Minister raps WFP as army quells Bidibidi food riot

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The aftermath of the riot [Photo Credit: James Darious otto/ Opoka p'Arop Otto]

Musa Francis Ecweru, State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, has lashed at World Food Programme [WFP] staff for taking unilateral decisions that sparked a food riot at Bidibidi refugee camp in Yumbe district.

In the Sunday protest, South Sudan refugees beat up aid workers, looted food stores, vandalised furniture, destroyed offices and UN refugee agency vehicles.

The refugees were protesting the decision by World Food Programme to change food distribution points and the delay to distribute food to the beneficiaries on time.

UN vehicles were vandalised

Security responded by deploying UPDF soldiers and regular police to restore calm to the refugee settlement.

“I want the country to know that the situation has normalised. The situation is calm now and there won’t be any more rioting,” minister Ecweru said on Monday.

He said those who acted negligently or refused to cooperate with the government of Uganda yet they are working for the government of Uganda will be held accountable.

Property was also destroyed

“We will not allow any riot like this to happen again. The unilateral decision taken by WFP to change distribution routes will not be tolerated or accepted,” Ecweru warned.

He said because of the decision taken by WFP workers, some refugees have to walk many kilometres to access food without considering the lame, the elderly and pregnant mothers.

“It was unfortunate and uncalled for. We should avoid a repeat. We are disappointed with the riot and will make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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