AGONY: 28 Somali Refugees Petition Prime Minister Over Illegal Detention in Luzira

Somali refugees in Uganda

Some of the refugees explain their ordeal to the media in Kampala PHOTO/SMN (U)


KAMPALA, Uganda[ SHIFT MEDIA] When the Al Shabab militants attacked and left her crippled with a body riddled with bullets, Sirad Ahmed Nur knew escaping to Uganda would earn her some relief, peace, and comfort.

Perhaps she was wrong. Five years since she escaped death, Sirad has lived a life full of nightmare, as a refugee in Uganda. Her agony and 27 others were yet to get to their peak when they camped at the offices of  United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) seeking for medical assistance.

Somali refugees in Uganda
Sirad Ahmed Nur shows her crippled legs after she was attacked by Al Shabab militants in Mogadishu. She was among those jailed in Luzira for a month

Narrating the harrowing tale, Sirad Ahmed Nur and scores of others shaded tears as they retold what befell them on December 16 2022 at the UNHCR offices in Kololo.

Sirad, who walks with clutches said she still has 15 bullets lodged inside her body.

“We had like known refugees pitched camp at the UNHCR offices in Kololo to seek support for medical, feeding and other welfare,” said Sirad through an interpreter.

Little did they know they would celebrate the entire Christmas and New Year festive days behind bars in Luzira Prison.

Kalifa Mohammed the Chairman Somali Community (Uganda) addresses the media at the Lubiri Gardens in Kampala on Thursday

According to Mohammed Kalif, the  Chairman Somali Community (Uganda). the 28 Somali refugees along with some of their disabled children were arrested by KCCA officials, bungled into pickups, dragged to KCCA Court, and remanded to Luzira.

“What puzzles us is that these 28 refugees were jailed for over a month, and released from the KCC Court without any documents, what democracy is this surely? Don’t refugees have rights? mused Kalif. He said the vulnerable refugees were charged with trespass and making noise.

Somali refugees in Uganda
One of the refugees shows her burnt body

He said the 28 refugees, most of them women and children had their rights grossly abused. “It is sad that UNHCR and some of its partner agencies are so corrupt, inhumane, and discriminatory, said Kalif.

Like the Israelites, the 28 refugees camped at the UNHCR offices day and night, under the scorching sun and heavy rains, and colds for 40 days.

Addressing the media at the Lubiri Gardens on Thursday, the tearful mothers, carrying wailing and malnourished disabled children said they opted to approach the offices of the UNHCR in Kololo after they were frustrated by some corrupt and unscrupulous officials from the Office of the Prime Minister and UNHCR.

Fadumo Farah Abdi said the way they were arrested was so inhumane. “The disabled children were bungled into the KCCA trucks like piles of garbage, while the frail women were thrown and piled like cement bags,” she explained.

Our efforts to get a response from KCCA and UNHCR hit a dead end as none of the publicists we called picked up our calls, nor responded to our messages.

Somali refugees in Uganda
Some of the refugees explain their ordeal to the media in Kampala

Kalif said the Somali Community in Uganda had filed a petition to Rt. Hon Prime Minister Robinah Nabanjja demanding an independent investigation into the arrests torture and harassment of the 28 refugees.

“We are asking the Ugandan Government to conduct an independent investigation regarding some UNHCR officials who are trampling on the rights of refugees,” said Kalif. He said the ‘bad apples will kill the good reputation of the country that has received accolades for being the best refuge-hosting country in the world.

The refugees also demanded that those women and children who were tortured, molested, and harassed while in prison be compensated and a public apology be given.

OPM Reacts

A senior official from the Office of the Prime Minister who declined to be named said they had received the petition and asked police to investigate.

“Yes, it is true the Rt. Hon Prime Minister received a complaint regarding abusing the rights of refugees. We, as  government, especially the docket that handles refugees, we don’t take such allegations lightly. Police has been notified and are handling the investigations,” said the official.

Those Jailed

1.Abdirashid Omar Hassan                      12. Amran Mohamed Omar

2.Badran Hasan Mohammed                   13. Salado Ali Atidoon

3. Fadumo Farah Abdi                                14. Fardowso Mohamed Ahmed        23. Ramla Mohamed Adan

4. Hamdi Abdirahama Ali                          15. Maryan Yusuf Ahamed                   24. Ubah Omar Mohamed

5. Ubah Salad Hirsi                                      16. Taliso Osman Abdi                         25.Nimco Mahad Salad

6. Safiyo Adan Jimcale                                17. Sadia Abdirahman Mohamud      26. Sirad Ahmed Osman

7. Khadijo Muhamud Roble                       18. Habiibi Hanshi Jame                     27. Zamiiro Haamd Osman

8. Nasib Ali Ahmed                                       19. Qasim Mahdi Amin                       28. Asho Abdi Abdule

9. Nastcho Said Gedi                                     20. Amal Abdishakur Ali

10. Maryam Ahmed Mohamed                   21. Hodan Ibrahim Siyad

11.Salmo Osman Muse                                 22. Amal Mohamud Osman




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