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Heavy rebel presence in Bundibugyo, but no siege

Humanitarian sources on Tuesday denied press reports that Bundibugyo, situated at the foot of Uganda’s Ruwenzori mountains on its border with DRC, is under siege. Although there is a heavy presence of rebels in the area, the sources said, the siege claims “are not true”.

“The rebels are everywhere, walking in small groups most of the time hiding in the bush, but this does not mean they have besieged the area,” MSF logistics coordinator Patrick Barbier told IRIN. He said that due to insecurity, since the rebels are killing anyone on sight, people are fleeing into Bundibugyo town.

“Populations are scared, they are traumatised and paranoid, they are fleeing from the remote and peripheral areas into the town where there are government security personnel and massive military presence,” he said.

The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has considerably increased to between 20,000-25,000 people in the town, with some 44,000 in the district. MSF is working to improve the water situation besides providing plastic sheetings, healthcare and other non-food items. It is also working with the authorities on possible relocation of the IDPs since the camp in Bundibugyo is overwhelmed.

“No one is working on the food situation which is not a life and death kind of situation. There is no obvious sign of malnutrition,” Barbier said.

Press reports attributed to Uganda’s independent ‘The Monitor” newspaper on Saturday had claimed that the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) had besieged Bundibugyo for four days with an unknown number of rebels threatening to take over the town.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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