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Uganda, Myanmar hold talks rescue Ugandans captured by rebel groups

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The government of Uganda is holding talks with the government of Myanmar to rescue 30 Ugandans held by the rebel groups.

The revelation was made by the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, John Mulimba.

The 30 are part of the 400 Ugandan nationals held hostage in Myanmar by rebel groups, and others were denied exiting Cairo, Egypt, and India over failure to pay immigration fines.

After receiving social media reports in December 2023 about Ugandans held in Myanmar, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja convened an inter-agency meeting on December 9, 2023 and discussed avenues of how to secure their release.

She confirmed that over 290 Ugandans are stranded in India, Egypt, and Myanmar after being trafficked out of the country, and there are fears that some of the victims have been recruited into rebel activities.

He said the government does not have the financial capacity to repatriate Ugandans who are stranded in Egypt and India, which means they should find their way home.

“I wish to emphasize that our diplomatic missions are unable to provide financial support to Ugandans abroad who find themselves in serious difficulties, but they exert all efforts to locate and provide consular assistance,” he said.

The minister said the Egyptian government, in September 2023, directed that all foreigners who were staying illegally must regularise their stay by December 2023 or else leave the country. A three-month grace period that expires on March 15, 2024, was granted.

He said they must secure an Egyptian host and pay Shs3.5 million as administrative fees to regularise their stay, or they will be jailed and fined between Shs60 million and Shs120 million.

Mulimba noted that it is imperative that in the next Financial Year Budget 2024/2025, Parliament appropriate adequate funds for supporting the consular protection of its citizens abroad.

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