• Short Summary

    Relations between Britain and its former East African colony, Uganda, have not always been easy -- especially since President Idi Amin took power by force in January 1971.

  • Description

    Uganda 1976 SV President Amin of Uganda inspects parade as crowd look on (2 shots)

    1971 MVs Amin taking presidential oath (2 shots)

    1972 CUs Asians reading newspaper headlines (3 shots)

    MV Amin holding up letters and talking to Asians

    Britain MVs Car arrives at refugee camp; Prince Philip alights and talks to Asians (2 shots)

    Uganda SV Amin at news conference

    CU Amin speaking

    1975 GV Amin walking with Britain's Sir Chandos Blair

    CU Amin speaking

    CU British businessman Stanley Smolen speaking

    Israel 1976 MCU Israeli hostages surrounded by well-wishers

    TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 7: AMIN: "I will and truly exercise and functions of the Head of Government of the Republic of Uganda. So help me God."

    AMIN: "I am the best friend of the British, and your best friend is the friend who tells you you are mistaken, and that is why I said that the responsibility of Asians in Uganda is the responsibility of Great Britain."

    AMIN: "General Blair, he was trying to give me orders. He has no power in Uganda. It's just that British imperialism is over in Uganda. Uganda is one of the powerful countries, independently free countries, to do whatever it wants. And Mr. Hills has apologised. I have got the letter. He has written that what he has written is a completely malicious and hopeless propaganda against me, against the Republic of Uganda, when I am the best friend of Britain."

    MR. STANLEY SMOLEN: "Well it is quite clear that it has been made clear by the British High Commission many times that we are here of our own free choice."

    Initials CL/2100

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Relations between Britain and its former East African colony, Uganda, have not always been easy -- especially since President Idi Amin took power by force in January 1971. The Ugandan leader rose from a corporal in British colonial forces to one of only two commissioned black officers in Uganda just before independence. Afterwards he became Commander of the Ugandan Armed Forces -- from which position he overthrew the Government of President Milton Obote.

    SYNOPSIS: The controversial Ugandan leader, who raised himself from General to Field Marshal, and decorated himself with Britain's highest-ranking medals including the prized Victoria Cross, put Uganda into world headlines from the day of the coup. He's kept himself in the international limelight ever since.

    Within a year, President Amin expelled at short notice about 40-thousand Asians -- a move which made him popular with Ugandans, who were given the deportees' homes and businesses. But it marked the first major split with Britain -- which was forced to take in almost all the Asians, who mostly had British passports. The President himself took a great interest in their departure.

    In Britain, some of the Ugandan Asian deportees were met by Prince Philip, the Queen's husband. The expulsions caused considerable British public hostility towards President Amin. Although the official reaction was more diplomatic, the episode marked the beginning of a serious and continuing rift between the two countries over a number of incidents involving British subjects. But at the time, the ambivalent Ugandan leader insisted he was doing Britain a favour.

    Next came the death sentence on British lecturer Denis Hills after he called President Amin a 'village tyrant'. British General Sir Chandos Blair, President Amin's former commanding officer, was sent to intervene - but himself came under fire.

    Mr. Hills was freed. But a British businessman also released after facing a death sentence insisted on staying.

    Israel - and the return of almost a hundred hostages rescued from Uganda in a lightning Israeli raid. But 75-year-old grandmother Mrs. Dora Bloch, a British-Israeli citizen, was left behind and later reported killed. It's caused what may be the most serious rift yet between Britain and Uganda.

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    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
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