Refugees Shun Transit Centre In Bundibugyo

At least over 45,000 people who fled their homes in the Democratic Republic of Congo have refused to move to the transit centre in Bundibugyo district and opted to stay with relatives instead.

Bubukwanga refugee transit centre is located about 10kilometres from the Uganda – DRC border. Last week humanitarian agencies started moving refugees from the border areas where they were staying in primary schools to Bubukwanga.

However, until now only 15,000 people have agreed to be moved with the rest preferring to stay with relatives from where they can always sneak back to the DRC to look after their gardens.

Congolese refugees in Bundibugyo
Congolese refugees in Bundibugyo

Speaking to local media, the Commissioner for Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Apollo David Kazungu, said it’s only people who agreed to move that were moved to Bubukwanga.

Kazungu says they were working to move them from Bubukwanga transit centre to Kyangwali refugee camp in Hoima district which has ample space.

The Commissioner, however, says they have not given up urging the refugees to move to Bubukwanga where it’s safer.

Kazungu says though people may feel obliged to go back home it’s not advisable for them to keep moving across the border.

The OPM and the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces are working closely to convince those families at the border to be moved away.

A statement from UN refugee agency—UNHCR—says the number of refugees living among the host community is very high.

There are currently 93 unaccompanied minors (UAMS) at the transit centre and another 25 have been reunified with their families.

This brings the cumulative total of UAMS to 118, including 89 males and 29 females. Another 33 separated children were registered by Save the Children, while 41 others were identified and reunited with family members.

Kazungu says a registration team is being dispatched by OPM Kampala to work on processing those refugees willing to relocate to Kyangwali by the end of this week or start of next week.

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