Uganda offers asylum to 500 Israel deportees

About 500 African immigrants in Israel are to be deported to Uganda as part of the Middle East country’s plan to rid its territory of illegal immigrants.

The state Minister for Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala on Friday that government had approved the entry and resettlement of 500 Sudanese and Eritreans.

“I want to make it abundantly clear that the government and my Ministry are positively considering this request” said Echweru.

In March this year, Israel announced that it was planning to relocate 38,000 Sudanese and Eritrean migrants who entered Israel illegally. Each of the migrants had an option of accepting $3,500 (Shs 136.8m) to relocate to a third country.

While Israel did not name the third world countries that the migrants were to be sent to, it was high rumoured that the unwanted migrants in Israel were destined to Rwanda and Uganda.

Both Uganda and Rwanda denied that they had clinched an agreement with Israel to absorb migrants deported from the Jewish state only for Ecweru to turn up barely three weeks after the State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem, said that, “if any migrants deported from Israel arrive here, we will insist that the airlines return them to the country where they came from because Uganda does not have any arrangement, formal or informal to have Israel deportees into Uganda.”

Ecweru however said that the first batch of the Israel deportees is expected any time soon.

Uganda currently is home to over 1.4 million refugees mainly from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Somalia and Eritrea.

Ecweru boasted that, “Uganda is a very hospitable country and is willing to take them in. As government, this won’t be new or a problem.”

 He denied that the Israeli government paid the Ugandan government to accept the deportees.