By Aminah Nabuule
The first batch of refugees from Afghanistan has today, Wednesday morning arrived in Uganda where they will stay temporarily.
The group of 51 evacuees that came aboard a privately chartered flight landed at Entebbe International Airport at 6 am was received by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and their counterparts from the US Embassy in Uganda.
“The evacuees who included men, women, and children underwent the necessary security screening as well as the mandatory Covid-19 testing and the required quarantine procedures,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Government reiterated their long standing cordial relations with the US that was described as “historic in nature” as both countries continue to “pursue common interests” for the mutual benefit of both countries.
Following the announcement of the decision to host the Afghan refugees, a number of Ugandans have raised concerns over the matter but according to the government, it needs to keep up with its policy of welcoming people from all walks of life.
“The decision to those in need is informed by government of Uganda’s consistent policy of receiving refugees and persons in distress as well as playing a responsible roles in matters of international concern,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The US Embassy has also applauded Uganda for its generosity and hospitality towards refugees.
“The government of Uganda has once again demonstrated a willingness to play its part in matters of international concern. We commend its efforts and those of the local and international organisations in Uganda who are providing humanitarian support in partnership with government for the evacuees from Afghanistan,” the US Embassy in Kampala said in a statement.
Many of the country’s citizens started fleeing the country over two weeks ago and the BBC has recently reported that many of them are fleeing with just a suitcase.
“But it’s not just the country they are leaving. They are leaving behind the life they lived, and for the young educated generation, the life they built up, the dreams they cherished over 20 years,” BBC reported.
Uganda is currently home to over 1.5 million refugees from mostly neighboring countries including South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo who are running away from conflicts in their home countries.
Government recently said that after a call from officials from the US government, President Museveni welcomed the move to host temporarily over 2000 Afghan refugees who were fleeing their country.