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First batch of 51 Afghan evacuess arrive in Uganda

A Marine with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) walks with the children during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 24, 2021. US service members are assisting the Department of State with an orderly drawdown of designated personnel in Afghanistan. PHOTO/AFP

ENTEBBE, UGANDA: The first batch of Afghan refugees have on Wednesday morning arrived at the Entebbe International Airport in Uganda following an August 15 Taliban takeover in Kabul.

The group of 51 evacuees arrived at the Entebbe airport at 6 am on Wednesday, August 25 aboard a privately chartered plane and were received by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and the US Ambassador to Uganda, Ms. Natalie E Brown whose official car was seen exiting Airport premises before buses carrying the refugees left Nas handling services at the facility.

“The evacuees who included men, women, and children underwent the necessary security screening as well as the mandatory Covid-19 testing and the required quarantine procedures,” the Ministry said in a statement released shortly after the Afghans arrival.

On August 17, Uganda accepted to temporarily host the refugees from the crisis-ridden nation on request from the Washington administration. More evacuees are expected in the East African nation.

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Following this announcement, a number of Ugandans have raised concerns over the matter but according to the government, it needs to keep up with its policy of welcoming people from all walks of life.

“The decision to those in need is informed by government of Uganda’s consistent policy of receiving refugees and persons in distress as well as playing a responsible roles in matters of international concern,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The US Embassy has also applauded Uganda for its generosity and hospitality towards refugees.

“The government of Uganda has once again demonstrated a willingness to play its part in matters of international concern. We commend its efforts and those of the local and international organisations in Uganda who are providing humanitarian support in partnership with government for the evacuees from Afghanistan,” the US Embassy in Kampala said in a statement.

Many of the country’s citizens started fleeing the country over two weeks ago and the BBC has recently reported that many of them are fleeing with just a suitcase.

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“But it’s not just the country they are leaving. They are leaving behind the life they lived, and for the young educated generation, the life they built up, the dreams they cherished over 20 years,” BBC reported.

Uganda is currently home to over 1.5 million refugees from mostly neighbouring countries including South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo who are running away from conflicts in their home countries.

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