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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 August, 2005, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK
Museveni warns press over Garang
By Sebastian Usher
World Media correspondent

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
Museveni had initially raised questions about Garang's death
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has threatened to close down newspapers which continue to publish conspiracy theories about John Garang's death.

Mr Museveni said such speculation was a threat to national security and would not be tolerated.

He accused several papers of preying on the misery of others like "vultures".

Garang, the Sudanese vice-president, died on 30 July when the helicopter he was travelling in crashed on its way back to Sudan from Uganda.


President Museveni issued his warning to Ugandan newspapers about the coverage of Garang's death at a memorial ceremony for the Ugandan crew who died with Garang in the helicopter crash.

"They are vultures, vultures," he said of the papers in question. "For them the misery of the many is the joy of the vultures.

"Now, any newspaper which plays around with regional security, I will not tolerate it. I will just simply close it, finish, the end."

The reports that prompted Mr Museveni's anger included speculation that Garang's body had been found with bullet wounds and accusations that Rwanda might have been behind the crash.

Such conspiracy theories were clearly going too far for Mr Museveni, although he himself had been the first to suggest that the crash might not have been an accident.

Sudanese officials criticised him for those remarks.

In his speech, broadcast live on national TV, Mr Museveni named the sensationalist tabloid, Red Pepper, as one of the three papers whose reports he was unhappy with.

Last year, Red Pepper achieved considerable notoriety, as well as enraging the government, when it broke a big taboo in Uganda - and Africa as a whole - by revealing the country's foreign minister, James Wapakhabulo, had died of Aids.

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