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By Godfrey Olukya     21-6-2013

A group of 16 Rwandan high school students who fled their country recently citing persecution, have refused to be relocated to refugee camps in Uganda claiming that authorities back home will send it’s operatives there to either arrest or kill them.

They include 14 boys and 2 girls. They have reportedly filed for refugee status in Uganda over alleged witch-hunt by their government.

They claim that taking them to refugee camps would be putting their lives at risk after alleged threats from Rwandan authorities through high commission in Uganda.

According to their spokesman, who preferred his name to be withheld for security reasons, they fell out with the Rwandan government after they complained about withholding their examinations results.

‘Our security in Rwanda became questionable after results of 574 students were withheld by the Rwanda Examinations Board (REB). When some of the students whose results had been withheld complained to authorities, police arrested and detained them for allegedly gathering illegally.’ their spokesman said.

On realizing that some of their colleagues had been detained, the 16 students fled to Uganda early this week and handed themselves to authorities.They claim that ever since they fled to Uganda they have been receiving phone calls from private numbers telling them that they are playing with fire.

The commissioner for refugees, David Apololo Kazungu said that when he told them about the intended transfer to a refugee camp, they protested saying that there security there would be threatened.

‘They have warned us that they shall get us if we are taken to any refugee camp. They can only take us to that place over our dead bodies.’ their spokesman said.

However, Rwanda’s ambassador to Uganda, Frank Mugambagye has denied allegations that his government is threatening the students or that it will hurt them if they are taken to refugee camps.

Mugambagye said,’ it is not true that we are threatening them. Those students are misguided and should go back to their home. They are making a big deal out of a simple examination fraud case.’

He said that his government is holding talks with that of Uganda so that the students are taken back to Rwanda.

In the past, when the relationship between the two countries was shaky, people claiming to be persecuted by their government fled to the other country and were usually welcomed. Currently, the relationship between the two countries is very cordial and none is comfortable with welcoming refugees from the other.

 

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