By Our Reporter
ENTEBBE, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA] Another batch of 29 Ugandan evacuees who were stuck in war-torn Sudan returned back home on Friday.
The evacuees including a youth with three bullets lodged in his body arrived aboard a Ugandan Airlines bombardier from Juba, in South Sudan.
They were accompanied by Head of Chancery at the Ugandan Embassy in Khartoum, Dickson Ogwang.
Uganda’s ambassador to Khartoum H.E Dr Hajji Rashid Yahya Ssemuddu who received the returnees expressed his gratitude to His Excellency President Museveni for supervising the safe return of the 29 Ugandans.
“Initially when the war broke out in Khartoum we registered only 300 Ugandans, of which only five are still remaining in Khartoum, mainly heart patients under-going treatment,” said Ssemuddu.
He said most Ugandans thought the war would not last for long, but as the situation got tense, they decided to return back home.
“I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to H.E President Museveni, despite him being incarcerated due to COVID 19, in the past week, he has been personally supervising the entire evacuation of the Ugandans from Khartoum,” he explained. He said the efforts of Uganda’s ambassador to Juba Ambassador Barya, that of Director General of External Security Organization (ESO) Amb. Joseph Ocwet, SFC, and the Uganda’s embassy in Sudan officials cannot be gone unnoticed. He also thanked Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the International Organisation of Immigrations (IOM).
“None of these people paid a single a coin, all their flights from Khartoum, through South Sudan in Juba, to Entebbe were fully catered by the Ugandan government,” said Amb Ssemuddu. Hajji Ssemuddu noted that there are about 58 Ugandans still held in Sudan, majority outside Khartoum. “But we are doing our best to ensure that all Ugandans still held in Sudan return home safely,” he said.
Uganda’s Head of Chancery in Khartoum, Dickson Ogwang said among those returned is an injured Ugandan (names-withheld) who was shot and has three bullets still in his body.
“With support from our President, the Uganda’s ambassador to Sudan, Uganda’s ambassador to Juba, the UPDF, especially the Special Forces Command (SFC) we managed to get swift medical response while in Juba and immediately we landed in Entebbe airport,” said Dickson.
He said the SFC was handy in ensuring that an ambulance is present at the tarmac to take the injured for further treatment and diagnosis.
“Only two Ugandans were injured in the war in Khartoum, one is still in Khartoum, something that is still puzzles us, and this one who has returned back today,” said Ogwang.
He said that government had also secured means of transport to take the returnees from Entebbe International airport to Kampala.
Most of the returnees told us they had been working in Khartoum for less than a year. Majority were hailing from West Nile, in the districts of Nebbi, Arua, Zombo, Paidha, and Maracha.
Patrick Wanencan, who hails from Zombo said he was making bricks in Khartoum when the war broke. “I had only worked for six months, when the fighting started,” he said.
H.E Dickson Ogwang said some of the Ugandans stuck in Sudan didn’t have passports but were issued with temporary travel documents after scrutiny.
“In some cases, I had to consult with their Local Council Chairpersons to confirm if indeed they were Ugandans, and were known to them,” he explained.