By VOM News Team
Kisoro district experienced one of its most tumultuous times, this week after thousands of Congolese refugees burst the proverbial banks of Uganda – Democratic Republic of Congo borders via Bunagana border seeking asylum, after unknown militants decided to wage war against the sitting Government.
The insurgency that lasted a few days in the Eastern region of D.R.C, saw hundreds of families crossing into Uganda without warning, many of them carrying their most precious items, with little or no hope of returning home.
It’s been a full week now since the incident occurred and the debate rages on, as to whom is responsible. Since that time, several Congolese have returned home while others continue to enter Uganda, seeking refuge.
Nyakabande transit camp authorities say, up to 1,175 people were registered as of 13th November 2021, however the numbers were much higher than that earlier in the week.
Some humanitarian agencies at the camp, say the influx of refugees ranged between 10,000 to 40,000 refugees from Monday this week.
Camp authorities say, Kisoro district security and the Office of the LCV need to be commended for their quick response.
Voice of Muhabura has learnt that partners like World Food Program (WFP) organized food for up to 5000 people including Rice, Posho and Nutritious Biscuits.
Other partners, including United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Red Cross, CAFOMI and friends of Kisoro have been readily available to offer support to the refugees.
Unofficial sources at the camp says, the incident was unexpected and created strain on food supplies especially on the first day however, the situation improved gradually.
According to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), screening for Covid 19, Ebola and Malnutrition were set up at the transit camp to ensure refugees are ably managed.
“We have not done any relocations from the transit camp in Nyakabande to known settlement camps because Government is still planning for these eventualities however, we are ensuring that the refugees get the best available assistance while at Nyakabande transit camp”, OPM source said
Congolese refugees began crossing into Uganda via Bunagana on Sunday morning following confirmed gun fire between unknown rebel elements and D.R.C Government forces.
By Tuesday, the following week, refugees could be seen walking from Nyakabande Transit camp to Bunagana, some 15Kms with hopes of getting back home.
Kisoro Resident District Commissioner Peter Mugisha explained that security reports revealed that the rebel group had been repelled and it was safe for the Congolese to return home.
“We are closely monitoring activities across the border with DR Congo and we are confident that those who wise to return home and do so, but those who are not sure, can stay as long as they wish, Uganda offers a safe haven to all those who are politically unsafe”, Mugisha explained
Olive Twikiriize, a Restoring Family officer with the Red Cross at the Camp, says one child reported to the camp without any known relative however, thanks to the Free Phone service, the child was reconnected to some of the relatives here in Uganda.
Friends of Kisoro Speak out.
Executive director Betsy Miles says the situation with the Congolese refugees has been fluid because people keep coming in while others are leaving for home.
She notes that psychosocial support has been vital in assisting individuals and families who have been traumatized by the events in the DR Congo.
“We have been doing our best to offer emotional support to people who are struggling with loss. We are really not sure what happens in the next few days but we shall do our best to support the refugees”, Miles explained
Psychosocial support has been described as a software program that helps refugees through counselling.