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Monday, January 14, 2008

Kenyan refugees escape poisoning in Uganda

The Ugandan Government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) plan to relocate hundreds of Kenyan refugees to a new inland transit centre at Mulanda in Tororo district. The relocation follows reports of attempted poisoning of the refugees camped at the Malaba border post.

Tororo resident district commissioner Samuel Mpimbaza Hashaka disclosed last week that "wrong elements sneaked" into the refugee camp and into the kitchen and poisoned the food that was being prepared for the refugees. “We were lucky that we detected the poisoning before the food was served. Otherwise, it would have been a big embarrassment to the Ugandan community." He said his office continues to receive threats from people in Kenya, who claim that they plan to cross to Uganda to massacre the refugees.

Kenyans have been fleeing to Uganda in the past weeks following the post-election violence, which has left about 700 dead and thousands displaced. The disaster preparedness minister, Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, in a statement issued on Friday, said refugees have been reported in the districts of Busia, Tororo, Manafwa, Kapchorwa, Bukwo, Bududa and Nakapiripirit. Kabwegyere said by Wednesday last week, 6,130 Kenyan refugees had been registered in Uganda.

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