Security intercepts Congolese refugees attempting to return home on their own

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Refugees fleeing fighting in DRC land at Sebagoro landing site in Kikuube District.

More than 100 Congolese refugees in Kikuube District have been intercepted trying to return to their home country on their own.

The head of the district security committee, Mr Richard Tabaro, says the refugees left Kyangwali refugee settlement on Friday night before being intercepted at Nsonga landing site in Kyangwali sub-county.

Mr Tabaro, who is also the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner, says the interception followed intelligence reports that the refugees were to travel by dangerous boats back to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) across Lake Albert.

They were returned to the settlement and handed over to the authorities.

Until now, Uganda’s COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed cross boarder movements unless authorised by the state.

In 2014, more than 100 Congolese refugees mainly from the Batalinga community perished when the over loaded boat they were traveling in capsized on Lake Albert.

They deceased had also decided to return home on their own claiming that life in the settlement was becoming harder.

Sources alleged that they had responded to the call by some of their cultural leaders who claimed the security situation had restored to normal and there was no need to remain as refugees.

International law on refugees

According to international laws and policies regarding asylum seekers and refugees, they are not expected to return home on their own unless the country of refuge had agreed with their home country government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) after assessing the security situation and livelihoods.

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