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Last Updated: Friday, 25 July, 2003, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
Idi Amin's condition 'improves'
Idi Amin
The wounds of Amin's rule remain fresh in Uganda
The condition of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin is still serious but improving, medical officials in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia have said.

"He came out of coma on Wednesday and is no longer using an artificial respirator. But he is still in intensive care and his condition is still serious," a hospital source told Reuters news agency.

AFP news agency were told a similar thing by another unnamed source.

The hospital had announced that Mr Amin might not survive after he went into a coma last week.

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

Medical staff at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital told BBC News Online that they would not reveal any information about the 78-year-old former Ugandan ruler's illness.

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

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.

Family visit

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

On Tuesday, one of his wives and daughter from Kampala joined him at his bedside.

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.

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).

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