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Last Updated: Monday, 28 July, 2003, 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK
Family plan for Idi Amin's funeral
Idi Amin
Women have been gathering firewood in readiness for Amin's death
Uncertainty continues about the condition of the ailing former Ugandan President Idi Amin.

One Ugandan newspaper is reporting that plans are under way for a massive funeral in the northern Ugandan town of Arua.

The Sunday Vision newspaper says that in spite of reports last week that Mr Amin had emerged from a coma in a Saudi Arabian hospital, the family have gone ahead and earmarked a spot where the former president will be buried.

The spot is right next to the grave of Amin's elder brother, Ramadhan, who died last year.

Medical staff at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital have refused to divulge any information about the 78-year-old former Ugandan ruler's illness, on request from his relatives.

But one of Mr Amin's several wives, Madina, said he had suffered from hypertension for some time before falling into a coma.

Funeral firewood

Worried family members and volunteers at Tanganyika, a largely Muslim village some three kilometres north of Arua town, have been gathering firewood at the recently manicured compound of the eight-bedroom house that Mr Amin started building in 2001 in preparation for his return to Uganda.

The firewood is traditionally used in overnight funeral vigils.

Groups of women clad in Islamic hijab have been seen frequenting Mr Amin's compound where they sit waiting for news about the former dictator's condition.

Another daily newspaper, the Monitor, on Monday quoted sources saying that the former president is still in a coma.

Ms Madina Amin, and a daughter left Kampala last week to join Amin's sons, Mr Hussein Amin and Mr Mwanga Amin, who have been at their father's bedside in the hospital's intensive care unit.


The government helped arrange for Madina to fly to Saudi Arabia on humanitarian grounds, according to the minister for the presidency, Mr Kirunda Kivejinja.

Mr Amin's family has appealed to the government to allow him return and die at home.

But President Yoweri Museveni has said that Mr Amin would face charges of human rights abuses if he returned to Uganda alive.

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.

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

His supporters, many of them from northern Uganda where Mr Amin hailed from, have been urging the government to allow the former president to return home.

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