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Last Updated: Friday, 28 January, 2005, 15:56 GMT
Amin victim found in mass grave
Shaban Kirunda Nkutu
Nkutu was the uncle of Amin's first wife
The body of a former minister killed under the regime of Ugandan leader Idi Amin has been found after 32 years.

Shaban Kirunda Nkutu's son told the BBC News website that while he was saddened to be reminded of his father's death, finding the body would bring closure.

The body was found by the man who helped put him in a mass grave. He was identified from a gunshot wound and underwear and jewellery he was wearing.

It is estimated some 300,000 people died during Amin's reign of terror.

Nkutu was a minister under former President Milton Obote, who was overthrown by Amin in a coup, and the uncle of Amin's first wife.

His 1973 killing shocked Ugandans.

My mother exclaimed loudly when she saw [the bracelet]... he was never seen without it
Conrad Nkutu
His son, Conrad Nkutu, who was five when his father disappeared, said the last year had been a traumatic time for the family.

"I feel saddened by the resurrection of the details of his death. It's painful for the family, which has been deeply wounded by the secret burial," Conrad Nkutu told the BBC News website.

"But in spite of revisiting these events, we're relieved to find closure and have the chance to give him an honourable burial."


It was a chance encounter between a relative and the man ordered to dig his grave in a cemetery in Masese near Jinja that allowed the Nkutu family to find out how the authorities disposed of his body, after he was shot dead by police and dumped in the River Nile.

Idi Amin
Amin reportedly threw the corpses of his victims to crocodiles
Conrad Nkutu said even after all these years the three gravediggers were terrified to tell their story.

But after reassurances, they explained how under armed guard they had collected Nkutu's corpse from a mortuary.

The corpse was clothed in a yellow shirt and underwear - but no trousers, which they thought unusual.

He was the last body to be buried in a mass grave, with five other men in trousers.

Grass was planted over the spot, which the men named "the troubled place".


At the exhumation in November, the yellow shirt had rotted, but the underwear was still visible and there was a black plastic bracelet - known as an entugga - on the left wrist.

"My mother exclaimed loudly when she saw it... he was never seen without it on," Mr Nkutu said.

Pathologists identified a gunshot wound to the skull, but after two months the family has been informed that DNA tests on the exhumed bones were inconclusive.

Ugandan Asians arriving in the UK
1971: Amin seizes power in coup
1972: Expels Ugandan Asians
1976: Israel frees hostages in raid on Entebbe
1979: Amin ousted by Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles
2003: Dies in Saudi Arabia

"But because of the overwhelming circumstantial evidence, we are pretty sure it's our father," he said.

After Nkutu's disappearance, his niece and then first lady, Mama Mariamu, fled the country.

"My father was only one of seven former members of cabinet killed between 1972 and 1973," said Mr Nkutu, the managing director of Uganda's Monitor newspaper.

"I do feel aggrieved by the mass violation of human rights under Amin - who died a peaceful death and was able to preside over Uganda for eight whole years."

"But I think that what happened should strengthen the commitment for Ugandans and Africans to strive for better government and respect for human rights."

Amin murdered many thousands of real and perceived opponents during his rule, reportedly feasting on the bodies of some of his victims and throwing corpses to crocodiles.

In 1979 he fled to Libya, then Iraq, before finally settling in Saudi Arabia, where he stayed until his death two years ago.

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