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Uganda: first phase of movement of Sudanese

Briefing notes

Uganda: first phase of movement of Sudanese

10 September 2002

UNHCR began Thursday the first phase of an operation to move to a safer location some 24,000 Sudanese refugees who fled a brutal rebel attack on Achol-Pii refugee camp in northern Uganda on August 5. Two 27-truck convoys, organised jointly by Ugandan authorities and UNHCR on Sept. 5 and 8, transported 3,017 refugees from a temporary transit facility in Kiryandongo refugee camp which sheltered survivors of the August attack by the Lord's Resistance Army. Kiryandongo is in Masindi district, western Uganda.

The refugees were taken to new sites in the existing Kyangwali refugee camp, close to Lake Albert, more than 200 km to the south-east. Another 5,000 former Achol-Pii refugees in Kiryandongo are also to be transferred to Kyangwali where there are already nearly 7,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Rwanda and Kenya. With convoys scheduled to leave Kiryandongo twice a week, UNHCR expects to complete transfers to Kyangwali before the end of next week. This will bring the total number of former Achol-Pii refugees in Kyangwali to 8,000

Ugandan authorities are expected to distribute nearly 340 plots of land to the first group of refugees to arrive in Kyangwali. Each family is to receive a 0.6 hectare plot. Authorities will also provide food ration cards to the new arrivals after registration in the camp.

Meanwhile, an assessment mission comprising UNHCR/WFP and Uganda government officials travelled to Arua district on Sept. 8 to look at sites proposed by the government for the settlement of more than 14,000 former Achol-Pii refugees temporarily settled in Kiryandongo. As there is no room for further expansion in Kyangwali, the government is proposing sites in Madi Okollo, Arua District. Both are undeveloped sites and would require the installation of basic infrastructure, including reception centres, health, water and sanitation facilities as well as schools and other social amenities.

On Sunday (Sept. 8th), during a meeting in Kiryandongo with former Achol-Pii refugees, UNHCR and local authorities discussed plans for the settlement of refugees who are not transferring to Kyangwali. Refugees raised concerns about security in the northern districts. UNHCR has discussed with the government some of the agency's concerns about the proposed sites in the north. Further consultations will be held with the government upon the return of the assessment team which is expected back in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, at the end of the week.