The sprawling Nakivale Refugee Settlement in south-western Uganda is home to over 50,000 asylum-seekers and refugees. At one time it represented a testament to Uganda’s reputation as one of the most refugee-friendly countries in Africa.

But recent events at Nakivale and Kyaka camps threaten to erode this reputation. On July 14 Ugandan police, working in tandem with Rwandan authorities, used false information to round up and forcibly deport approximately 2,000 Rwandese refugees.

The operation, which was decried by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and human rights organizations, left two refugees dead and another 26 injured, when they attempted to leap from the trucks hauling them across the border to Rwanda.

On Wednesday morning an unusually large Ugandan police contingent flanked by Rwandese officers surrounded the two camps and lured refugees to the assembly points with false promises of food and information on appeals processes. Warning shots were fired when the refugees refused to co-operate with the police trying to load them onto Rwanda-bound trucks.

The 2,000 refugees are currently being held in transit centres on the Rwandan side of the border. The 26 injured remain in Uganda at health clinics around Nakivale. Continued here