BBC Home
Explore the BBC
7 July  
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
About This Site | Text Only
1976: British grandmother missing in Uganda
The Ugandan authorities have denied knowledge of the whereabouts of British-Israeli citizen Dora Bloch.

The 74-year-old grandmother disappeared three days ago, shortly after Israeli commandos rescued hostages detained by Palestinian hijackers at Uganda's Entebbe airport.

Mrs Bloch, a widow, was one of a group of non-Israeli passengers released on 2 July (Friday) from the Air France airbus hijacked in Athens five days earlier.

She was taken to Mulago General Hospital in Kampala because she had a piece of food stuck in her throat.

A British diplomat visited Mrs Bloch in hospital on Sunday evening after the Israeli swoop on Entebbe.

Two plain-clothed guards told the British official that she was about to be discharged to the Imperial Hotel in Kampala.

When he returned to the hospital an hour later with some food he was denied entry.

We know that President Amin would not want to harm a sick old woman
Ilan Hartuv
A statement from the Uganda Ministry of Health claims former doctor, Mrs Bloch, left hospital to re-join the other hostages before the Israeli raid and after that Uganda ceased to have responsibility for her.

The UK Minister of State for the Foreign Office Ted Rowlands told the Commons that the Ugandan response was "totally unacceptable" and was a cause for "grave concern".

In Kampala, the Ugandan police told the British High Commission yesterday that a search had found nothing.

A formal complaint has been made to the Ugandan High Commissioner in London, Fredrick Isingoma.

The British High Commissioner to Kampala, Mr James Hennessey, is waiting for a flight at Heathrow after cutting short a holiday in Britain. He hopes to meet President Idi Amin in the next couple of days.

Mrs Bloch's son Ilan Hartuv - one of the rescued hostages - has spoken to the world's press from his home in Tel Aviv: "We know that President Amin would not want to harm a sick old woman. We are throwing ourselves on his mercy."

Dora Bloch, who lives in Tel Aviv, had been on her way to her youngest son's wedding in New York.

 E-mail this story to a friend

Photograph of the British High Commissioner to Kampala Mr James Hennessey
James Hennessey cut short a holiday in Britain to meet President Idi Amin

In Context
Idi Amin and the Ugandan authorities continued to deny knowledge of Dora Bloch's fate and MP Ted Rowlands told Parliament she was presumed dead on 13 July.

On 28 July Britain severed diplomatic relations with Uganda. This was the first time in 30 years Britain had taken this step and the first time it had initiated a split from a Commonwealth country.

About 200 Britons remained in Uganda - 300 had returned to the UK since the Entebbe incident.

In May 1979 pathologists identified remains found near a sugar plantation 20 miles east of Kampala as those of Dora Bloch.

In April 1987 Henry Kyemba, who was Uganda's Health Minister, told Uganda's Human Rights Commission that Dora Bloch had been dragged from her hospital bed and murdered by two army officers close to Idi Amin.

Stories From 7 Jul

Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  

^^ back to top
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
©MMVIII | News Sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy