By Rodney Muhumuza & E K Benj updated 11:50 GMT on Wednesday 25th Aug 2021
KAMPALA, — Uganda’s government said that 51 people evacuated from Afghanistan arrived Wednesday in the East African country at the request of the United States.
Authorities said in a statement that the group, transported to Uganda on a chartered flight, arrived early Wednesday. The statement said they included men, women and children. No further details were immediately given on the evacuees’ identities.
Ugandan officials said last week that the country would shelter up to 2,000 people fleeing the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. They said the Afghans would be brought to Uganda in small groups in a temporary arrangement before they are relocated elsewhere.
“The decision to host those in need is informed by the government of Uganda’s consistent policy of receiving refugees and persons in distress as well as playing a responsible role in matters of international concern,” the statement said.
Uganda hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world — nearly 1.5 million according to the United Nations, mainly from neighbouring South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Most live in large refugee settlements in the sparsely populated north of the country but around 81,000 urban refugees live in the capital Kampala.
Uganda has long been an ally of the U.S., especially on security matters in the region.
But some activists and opponents of President Yoweri Museveni, who was reelected in January, say the arrangement with the U.S. is problematic yet supporters say Museveni scores the global face on the arrangements.