Shooting broke out in Kampala, capital of Uganda, early today (25 Jan) as President Milton Obote prepared to return to the country from Singapore, where he has been attending the Commonwealth Conference.
Shooting broke out in Kampala, capital of Uganda, early today (25 Jan) as President Milton Obote prepared to return to the country from Singapore, where he has been attending the Commonwealth Conference. Unconfirmed reports from Kampala linked the shooting with an attempt on the life of Major-General Idi Amin, chief of the Uganda armed forces.
Tank and rifle fire and explosions were heard in Kampala during the night and sporadic firing was continuing during the morning. Tank movements had damaged a number of streets, and by morning troops were reported surrounding the Parliament Building, which contains President Obote's offices, Radio Uganda headquarters and the national bank.
There was also shooting at Entebbe Airport, where several Ugandans were killed; flights into the airport were being turned back.
President Obote was today flying back to East Africa from Singapore, where he has been attending the Commonwealth Conference. He heard of the trouble before he left, but made no comment there or during a brief stopover at Bombay. He is due in Nairobi this evening and is booked into a hotel there. He is scheduled to return to Kampala tomorrow (Tuesday) and it remains to be seen whether he will be able to travel or will have to remain in Nairobi to await developments.
President Obote was in Nairobi last month for the celebration of Kenya's Republic Day, when he took the place of honour beside President Kenyatta.
The 45-year-old President was wounded two years ago (December 1969) when a would-be assassin shot him in the mouth. Since then much of the country has been under a state of emergency, with army and security forces keeping tight control over tribal and political dissent.
Reports today speak of a confused situation in the country, but suggest the fighting is between rival factions within the army. Some reports say it began with an attempt on the life of Major-General Idi Amin, chief of the Ugandan armed forces.
The general, who visited India in September 1969 as head of a defence delegation, is said to have been "pushed upstairs" a year ago when he was promoted from active commander-in-chief of the Uganda army to the desk-bound post of commander of the armed forces.