The State Minister of Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru has confirmed that Uganda is to receive refugees that have been sent away from Israel.
Addressing journalists at the media centre Friday morning, Ecweru revealed that the Ugandan government is to receive 500 refugees from Israel, finally acknowledging reports that have been in the public domain for some time now.
“The State of Israel working with other refugees’ managing organisations has requested Uganda to allow about 500 Eritreans and Sudanese refugees to relocate to Uganda. The Government and Ministry are positively considering the request. My work is to manage refugees that have accepted to relocate to a third party country. And Uganda accepted the 500 refugees from Israel and this is not a problem to Uganda,” he revealed.
“We already have millions of refugees in Uganda from Somalia, Ethiopia so the few from Israel won’t be a problem to Uganda as a third party country,” Ecweru added.
He however, denied claims that Uganda accepted to receive the refugees in exchange for money.
“The people saying on social media that countries give us money whenever we accept refugees to come in is false. In fact, we are the ones who spend on these refugees. We are slow but very sure on the issue of refugees that we host. To my knowledge, no refugees from Israel have come in yet. The ones coming are going to the settlement,” he added.
It ought to be remembered that at the peak of reports that Uganda was to receive refugees from Israel, the State Minister of Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem rubbished the reports as ‘fake news’.
“There is no written agreement or any form of agreement between the government of Uganda and Israeli government to accept refugees from Israel,” Oryem told Reuters at the time.
Any suggestion to the contrary was “fake news … absolute rubbish,” he added.
Meanwhile, at the time of confirming the agreement to allow in refugees from Israel, Ecweru revealed this week that refugees in the country were requesting for more land in addition to the 2.5 acres given to each refugee that arrives in Uganda, a request that was turned down.
He said that instead the land they are being given now will be reverted to the owners when the refugees get back to their home countries.