A senior Ugandan Army officer, Brigadier Pierino Okoya, whose death last year was allegedly used as the basis for a plot to eliminate President Amin, was murdered by a person or persons unknown, according to a coroner's report.
A senior Ugandan Army officer, Brigadier Pierino Okoya, whose death last year was allegedly used as the basis for a plot to eliminate President Amin, was murdered by a person or persons unknown, according to a coroner's report. Justice Arthur Richard Dickson revealed this finding during a four hour review of the evidence in a Kampala court on Wednesday. He said that the Brigadier and his wife died from gunshot wounds and internal bleeding at their home in northern Uganda on 25 January 1970.
He made no specific finding on the submission of Percy Bloomfield, a British barrister briefed by the state to lead evidence, that ex-President Milton Obote had initiated a conspiracy to use the Brigadier's death as a means of removing General Amin, then Army commander.
Justice Dickson's findings came after a three-week adjournment in the inquest, which had lasted two months.
Visnews cameraman Siraj Wamala in the courtroom when Justice Dickson read out his 86-page report.
SYNOPSIS: In Kampala on Wednesday, a coroner's report revealed that a senior Army officer and his wife were murdered by a person or persons unknown. Justice Arthur Dickson, in a four-hour review of the evidence, said that Brigadier Pierino Okoya and his wife died from gunshot wounds at their home last year. Their deaths were allegedly used as the basis of a plot to eliminate President Idi Amin.
He said that police had used hideous and barbaric torture in questioning suspects, and ruled as inadmissible, statements purportedly made by six men confessing to the murders. Justice Dickson said it was clear that the statements were either manufactured or the result of undue pressure brought to bear by the police. He strongly suggested a reform in the procedure for taking confessions from suspects, along the lines of methods used in other commonwealth countries, notably Australia and Malaysia.
The inquest had been adjourned three weeks ago, after two months of testimony. Evidence had been heard from over one-hundred witnesses, including President Amin and members of ex-President Obote's cabinet. Justice Dickson described the inquest as being "exceptionally unusual if not unique", because of the highly politicised nature of the subject with which it had to deal.