Kenya + 1 more

Kenya-Uganda: Former Ugandan rebels register for amnesty

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NAIROBI, 28 January (IRIN) - A total of 358 Ugandans based in Kenya have registered with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to take advantage of an amnesty offered by the Ugandan government to former rebels.
By Monday evening, a total of 127 males, 110 females and 121 dependents (aged under 18) had signed up with the IOM in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, for screening and repatriation, Charles Kwenin, a Regional Project Development Officer with IOM, told IRIN.

The women who had registered were either former combatants, wives of combatants, or had been used to perform household chores, he said.

The programme - funded by the US government and the European Union - is aimed at helping former rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army, but could also incorporate people from other rebel factions, he said.

The Ugandan Amnesty Commission is interviewing the former rebels in Nairobi, after which those who are found to be genuine will be transported to Uganda by the IOM. "There is always a tendency for economic migrants to try to cash in," he added.

Initial funding had been granted to return 200 former LRA rebels from Kenya, but the IOM would apply for more once the numbers of genuine applicants had been established, Kwenin said.

Since 20 January, when the programme was launched, the pace of registrations had picked up following "advertisements" issued on 1,500 leaflets, which were distributed among Ugandan communities around Nairobi.

The Ugandan Amnesty Act, signed in January 2000, provides for an amnesty to Ugandan nationals involved in "acts of a warlike nature", and covers any Ugandan residing within or outside the country who has been engaged in armed rebellion or war against the government since 1986.

[ENDS]

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