BY BILLIE KADEMERI
Dear Ahmed Katerega(Bukedde newspaper),
For a veteran journalist, you are really very uninformed or poorly informed about how and why Amin came to power. If soldiers in Kampala spontaneously took power and handed over to Amin, then why did Sgt Ismail Abiriga of Masindi Barracks had to warn my father to flee his station right on 24 January 1971?
Why was it that no Acholi, Lango or Teso officer had any access to weapons from the armoury on 24 January 1971 when strange ‘South Sudanese-looking’ soldiers arrived in Masindi that evening and started pick up the Acholi, Lango and Teso soldiers who were stuck in the barracks and did not know know what to do?
Why don’t you ask some of us who watched the coup unfolding first hand? Nearly three weeks before the coup children of soldiers freely told each other how they had heard from their parents that Amin was planning and going to overthrow the government. I have stated before that Obote and his security were inept or did not know what to do with Amin but the story of Amin planning the coup was known many weeks, certainly months in advance when he started bringing in the Sudanese from Anyanya movement were on the verge of being demobilised due to the expected Addis Ababa agreement due to come inot effect the follwing year. These guys were carefully hidden by Amin in Uganda and among the real Ugandan soldiers and then used in the coup. These were the first people to introduce slaughtering of other soldiers. In fact where military barracks existed civilians hardly heard any gunshots as Amin’s perceived opponents were simply slaughtered or bayoneted to death. I do not know what happened in other barracks but for the case of Masindi all of us kids watched the bodies loaded on trucks and were transported towards Kigumba, apparently to be dumped into Karuma Falls.