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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Idi Amin's 'condition worsens'
Idi Amin
His wife would want Amin buried in Uganda
Former Ugandan leader Idi Amin - whose 1971 to 1979 regime was one of the bloodiest in African history - reportedly remains in a coma after three days on a life support machine.

A hospital official told the Associated Press news agency that his condition had deteriorated on Monday after stabilising on Sunday.

"He is still alive. But he remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit" at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, one of Saudi Arabia's top medical centres, another medical source at the hospital was quoted as saying by local newspaper Arab News.

Meanwhile, the political party he ousted in 1971 has joined calls for him to be allowed to return to die in his homeland.

If he has any (legal) case to answer, it will be dealt with according to the law
Onapito Ekomoloit
Presidential press assistant
The Ugandan People's Congress says that the government has a responsibility to look after Mr Amin, as a Ugandan citizen and former head of state.

According to local newspaper reports, President Yoweri Museveni has rejected a request from one of his wives to let him go back to Uganda.

Deep wounds

However, the president's press assistant, Onapito Ekomoloit was quoted as saying that he was free to return if he so wished but did not rule out the possibility of him being arrested, if he was still alive.

"Everyone knows he has a past. If he has any [legal] case to answer, it will be dealt with according to the law," he said.

One of Mr Amin's several wives said he had suffered from hypertension for some time and fell into the coma on Friday.

"We have contacted the (Kampala) government, to ask that if he dies his body can be brought back home for a decent burial," she said.

Ugandan Asians arrive in the UK

Mr Amin, 78, has lived in Saudi Arabia with his entourage for more than 10 years, after almost a decade in Libya.

He has not been back to Uganda since he was ousted by Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles in 1979.

The BBC's Will Ross, reports from Kampala, that deep wounds remain even 24 years after he fled the country.

He says those who are old enough will never forget the nature of Idi Amin's eight-year dictatorial rule when Ugandans were gripped by a climate of fear.

Up to 400,000 people are estimated to have died during his time in office or are still unaccounted for.

Under Mr Amin, Asians in Uganda who dominated business in the country were given 90 days to leave the country, as he embarked on a programme to Africanise the economy.

Many fled to the United Kingdom.

He confiscated all their properties, which he distributed to his cronies, who later ran them down.

A whole generation of Ugandan intellectuals were either killed for questioning the regime or fled into exile.

Quiet life

Uganda's Sunday Vision newspaper scored a scoop in 1999 when it secured the first interview with the so-called "Butcher of Africa" in almost 20 years.

"I am leading a quiet life and committed to my religion, Islam, and Allah. I don't have problems with anyone," Mr Amin told the newspaper's reporter in his luxury home in Jeddah.

"But I am satisfied with what I am getting and even paying school fees for a number of my orphaned relatives in Uganda, and helping needy people," he said.

The people don't have any problem with my father
Haji Ali Amin, son

He is said to have fathered 43 children in all.

His son Haji Ali Amin ran unsuccessfully last year for election as mayor in the small town of Njeru, east of the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

"The people don't have any problem with my father," he said, blaming the media for giving him a bad press.

Mr Amin was deposed in 1979 after a series of skirmishes between Uganda and his old enemy, Tanzania which supported an invasion by army exiles, including Mr Museveni.

As his capital fell, he slipped through the net, finally turning up in Libya, his years in power over.

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