Eight people of Asian descent have been arrested for being in possession of illegal travel documents.
The suspects were arrested in a security operation, mounted by the Arua Resident District Commissioner's Office. The operation was carried out to verify the status of hundreds of foreign nationals living in Arua town.
Julius Salube, the District Police Commander, says that three of the eight Asians were freed after they produced genuine documents. The rest are being held at Arua Central Police Station awaiting trial.
Salube says the detainees were found with expired tourist and study permits.
Arua is an entry point for many illegal immigrants and foreign nationals because of its porous borders with the lawless eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan. It is also home to thousands of refugees from neighboring countries, many who have integrated in the local communities and have pseudo-resident status in Uganda.
Last year, at the height of tensions over the proposed sale of Mabira Forest to the Madhvani Family, the West Nile regional director for the Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ullas Bhatt, made a special appeal for immigrants of Asian descent to register with the authorities. He warned that their illegal status was putting them at odds with the local community.
Bhatt, himself and Indian national, accused some Indian migrants of flaunting the law and allowing illegal travelers to settle amongst them.