Thousands of Ugandan refugees are reported to have fled into neighbouring Sudan during the final drive by Tanzanian and Ugandan exile forces which toppled the regime of President Idi Amin.
Thousands of Ugandan refugees are reported to have fled into neighbouring Sudan during the final drive by Tanzanian and Ugandan exile forces which toppled the regime of President Idi Amin. Many of them are Moslems, members of Amin's own tribe -- the Kakwa -- which inhabits the West Nile district on both sides of the Ugandan-Sudanese border. They claim that as the Tanzanian-Ugandan force swept through Amin's home province, overcoming the last token pockets of resistance, it committed atrocities on the local Moslem population.
SYNOPSIS: The White Nile flows through much of the border country between uganda and Sudan and many refugees have had to cross it in their flight. The Sudanese town of Kaya, near the border with Uganda and Zaire, has borne the brunt of the exodus. Normally its residents number a thousand, but swarms of refugees have swelled the population to around five thousand, and conditions are cramped.
Local officials say more than seven thousand civilians have crossed the border in the past six weeks. They have also stopped the disarmed more than five hundred fleeing soldiers. The last remnants of Idi Amin's army.
Most of the refugees arrived on foot, with few possessions. Others arrived in Ugandan-registered vehicles which were confiscated by Sudanese border guards.
One hundred miles (160 kilometres) east of Kaya, is the town of Nimule, another popular crossing point. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) says some 30,000 refugees have already been registered in the southern region, where both food and medical supplies are scarce. The Sudanese government estimates a further 70,000 as yet unregistered Ugandans have entered the country.
In their haste to leave Uganda, many of the refugees appropriated private cars and trucks, army vehicles and even buses and ambulances -- now all held by the Sudanese authorities.
As the steady flow of refugees continues, fresh tales unfold of alleged atrocities by Tanzanian troops against the civilian populace of Amin's home province. According to eyewitness reports, the Tanzanians have been singling out Moslems and killing them. The official Sudanese News Agency reported refugees saying a few days ago that a muezzin who calls Moslems to prayer was killed at a mosque in the town of Lira by liberation forces. It also said women and children were raped and killed. Kakwas fleeing into Sudan say the killing is more religious than tribal, and many Christian members of Idi Amin's tribe have been left unharmed.
Sudanese soldiers patrolling the banks of the Nile say many refugees crossed over in hollowed-out canoes. Among these was one former Amin soldier who said he and his wife had fled Arua one day before the town was taken by the liberation forces. The influx appears to have stopped since the Tanzanians reached the far side of the river. But there are still isolated reports of refugees creeping through Tanzanian lines in small canoes.