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1972: Asians given 90 days to leave Uganda

The Ugandan leader, Idi Amin, has set a deadline for the expulsion of most of the country's Asians.

General Amin said all Asians who are not Ugandan citizens - around 60,000 - must leave Uganda within 90 days.

The military ruler's latest statement amended his original expulsion order two days ago when he said all the country's 80,000 Asians had to go.

Asians, who are the backbone of the Ugandan economy, have been living in the country for more than a century.

But resentment against them has been building up within Uganda's black majority.

Expulsion surprises Britain

General Amin has called the Asians "bloodsuckers" and accused them of milking the economy of its wealth.

Up to 50,000 Asians in the former UK colony are British passport holders.

In a broadcast, General Amin said he would be summoning the British High Commissioner in Kampala to ask him to arrange for their removal.

The expulsion order has taken Britain by surprise.

General Amin overthrew Uganda's elected leader in a military-backed coup last year but the British authorities had regarded him as a man they could work with.

Currently around 1,000 Asians from Uganda settle in the UK each year under an enlarged quota allocation introduced last year.

But a growing number have been attempting to circumvent the system and enter Britain illegally.

Right-wing MPs have warned that letting more Ugandan Asians into the UK could raise racial tensions.

They are urging the government not to take them in.

Conservative MP Ronald Bell said Uganda's Asians had no real links to Britain.

Speaking on behalf of the Monday Club's Immigration Committee, Mr Bell said: "They were either born in India or have retained close connection with India.

"They have no connection with Britain either by blood or residence."

In Context
Britain was unable to negotiate a compromise with Idi Amin and eventually about 50,000 Asians were forced to leave Uganda.

Most of those with British passports - around 30,000 - came to the UK.

Many arrived virtually penniless having been expelled without compensation for businesses and property.

Some were also robbed by troops en route to the airport.

There were many objections to their arrival - Leicester Council even took out newspaper advertisements warning them not to come to the city.

Idi Amin's rule was one of Uganda's most brutal periods.

He was overthrown in 1979 and lived in exile in Saudi Arabia until his death in 2003.


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