Ugandan officials ‘created fake refugees’

Four Ugandan government officials have been suspended amid allegations of inflating refugee figures.

According to the Guardian, the country’s commissioner for refugees Apollo Kazungu and three of his senior staff are being investigated for alleged collusion with the United Nations (UN) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The Ugandan Daily Monitor, which first reported the allegations, says the issue was first raised by the UN country representative Rosa Malango.

The newspaper says she raised three issues, including “doubtful” numbers of refugees, the trafficking of women and children, and fraud.

One spot check found just 7,000 people when there were reported to be 26,000 needing aid – leading to questions about where the money and resources for the missing 19,000 were going.

Uganda is said to be hosting around 1.4 million refugees within its borders, coming from conflict ravaged countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Last year, it was reported to have seen the highest rise in new arrivals anywhere in the world.

But these allegations will cast a shadow over those figures.

As a result of the accusations, the United States, European Union and UK are all threatening to withhold funding to the country, the Guardian says.

Musa Ecweru, state minister for relief and disaster preparedness, assured the Guardian measures would be taken to prevent any fraud in future, suggesting biometric registration for all refugees entering the country.

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