Amin’s Generals Seek Amnesty for Him
Idi Amin’s former top army commanders appeared today in Kampala for the first time since the dictator was overthrown in 1979 and said they want to hold peace talks with Uganda’s new military rulers.
Maj. Gen. Issac Lumago, who once was Amin’s chief of staff, repeatedly referred to the ex-dictator as “field marshal” and indicated that he should be allowed to return under a sweeping amnesty for Ugandan exiles.
Amin, whose government was accused of killing about 300,000 Ugandans over an eight-year period, is living in exile in Jidda, Saudi Arabia.
Lumago, leader of the group of Amin’s former commanders, spoke to reporters on the eve of peace talks in Tanzania between the new military ruler, Gen. Tito Okello, and former Defense Minister Yoweri Museveni, leader of the National Resistance Army guerrilla group.
A government official in neighboring Tanzania confirmed that talks between Okello and Museveni will take place Tuesday in the capital of Dar es Salaam.
Okello was named ruler of Uganda after a July 27 military coup that toppled President Milton Obote, who was elected president in 1980, after the overthrow of Amin in 1979 by a Tanzanian invasion force.
Since the military coup last month, Okello has offered to meet with all guerrilla groups to discuss reconciliation.
Lumago said the structure of the army that went into exile after Amin’s overthrow remains intact in southern Sudan and eastern Zaire and should be included in the talks.
He said he was not aware of any atrocities when he served Amin, and he called on the new government to welcome home all the East African nation’s exiles, presumably including Amin.
In another development, the skeletons of about 1,000 people believed killed by Obote’s security forces were found by villagers and buried during the weekend. Obote is believed to be in Kenya.
The respected Roman Catholic daily Munno and the English-language Star newspapers today said the remains were found by residents near the Wakiso Health Clinic Cemetery, about 14 miles north of Kampala.