Kenyan Refugees Return Home
New Vision (Kampala)
3 March 2008
KENYAN refugees at Mulanda transit centre in Tororo district have
begun going back home.
The deputy resident deputy district commissioner, Richard Gulume,
said at least 367 of the displaced at Mulanda had returned home in
the last few days.
He attributed the movement to the relative calm that has prevailed
in Kenya in recent weeks. The opposition and government signed a
power sharing deal on Thursday under the mediation of former UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan.
According to latest verification exercise conducted on February
28, 1,644 refugees are at Mulanda out of the 2,011 recorded
earlier in the week, added Gulume.
"They have been coming to my office to seek permission to go and
see their relatives back home.
"But whenever they leave, none comes back. It seems after reaching
home and seeing the situation is fine, they stay back."
The Kenyans began fleeing to Uganda in December last year
following a disputed election. The opposition Orange Democratic
Movement leader Raila Odinga accused incumbent Mwai Kibaki of
The resultant chaos left more than 1,000 killed and over 600,000
people displaced, according to the UN humanitarian chief John
Holmes. Most of those returning home, Gulume said, were living
along the border areas of Busia-Kenya and Malaba in Teso district,
"We are now encouraging more who want to go back to do so. Those
who feel the situation is still not secure are free to stay in the
However, an official of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees at Mulanda expressed skepticism over the political
stability in Kenya.
Kelvin Youlande said it was still too early to assume the conflict
"We have been allowing them to return home because this centre is
not a prison. Anybody who feels like going back does so at will,
but we do not facilitate their movement.
"We discourage them until the situation is formally declared safe."