The Embassy of Uganda in United Arab Emirates (UAE), has come out to clarify that there are no arrangements to have Ugandans who are stranded in Abu Dhabi registered and evacuated back to Uganda.
The Embassy’s position follows reports that some Ugandan nationals currently in Abu Dhabi are stranded while some others have suffered mistreatment and segregation by UAE nationals in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Uganda’s government banned passenger flights into and out of the country making it impossible for any travelers to fly into the country. The closure of the airport is part of the measures undertaken to slow the spread of coronavirus.
As such, the leader of the Community that brings together Ugandans living in Abu Dhabi asked the Ugandans who are interested in returning to Uganda to register with the embassy or the community leaders.
“This is to inform you that we have received information from the Ugandan Ambassador to the UAE enquiring if there are many Ugandans who are stranded here due to Covid-19 crisis and would like to return back home,” Ismail Sebugwaawo, the Chairman of Ugandans in Bu Dhabi wrote in a letter to the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi.
“The Ambassador says those wanting to go home should come out and register with the embassy or the respective community leaders in each emirate so that preparations to fly them back home can be arranged through a UAE carrier subsequent to getting the landing permit from the Ugandan government,” Sebugwaawo added.
He added that those intending to fly would have to part with Dh 2,200 and be subjected to mandatory quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Uganda.
However, Uganda’s Ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Zaake Kibedi has in a subsequent correspondence to Sebugwaawo said there are no such arrangements (to register stranded Ugandan nationals for repatriation).
“I wish to make reference to our telephone conversation of Sunday April 5th 2020 in which you made reference to Ugandan nationals who are stranded in UAE due to Covid-19 precautionary measures that have been undertaken by both governments of Uganda and UAE as well as the possibility of repatriation of the stranded Ugandans by Fly Dubai,” Ambassador Zaake W. Kibedi wrote in the April 7 letter.
He says consultations are being made with the governments of Uganda and UAE to find ways of assisting the said Ugandans.
“The purpose of this letter is to clarify to you that currently, no repatriation registration arrangements are being made or are available at the embassy until further guidance on the way forward is received from the governments of Uganda and UAE on the way forward on this subject”.
The number of COVID-19 cases in UAE stands at 2,359 with 12 deaths 186 recoveries.
There have been reported cases of similar challenges faced by Ugandans in other parts of the world, including China where the virus originated in December 2019.
One Ugandan currently in China told NBS TV on Tuesday that Africans are being denied medical services and that they cannot use the public means or other public spaces including restaurants and supermarkets.
“Some of our friends have been thrown out of the houses they have been renting with no reason. The other challenge is – they are forcing us (Africans) to test for Covid-19 which isn’t the case with the nationals,” the concerned Ugandan said.