"The government will not force our brothers and sisters who are staying here as refugees to return home when the time for repatriation comes," Ugandan First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Refugees Lt. Gen. Moses Ali was quoted by the New Vision newspaper as saying on Thursday.
Ali said this in Adjumani in northwestern Uganda in the presence of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army Brig. Gen. Johnson Juma Okot after prayers for late first vice president John Garang who died in a helicopter crash on July 30.
Over 10,000 Sudanese refugees attended the prayers.
There are over 188,000 Sudanese refugees in Uganda. Among them, over 6,000 refugees are to be repatriated by the end of 2005.
Ali said the Sudanese were free to let their children study in Uganda.
These children who have been enrolled in Ugandan schools should remain, he added.