoima district.

The refugees started arriving at Kitebere on February 8 and the numbers have been increasing daily.

Marshel Atanansi, one of the refugees in the area, said when they arrived at the landing site, the leaders asked them to pay money and those who failed to raise the money were told to go to the refugee reception centre in Hoima.

“These people should not deceive you that they are not charging refugees. Whoever arrives at the landing site is screened and asked to pay sh20,000 per head, before they are allowed to settle in the area,” Atanansi said.

Yusuf Wandera, a resident of Kitebere landing site, also confirmed that the refugees are charged to be allowed stay in the area.

Francis Guvoni, another resident condemned the act of extorting money from refugees, calling such behavior inhumane.

“Some refugees decided to drown themselves on Sunday, after they had been denied stay,” Guvoni said.

Livingstone Akugizibwe, the councillor Ndaiga sub-county said there are reports that one family was charged $400 dollars to be allowed to settle in the area, adding that if this continues, it would taint the image of the Ugandan Government, which is known to be hospitable to refugees.

However, local authorities have denied charging the refugees money in exchange for stay.

Leonard Onenchan, the general secretary Kitebere landing site village, denied the allegations, calling them untrue.

“Those are mere allegations. We have been spending sleepless nights receiving the refugees and they only gave us something for water,” said Onenchan.

He said it is true that an estimated 650 refugees were sent to the Hoima reception centre because they could not accommodate all of them.


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