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UN envoy urges Uganda to mobilize AU on elimina-
tion of Democratic Republic of Congo rebels

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- The UN special envoy for the Great Lakes region has urged Uganda to mobilize the African Union (AU) and regional bodies in efforts to eliminate negative forces in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Said Djinnit, in a statement issued by Uganda’s ministry of foreign affairs, on Tuesday made the call while meeting Sam Kutesa, Uganda’s minister of foreign affairs.

Djinnit said the AU and regional bodies like the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the Southern African Development Community should come together and propose solutions to wipe out the Allied Democratic Force (ADF) rebels and also repatriate the M23 fighters.

Kutesa said Uganda will cooperate but also called on the UN to coordinate the process of implementing the agreed-on position of mobilizing other countries to come on board.

The two officials agreed that negative forces in the region should be wiped out by February next year.

The meeting comes after another planned meeting between Uganda and DRC on a proposed joint operation to fight the ADF rebels holed up in eastern DRC.

Brig. Richard Karemire, Uganda’s military spokesperson told Xinhua on Nov. 28 that the meeting was postponed to allow for more consultations.

ADF is a Ugandan rebel group causing mayhem in eastern DRC. The outfit in one of its recent deadly attacks killed eight UN peacekeepers and at least 12 DRC soldiers in North Kivu province.

The soldiers were killed during joint operations of the UN peacekeeping mission and DRC troops against the insurgents in Beni territory.

Several attacks by the ADF have forced thousands of Congolese to flee to neighboring Uganda.



UNHCR introduces new measures for refugee
management after flaws uncovered in Uganda

KAMPALA, (Xinhua) -- The United Nations (UN) refugee agency has issued new stringent measures after an audit uncovered flaws in the management of refugees in Uganda at the peak of fighting in neighboring South Sudan.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement issued here late Monday that there are new Standard Operating Procedures for the reception of refugees, their registration, protection, assistance and case management.

The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services audit report issued this week showed gaps and weaknesses in risk management in a number of areas during the period between July 2016 and December 2017.

The refugee agency said that a verification of the number of refugees in Uganda was recently completed, unveiling anomalies which are being addressed.

New UNHCR figures after the verification exercise show that Uganda hosts 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers, a drop from the 1.4 million refugees that were previously estimated in Uganda, mainly from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

According to a statement jointly issued by the UNHCR and the Ugandan government in October, an eight-month biometric verification exercise has registered 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda, instead of 1.4 million, and cleaned up cases of multiple registrations.

The statement attributed the drop in the number of refugees to death or the spontaneous return of refugees to their countries of origin, among others.

As the verification was completed, new food assistance collection procedures were rolled out by the UN World Food Program, UNHCR and the Ugandan government.

Uganda and the UNHCR requested the audit process in March this year following allegations that some senior government officials had mismanaged funds earmarked to support refugees and inflated the number of refugees in the country.



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