Refugees, host community fight in Uganda

Saturday December 14 2019

A refugee from the DR Congo poses during an interview at Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Kyangwali, western Uganda

A refugee from the DR Congo poses during an interview at Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Kyangwali, western Uganda, on December 10, 2018. PHOTO | ISAAC KASAMANI | AFP 

JONATHAN KAMOGA
By JONATHAN KAMOGA
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One person has died, 12 others were left injured and 600 were displaced after violent clashes between South Sudan refugees and the host community erupted on Wednesday in Dzaipi sub country in the West Nile district of Adjumani in Uganda.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement it was closely monitoring the situation while the Office of the Prime Minister indicated security officials were on the alert as engagement with local leaders was also being undertaken to ensure the situation does not escalate.

The EastAfrican understands that fighting erupted in Nyumanzi refugee settlement after a mysterious death of a national the night before, the cause of which locals blamed on the refugees.

However, Josephine Angucia the West Nile police spokesperson said that according to the post mortem report, the deceased had died of heart failure.

Locals armed with bows and arrows on Wednesday launched what seemed to be a revenge attack on refugees in the area with the ensuing chaos injuring six who were rushed to Adjumani hospital for treatment.

Rumour spread in the camp Thursday morning that one of the critically injured, who was a refuge, had died in hospital prompting refugees to take up weapons and descended on the host community.

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According to the Adjumani Resident District Commissioner Taban Data Peter, the area’s security head, one person from the host community was killed in the Thursday attack and several houses burnt and businesses looted on both sides.

He added that security forces were still searching within the nearby bushes for any injured or dead.

A major road leading out of the district was blocked for several hours by angry youth from the host community, demanding that the refugees should leave their land.

Police and military was deployed to quell the chaos firing live bullets into the crowd which hit and injured three people.

“The situation is now calming down. I have met the cultural chiefs and argued them to calm down their communities so that they do not take the law in their hands,” Mr Taban told The EastAfrican.

Over 680 people from the host community ,mostly women and children, have been displaced from their homes because of the skirmishes and are currently seeking refuge in nearby schools and government buildings.

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