More than 1,000 Congolese nationals have fled recent attacks by the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), seeking refuge in Bundibugyo District.
The group, predominantly comprised of women and children, entered the district through Butoogho and is currently sheltered at Butoogho Primary School and Butoogho Sairi Church of Uganda.
Francis Ssenyondo, the Bundibugyo district refugee focal person, reported that cases of persons with disabilities, the elderly, and unaccompanied minors among the asylum seekers have been registered.
An emergency meeting was convened, leading to the resolution to conduct a preliminary registration of all asylum seekers. Subsequently, they will be transferred to the transit center in Bubukwanga, with Save the Children International tasked to care for vulnerable groups.
The area Resident District Commissioner, Lt. Col. Bright Alex stated that information from security counterparts revealed that suspected ADF rebels attacked communities in Kichnaga, Watalinga County, Benni District on Sunday night, resulting in the tragic death of over 16 people. The authorities are actively preparing to ensure the safety of asylum seekers, with the injured receiving medical attention.
Rose Bakaswara, one of the asylum seekers, recounted the harrowing attack by suspected ADF rebels on their village around 10:00 PM. She pleaded for support from Ugandan authorities, emphasizing that they had to leave behind most of their belongings.
The situation remains critical as authorities work to address the immediate needs of the displaced Congolese nationals and ensure their safety in the wake of the recent attacks by the ADF.