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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Uganda warns of Amin arrest
Idi Amin
The wounds of Amin's rule remain fresh in Uganda
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has said that ailing former military leader Idi Amin still faces arrest if he returns from his exile in Saudi Arabia.

"If Amin comes back breathing or conscious, I will arrest him because he committed crimes here," he said.

The 78-year-old is currently in hospital in the port city of Jeddah, where his condition is reported to have improved.

Mr Amin's regime was one of the bloodiest in African history, with up to 400,000 deaths and disappearances.

Family visit

Mr Museveni said that when Mr Amin died, his body could be returned home for burial, but he ruled out a state funeral.

"He's out of a coma... however, he remains in the intensive care unit," a hospital source at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital told the AFP news agency.

It is amazing how a human catastrophe like Idi Amin has been protected in Saudi Arabia despite his crimes against humanity
Ed Edet, Nigeria/USA

Mr Amin's wife and daughter left the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on Tuesday and are already in Saudi Arabia, according to the Ugandan Minister of the Presidency, Kirunda Kivejinja.

Mr Kivejinja said that the government facilitated the trip.

An international human rights group has voiced regret that he may die now at liberty instead of in prison.

"We regret that Idi Amin is dying without meeting justice for his crimes," said Reed Brody, director of special prosecutions at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Deep wounds

He has lived in Saudi Arabia with his entourage for more than 10 years after spending almost a decade in Libya following his overthrow in 1979.

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

Ugandan Asians arrive in the UK

Mr Amin has not been back to Uganda since he was ousted by Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles.

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.

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.

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