By Peter Sserugo
The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is set to relocate at least 399 refugees from Tororo-Malaba border to their former settlements in Uganda after the ongoing security screening exercise.
According to the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Eng Hilary Onek there are plans to relocate a group of onward movers (refugees) from Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya who returned to Uganda and currently camping at the Tororo Resident District Commissioner’s (RDC) office after being hit by harsh conditions in the Kenyan-based camp where they had sought better living conditions.
“Over 1,500 refugees were reported to have found their way into Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya where they had hoped to get better education, better livelihood, and other relief services,” Eng Onek said in a statement on Thursday.
“To the contrary; the refugees found the services in Kakuma refugee camp not any better than those offered in Uganda. As a result, the refugees requested to be assisted to return to Uganda, a request the Kenyan government declined, telling the refugees to come back on their own, the same way they went,” he added.
He further noted that on July 24, a team of officials from OPM and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR technical team was sent to Malaba to interface with the district security team and assess the numbers of the refugees before their resettlement.
“Upon their [OPM and UNHCR] report, buses shall be sent to Malaba to transport the refugees back to their settlements,” the statement read further.
Some of the stranded refugees who spoke to KFM at the beginning of this week said whereas they were starving and having no access to shelter and other basics, they were happy to have returned to Uganda and hopeful that they will live in better conditions compared to those in Kenya.