Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it has received some 51 evacuees from Afghanistan days after the Taliban took over Kabul, the country’s capital city.
The 51, who are part of the 2, 000 refugees expected to arrive in Uganda for a temporary stay, landed at Entebbe International Airport aboard a private chartered flight on Wednesday morning, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry says the group is transiting through Uganda and will move on to the US and other countries.
It says that the evacuees, who include men, women and children, underwent mandatory Covid-19 testing and required quarantine procedures before jetting into the country, adding that more refugees are expected in Uganda in the coming days.
“The decision to host those in need is informed by our government’s consistent policy of receiving refugees and persons in distress and playing a responsible role in matters of international concern,” the foreign affairs ministry says.
It is not clear for how long they will be hosted in Uganda.
Earlier in August, Uganda’s Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees, Esther Anyakun, said President Yoweri Museveni directed her to make preparations to host 2,000 refugees from Afghanistan.
She explained that the order followed a request of the United States government.
“They have requested us to host 2,000 refugees. We are expecting them to be brought in shifts of 500. So, UNHCR secured Imperial hotels in Entebbe as a transit centre for them to, first of all, arrive and be screened,” she said.
After Taliban fighters stormed the capital, Kabul, and seized control of the presidential palace, thousands of Afghans are fleeing their homes and the fighters’ hard-line Islamist rule.
President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan, reportedly saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed, signalling the end of a 20-year conflict.