Rwanda, Uganda, UNHCR to discuss repatriation

The government of Rwanda is sending a technical team to meet Uganda government and UNHCR officials over the ongoing refugees’ repatriation, The New Times has established.
Protais Musoni.
Protais Musoni.

The government of Rwanda is sending a technical team to meet Uganda government and UNHCR officials over the ongoing refugees’ repatriation, The New Times has established.

The team will be in Uganda on June 1, 2009 and will be led by Innocent Ngango, the Executive Secretary of National Council of Refugees.

The team will also include officials from the Emigration and Immigration department.

The tour comes at a time the Uganda Police is investigating claims by returnees that some local government officials are aiding the refugees to flee the camps to dodge repatriation.

According to reports in the local press, some 20 Rwandan refugees a day are fleeing camps in Uganda for localities further inland, fearing imminent repatriation, officials said.

Lyantonde, Mubende and Kiboga districts, and as far as Karagwe in northern Tanzania, have been cited as the areas where most of the fleeing refugees are heading for.

Nakivale, the biggest camp, is home to about 11,000 Rwandan refugees, most of who fled to Uganda after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

According to reports, some refugees were discouraging their counterparts from returning to Rwanda for fear of being prosecuted for Genocide-related crimes.

When contacted, Protais Musoni, the local government minister confirmed the development and added that the team will be there to meet Ugandan officials and speak to the refugees in the Nakivale, Urukinga and Cyaka camps respectively.

“We will meet again with our Uganda counter parts as usual but it will depend on the technical team report and our discussions will focus on repatriation progress,” Musoni said. 

Sources say the technical team will be Uganda’s visitors for the whole week before the ministers meeting that is scheduled to take place in Mbarara.

Uganda police spokesperson, Judith Nabakoba, said in a telephone interview that investigations into allegations that Ugandan government officials were aiding the refugees flee the camp are still continuing and she promised to give details.

“I will follow up for the details through the security officials at the district level and you should call after three hours,” Nabakooba said. However efforts to contact her later proved futile as she was reported to be in a meeting. 

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