In Uganda, Tanzanian forces pursuing the troops of former President, Idi Amin, have been pushing northwards, towards the home province of the deposed Ugandan leader.
In Uganda, Tanzanian forces pursuing the troops of former President, Idi Amin, have been pushing northwards, towards the home province of the deposed Ugandan leader. Supported by forces of the new civilian government, the Tanzanians have only encountered resistance in a few isolated areas. One was the town of Soroti where a three-hour battle took place before the Tanzanians ousted the pro Amin troops. The capture of Soroti had particular significance because it contained the flying school which had once been the pilot training centre for the now disbanded East African Community.
SYNOPSIS: The flying school symbolised the close degree of co-operation between Uganda and neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania during the ten years of the Community's existence. Although the alliance collapsed in 1977 with considerable ill will on all sides, the Community flag still flew over the air base. The flying school was an important prestige symbol of Amin's government.
The only pilots who were trained in Soroti sine the East African Community was disbanded were Ugandan - but mementoes of the former close ties with the late President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya were still in evidence. Training sessions were still taking place a few days before the fall of the town to the Tanzanians. When it became obvious that Amin had lost control of the country, soldiers and secret police of the old regime went on the rampage in Soroti. A mass grave containing an estimated two hundred bodies was found near the air-base.
The Tanzanians found a crashed twin-engine aircraft which had been flown to Soroti by Amin's security chief. The whereabouts of the fugitive dictator are still unknown. Amin is reported to have visited Libya and Iraq and the Tanzanians are still looking for a missing Ugandan jet aircraft which refuelled at Soroti recently.
Amin is believed to have been attempting to rally support and procure arms during his Iraqi and Libyan visits. It is thought he might be planning a last stand in the West Nile Province of Uganda -- where the remaining pro-Amin forces are reported to have retreated.