A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kampala reads in part:
“Uganda and the United States enjoy long-standing and bilateral relations which are historic in nature and continue to pursue common interests for the mutual benefit of both countries. The decision to host those in need is informed by the Government of Uganda’s responsibility in matters of international concern.”
Complementing the gesture of the Uganda Government, the US Embassy in Uganda tweeted: “The Ugandan people have a long tradition of welcoming refugees and other communities in need. As the largest bilateral supporter of refugees in Uganda and their Ugandan host communities, the United States expresses its appreciation to the Ugandan people. The Government of Uganda has once again demonstrated a willingness to play its part in matters of international concern. We commend its efforts and those of the local and international organizations in Uganda …”
The evacuees, who include men, women, and children, underwent the necessary security screening as well as the mandatory COVID-19 testing and the required quarantine procedures.
Ugandan evacuees who were scheduled to travel on the flight were unable to make it due to challenges of accessing the airport in Kabul.
Prior to their arrival, Uganda Minister of Foreign Affairs Gen. Jeje Odongo when asked who is going to pay for their upkeep in a televised interview with Larry Madowoon, CNN, had this to say, “We know the suffering of refugees, and as a nation in a community of nations, we have a responsibility to the international community, and our indications and discussion so far show that America will take responsibility.”
Hotels in Entebbe are anticipating for a windfall from bookings since occupancy levels dipped following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Carol Natkunda, proprietor of Askay Hotel Entebbe, expressed optimism that her hotel shall receive these special guests assuring eTurboNews that they have always put all the necessary Standard Operational Procedures in place since the start of the pandemic.
Uganda has transformed from being a source to being host to the largest number of refugees in Africa – up to 1.5 million – mainly from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, and Somalia.
In the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa in 1989, the Uganda Government provided a base for South African exiles who set up a base to house freedom fighters (Umkonto we Sizwe) of the African National Congress (ANC). Fourteen of the combatants remain interred at the present-day Oliver Reginald Tambo ANC Leadership school, Kaweweta.
As far back as World War II when the German Blitzkrieg occupied most of Europe, 7,000 Polish – mostly women and child refugees – were forced to seek refuge in Nyabyeya in the Masindi District and Koja (Mpunge) in Mukono District in the then British Protectorate of Uganda.