Ten Refugees Killed in North Uganda Water Dispute

20 Sep 2020 by Staff - Water Diplomat

Ten refugees from South Sudan and young Ugandan were killed in an 11 September violent incident around a water point in Madi Okollo in north Uganda, with nineteen others injured.

Reports by UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, indicated that a dispute between the local community and refugees broke out near a shared water point, over priority of access to water.

A 16-year-old Ugandan was killed during the row, which quickly escalated into a violent attack against refugees at the Tika village in Rhino refugee settlement, where refugees from South Sudan live.

15 refugee houses were burned to the ground and a further 26 were looted and vandalised during the incident.

“The disproportionate violent reaction by the host community to a communal dispute signals a threat to the delicate balance of peaceful coexistence in the rural villages where refugees live alongside their Ugandan hosts,” Joel Boutroue, the UNHCR Representative in Uganda said, adding that “In an environment of scarcity of resources, tragic incidents such as that of last Friday are alarming, as both the host and refugee communities face increased hardships and decreased access to basic services and livelihoods".

UNHCR is working with Uganda authorities to investigate the killings. The agency has also deployed teams to support refugees and work with the government and partners to respond to the needs of those affected as well as initiate reconciliatory efforts.