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OPM stuck with over 1500 Sudanese refugees in Adjumani

Mr.Jogo Titus, the Refugee Desk Officer for OPM in Pakele, Adjumani District addressing journalists in his office on Monday, December 04, 2023 (Photo/Amacha Goli)

Adjumani, (UG): The Office of the Prime Minister is stuck with over 1.500 Sudanese refugees who have been confined at Nyumanzi refugees’ reception centre since April 2023, following renewed armed conflict in the capital Khartoum and other neighbouring cities. escalated in June 2023

The Refugee Desk Officer (RDO) at Pakele office in Adjumani, Mr. Jogo Titus told DailyExpress that the Sudanese were at first treated as asylum seekers and were subjected to interviews 

“The number kept rising steadily and hit the 500 mark in September prompting the intervention of the inter-ministerial refugees’ illegibility committee which travelled to the Nyumanzi reception centre and interviewed all the 500 refugees and granted them refugee status aside from one,” Mr Jogo stated.

He says the refugee illegibility committee has been mandated with the powers of interviewing asylum and granting or denying them refugee status and that their action led to the upsurge of the number of refugees in Nyumanzi.

The refugees getting served beans and posho for lunch which they said is not on their menu in Sudan

The updated figure indicates the number of Sudanese refugees has risen to 1,500 by last Thursday, November 30, 2023.

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DailyExpress understands that the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hon.Hillary Onek using his ministerial powers has declared all the asylum seekers as refugees and gave instructions to have them settled in Adjumani and the district local government through some generous landlords offered land in Alere Parish, Pachara sub-county.

But the UN Refugee Agency could not avail funds for the infrastructure development like roads, health centres and classroom blocks and a decision has been taken to settle them in Bweyale where there is existing infrastructure, besides the place is semi-urban which will be ideal for the Sudanese refugees who are mainly from Khartoum and other neighbouring cities.

OPM with UNHCR had planned to start relocating the refugees on December 4, 2023, when the first convoy leaves Nyumanzi Reception Centre for Bweyale that is when they will experience a shy of relief.

DailyExpress’ Amacha Goli, the author of the story interreacting with some of the refugees at Nyumanzi Reception Centre on November 29, 2023

What are the challenges?

The long holding of the refugees at the Nyumanzi reception centre has attracted a lot of challenges as they are not comfortable with the Ugandan meals of beans and posho for Lunch and supper and porridge for breakfast which they call soup because they don’t have porridge in their menu back home they prefer rice and vegetables mainly okra.

Accommodation also poses a serious challenge as most of them are sheltered in a house-like hall where there is no privacy and men are complaining of being deprived of their conjugal rights due to overcrowding in a shelter as some of them sleep outside.

Mr Babiker Mohamed, an Assistant professor at Baberi University in Khartoum says they (the refugees) are stressed at Nyumanzi Reception Centre

The Sudanese refugees are growing nervous and tired of the daily confinement and are beginning to get suspicious if the current situation may not degenerate into an abuse of their fundamental rights as refugees since they are still healing from the trauma of having been forced to flee the violence in their motherland that has rendered them vulnerable as they houses and properties were lost in the conflict.

The South Sudanese refugees have also continued to flee to Uganda but the road map for settling them is clear because there is still available land in Adkjumani and Paalrinya in Obongi district.

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They have refused to run to Chad or the Central African Republic because those countries and also conflict-prone besides they have known about the hospitality of Uganda in hosting refugees internationally.

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