4 die, 16 injured in clash between South Sudan refugees, Ugandan locals

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-14 01:23:42|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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KAMPALA, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Four people were killed and 16 others injured following a clash between South Sudan refugees and the local community in Uganda's northwestern district of Adjumani, police said on Friday.

Out of the four dead, two were locals and the others refugees, according to a police statement.

Twelve people were injured, two seriously, in the clash that was sparked by rumors that a local resident was strangled by refugees.

"Teargas and live bullets were shot in the air" to disperse crowds and two locals were slightly injured by stray bullets, the statement said.

Calm has since been restored after a joint security sensitization meeting with the host community and the refugees, police said.

"Police investigations continue into the reported incidences and after getting enough evidence, the perpetrators of the related offenses will be arrested and prosecuted according to the law," the statement said.

Police said it has also dispelled a rumor that the refugees are trafficking in arms from South Sudan to come and fight the host community.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement that about 2,800 Ugandans fled the affected areas and found refuge at Dzaipi reception center, some 4 km south of Nyumanzi Refugee Settlement.

"While some Ugandans have reportedly returned home, UNHCR continues to provide emergency assistance and hot meals to all those who remain at the reception center," the statement said.

The reception center, which used to provide temporary shelter to new refugee arrivals from South Sudan, was closed in 2018.

"UNHCR and the Office of the Prime Minister continue to monitor the situation and are in regular communication with representatives of the refugee community and local leaders to advocate for peaceful coexistence between the refugees and their hosts," the statement said.

The refugee agency said law enforcement authorities are still monitoring the situation.

In June last year, two South Sudan refugees were killed in neighboring Arua district in a clash between two South Sudanese ethnic groups. That clash followed a heated argument among people watching broadcast of a World Cup soccer match.

South Sudan has been embroiled in years of conflict that has taken a devastating toll on the people, creating one of the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, according to relief agencies.

The UNHCR said more than 1 million South Sudan refugees have fled to neighboring Uganda since December 2013.