KAMPALA (Reuters) - The Ugandan government denied on Friday that it would accept African migrants deported from Israel after Israeli officials said they would soon send these people back to the African continent via Uganda.
“We’re not aware of any such deal. There’s no way Uganda would enter such an arrangement,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Elly Kamahungye said.
Israeli officials said they would shortly start the process of deporting the Eritrean and Sudanese migrants, who number more than 50,000.
Israel regards most of these Africans as illegal visitors crowding impoverished areas in search of jobs, and largely rejects the position of human rights groups that many fled their countries in search of political asylum.
A statement late on Thursday from Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar said Israel would soon begin a staged process of deporting the migrants after an agreement was reached with an African country other than Eritrea and Sudan to absorb them.
Michal Rozin, chairwoman of parliament’s committee on foreign workers, said by telephone that Uganda was the country that had agreed to absorb migrants who had settled in Israel.
Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Mark Heinrich