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17 Aug 2003 08:42
A son of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who died at a hospital in Saudi Arabia, is still preparing for war to topple the Kampala government from bases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a senior Ugandan military official said Saturday.
“We know that Taban Amin has been dreaming of launching an attack against us since 1998 with the help of the late Laurent Kabila,” said Brigadier Kale Kaihura by telephone, referring to the murdered former president of the DRC.
“When we left DRC, Taban’s fighters, estimated at several hundred, reorganised and started mixing with the Ngiti and Lendu militias in the DRC’s Nyacucu areas near Semliki valley with the aim of attacking Uganda, but they will not succeed,” Kaihura said.
The Semliki valley is on the border between the DRC and Uganda.
The fighters of Amin’s son are said to be based in the hills on the DRC side, called the Blue Mountains. Taban has been living in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, and has occupied the chancery in the Ugandan embassy, whose Ugandan diplomats were forced out during the DRC conflict, Ugandan officials said.
Taban’s father, who ruled Uganda between 1971 and 1979 in an orgy of brutality and economic meltdown, died earlier on Saturday at a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he has been living in luxury for more than a decade.
Kaihura said Taban’s plan for war would not succeed because there was already a government of national unity in Kinshasa that will be able to take responsibility for DRC’s sprawling territory.
“They can continue dreaming, but it will never be realised because peace is slowly returning to northeast DRC’s Ituri region,” Kaihura said, referring to the area that has been plagued by ethnic bloodletting this year.
Uganda, along with Rwanda, deployed thousands of troops in the DRC in 1998, in order to prevent attacks on their respective countries by rebel groups based in the vast eastern DRC region.
But the two armies ended up fighting alongside rebels seeking to oust the Kinshasa government.
Kinshasa enlisted support from Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia and at one time Chad until a ceasefire was signed a year later, prompting the countries to withdraw their armies.
Fighting based on ethnic hatred has killed an estimated 50 000 people in the region.
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