ZOMBO. There is looming humanitarian crisis in the West Nile district of Zombo following influx of Congolese refugees into Uganda.
The number, though not many at the moment, is expected to rise drastically according to statements by the refugees that many were still on their way and are likely to arrive any time.
The influx of the refugees is as a result of an upsurge in the bloody conflict between Lendu and Hema ethnic groups. The conflict between the two groups restarted in late 2017, sending over 5,000 refugees into the country, mainly in Western Uganda.
Ugandan security officials on Sunday evening registered more than 50 refugees at the border points of Padea in Jangokoro Sub County and Alangi market, majority of them women and children.
The refugees are temporarily being accommodated at Complementary Opportunity for Primary Education Center (COP), a Demonstration Primary School in Paidha Town Council as an emergency meeting is expected to take place on Monday to find solutions to the looming humanitarian crisis.
16-year-old Bahati Kyanga from Fataki in Njugu territory told westnileweb.com at Paidha Police station that he lost five family members in the fight but managed to walk a number of Kilometers to find his way into Uganda.
“There are many others following us on foot. For us we wanted to stay with our relatives but they said they cannot manage our big number”, Fataki, filled with grief and sorrow said.
The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) which is charged with coordination of care activities on behalf of the government and other humanitarian agencies were by press time on Monday, 12th February 2018 on their way to the district to find solutions on how to respond to the emergency.
West Nile region already has a South Sudanese refugee population of about 1 million.
When contacted, Mr Solomon Osaka, the Arua Refugee Desk Officer under Office of the Prime Minister, whose docket is responsible for refugees said: “I was told about the influx of Congolese refugees into Uganda and I’m currently on my way to Zombo to find more details about the situation.”
Mr Isaac Lulaba, the Zombo Resident District Commissioner appealed for urgent help for the asylum seekers saying “the registered people urgently need tents, water, and food among other assistance”
The fleeing Congolese have told Ugandan authorities that houses are being torched and people are being attacked with machetes and firearms.
The displaced Congolese nationals include the Hema, Bagegere, Kebu, Lendu and the Alur ethnic groups, security officials have said.
They are said to be fleeing from Tchoma, Kasenyi, Joo, Bulambira, Nyamwamba, Varamo in Ituri province of DRC.