ZOMBO. The minster for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees Mr Hillary Onek has directed for the immediate relocation of the refugees being hosted at Zombo district farm institute to Imvepi refugee settlement camp in Terego district.

In his letter dated 28th July 2020 and addressed to Country representative UNHCR, the minister noted that following the opening of the boarder by his excellency the president, only 3054 asylum seekers were received at the Zeu farm institute where they have completed the mandatory quarantine period of 14 days in regard to covid-19 prevention measures.

“Discussions have been held with your office, district local government and Alur kingdom in regard to the question of their settlement and the last visit to the institute established that out of 3054 asylum seekers, only 1410 are remaining at the canter while others have returned to Democratic republic of Congo or vanished into the community”, the letter reads in part.

He specified that this situation pauses a big challenge since the persons of concerns cannot be effectively accounted for and it is of a security concern to government and more so it is not viable to establish a cost effective settlement for the small number of refugees in the area and the land identified by the kingdom of Alur is very close to the boarder (17.5km) which pauses a threat to the country of asylum as well as the refugees.

He added that the refugee management is a central government function in accordance with article 189(5) of the constitution, as such this responsibility cannot be relegated to the district and the kingdom and therefore the office of the prime minister will continue to play a lead role in the refugee management response in Zombo and the whole country.

Mr Vincent Ochaya Orach, the prime minster Alur kingdom said they cannot refuse government position because they manage refugees in the country. He said their only dilemma is what will happen to their cultural values when they are relocated in new environment with different culture.

“We are not saying no but we are worried about loss of cultural identity and also so many preparations have been going on up to yesterday so what happens to those? He asked.

Meanwhile Mr Michael James Anewa, the chairman Alur kingdom refugee task force said what is left is for the king to speak to the president as he alluded during the last meeting with UNHCR and OPM on 15th July 2020.