Photo taken on May 8, 2015 shows Somali refugees at the Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya. Dadaab, the world's largest refugee camp in northeastern Kenya. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo)
KAMPALA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Ugandan government on Monday denied reaching a deal with Israel to host thousands of African asylum seekers told to leave the Middle East country in the next three months or face imprisonment, a senior official said here.
Uganda's state minister for international affairs, Henry Oryem Okello told Xinhua that there is no agreement between the East African country and Israel for it to host over 35,000 asylum seekers, mostly Eritreans and Sudanese.
"We don't know where the story is coming from. One thing I want to state categorically that the government of Uganda doesn't have any agreement whatsoever with Israeli government in order to repatriate the refugees to Uganda," said Okello.
"We have no agreements for those seeking asylum or harbor refugees who have been rejected by Israel to be brought to Uganda," he said.
The Israeli authorities last week gave the African asylum seekers who fled war and persecution a 90-day ultimatum to leave "to their country or to a third country," or face jail sentences, without stating the third countries.
Israel's Population and Immigration Authority said those who leave the country before April will receive 3,800 U.S. dollars, airfare and other incentives for relocation.
According to reports, African migrants are given the option of going to their respective home countries, deportation to Uganda or Rwanda.