Following reports that infiltrators to Israel will be removed to Uganda and Rwanda, Uganda denies such deal with Israel exists.
Uganda on Thursday denied it had agreed to receive thousands of African infiltrators as part a deal with Israel.
The denial came a day after Israel launched the program to force some 40,000 infiltrators, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, to leave the country.
Israel has not clearly said where the infiltrators will go, but tacitly recognizes it is too dangerous to return the Sudanese and Eritreans home.
As a result, according to activists in Israel, it has signed deals with Rwanda and Uganda, which agree to accept departing infiltrators on condition they consent to the arrangement.
Uganda, however, said it had made no such deal.
“Uganda is disturbed by these reports,” the country’s Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem told AFP. “We have no such agreement with the government of Israel to send refugees here.”
There was no immediate reaction from Rwanda.
Under Israel’s program, the infiltrators have until the end of March to leave. Each will receive a plane ticket and $3,500 (2,900 euros) to do so, and those who remain will face arrest.
In Israel on Wednesday, Adi Drori-Avraham, from an NGO called ASSAF (Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers), told AFP: “From what we know, Uganda is a party to the amended agreement, allowing that people can be coerced into leaving.”
“It has published a denial, although I have to say that Uganda has for years been denying that it has some kind of deal with Israel,” he said. “But we see that thousands arrive there so I don’t know how much Uganda’s denials should be taken seriously.”
Israeli residents of southern Tel Aviv – where most of the infiltrators live – have long complained of their presence, the increased crime rate that spells out the danger they present to Israeli citizens, and the city and Supreme Court’s preference for infiltrators over Israeli citizens.