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Uganda Resumes Voluntary Repatriation of Burundian Refugees

Since December, the UNHCR tripartite Commission on the Voluntary Repatriation of Burundi Refugees in Uganda has returned 1,200 Burundian refugees home.



Uganda has resumed the repatriation of Burundian refugees from several settlements across the country. The exercise had been put on hold following logistical challenges between the two countries and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Unlike the first batch repatriated in December using chartered Uganda Airlines flights, the refugees will return home by road due to limited resources.

Since December, the UNHCR tripartite Commission on the Voluntary Repatriation of Burundi Refugees in Uganda has returned 1,200 Burundian refugees home.
Similarly, over 600 Burundians who fled political violence to Tanzania were safely returned in 2019.

Uganda’s Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees Hillary Onek said the number is part of a total of 45,000 Burundian refugees who have been living in the Uganda for over 10 years set to be repatriated.

“Burundi told us that they are now peaceful and that their people should go back. We started repatriating them by plane but they are currently moving by road through Rwanda to Burundi,” Mr Onek said.

Uganda currently hosts over 1.4 million refugees from different countries in East Africa including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.

Onek also said although a tripartite agreement for the repatriation of South Sudanese refuges from Uganda has not been reached by the parties involved pending several security risk assessments, Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister has continued to record individual and small groups crossings of South Sudan refugees from settlements in the West Nile region mainly through porous border points. It is mostly men and teenage boys crossing over to do surveillance of their former areas of residence and determine if it is safe to return. Relative peace returned to South Sudan in February last year after years of fighting.

However, many are forced to return home in spite of security concerns. Citing funding declines impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the World Food Programme, announced that it would further reduce monthly relief cash and food rations for 1.26 million refugees in Uganda to 60 percent of a full ration.

These prevailing conditions in the communities over the past year brought about by reductions in food rations and other supplies have compelled many to return to their country to restart life.

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Buhari to be Vaccinated on Live TV Saturday – Mamora



Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari will receive the COVID-19 vaccine at his Aso Villa residence and that will be shown live on television.

Mamora made this disclosure while he appeared as a guest on News Central’s signature news show, Village Square Africa.

Among other things, he remarked that the strategic leadership of the country will be vaccinated, in order to reinstate the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines to Nigerians.

Nigeria, through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency has put mechanisms in place to ensure that the vaccines are not found in stores where they’ll be sold to Nigerians.

Several agencies, including the Department of State Services (DSS) will be involved in ensuring the accountability of the vaccines.

Mamora pointed out that vaccination will begin on Friday, beginning with frontline health workers in hospitals where the disease is being battled.

Before vaccination commences, the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) will run an analysis on the vaccines in line with the dossier earlier provided, the Minister noted.

Other leaders in the country will receive their shots on Monday at the National Hospital while other Nigerians will have to be registered in order to get vaccinated.

People with comorbidities will be prioritised, alongside individuals who are older than 50 years.

Internationally recognised bar codes will be created for registered people who take the shots.

South African Strain and AstraZeneca

Mamora said the B.1.351 strain which has been found to be highly infectious has not been discovered in Nigeria, revealing that vaccination will go on with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which regrettably lacks potency against that strain.

Nigeria received almost 4million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday through the COVAX facility, joining Ghana and Ivory Coast as the only three countries to have received the vaccines through the facility so far.

By getting vaccinated on live TV, President Buhari will join Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa as leaders who have encouraged the citizens by being exemplary.

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West Africa News

Attack on Hospital, Aid Group in Borno, Northeast Nigeria to Affect 100,000 People – UN



The United Nations has said no fewer than 100,000 people, who rely on humanitarian assistance, will be affected after a terrorist group attacked civilians and several aid facilities in Borno, Northeast Nigeria.

Edward Kallon, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, in a statement on Tuesday, expressed outrage that a hospital and the premises of several aid agencies had been set on fire or otherwise damaged.

The statement read, “I am gravely preoccupied by reports of an ongoing violent attack by non-state armed groups in Dikwa, Borno, during which several aid facilities were directly targeted.

“The attack started last night and information is still coming through. I am outraged to hear the premises of several aid agencies and a hospital were reportedly set ablaze.

“I strongly condemn the attack and I am deeply concerned about the safety and security of civilians in Dikwa, including internally displaced people inside and outside the camps.

“This attack will affect the support provided to nearly 100,000 people who are desperately in need of humanitarian assistance and protection,” he said.

Kallon stressed that civilians and their residence as well as facilities of aid workers should never be a target but must be respected and protected at all times.

He called on all armed parties to immediately stop the violence and respect international humanitarian law and human rights law.

Meanwhile, the Head of Mission, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Franz Celestin, also condemned the attack in Dikwa.

Celestin said in a statement on Tuesday that the attack negated the priority that should be accorded to the safety of those who were striving to rebuild their lives.

“The safety of displaced people and those trying to rebuild their lives after years of conflict must be the top priority in North-East Nigeria.

“Following the latest attack on Dikwa, IOM joins the call on all armed parties to stop the violence and ensure the protection of civilians,” he said.

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Insecurity: Buhari Bans Mining In Zamfara



Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has banned mining activities in Zamfara State, northwest Nigeria as he seeks to curb the rising spate of kidnapping and banditry in the state.

Buhari made the decision in a National Security Coucil meeting today in Abuja, the Nigerian capital also declared Zamfara State as a no-fly zone.

National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) announced the decision while addressing correspondents after the meeting.

Monguno said every non-state actor playing a part in the insecurity in the state has been placed under surveillance with the defence and intelligence units charged to step up the ante and provide valuable information.

The security chiefs were also tasked with rescuing Nigeria from the clutches of bandits, who have domiciled in various states in Northwestern Nigeria and are advancing towards the south.

Earlier on Tuesday, 279 of the 317 abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Talata-Marafa, Zamfara State were released after four days in captivity.

Insecurity has risen in Northwest Nigeria with strong links placed with increasing mining activities in the region, as Zamfara has some of the finest gold in Nigeria.

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