How Amin smuggled his family from Entebbe fire to Libya
The announcement by the radio station might have had some truth in it since this was the exact time dad was negotiating with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to receive his immediate family into Tripoli, and he needed the still useful Entebbe International Airport. The invading troops were still more than 70 miles away from Kampala when dad was negotiating with Gaddafi to receive us. Since vanguards of the so-called liberation forces had possibly already infiltrated some parts of the route to Entebbe by the time dad was frantically trying to get us out of Uganda, he addressed the nation asking “Ugandans who believe in God to pray day and night.”
Meanwhile the district commissioner of Kampala, Muhammad, addressed a rally in Kampala where he urged people to turn up for work and business as usual, yet the rebels were actually 20 miles outside Entebbe at the time.
On March 28, 1979 at about 4pm, Yuga Juma Onziga along with his wife and a two-week-old baby girl, his father and brother, fled to Arua. Between Kiryandongo Hospital and Karuma Falls, the car, a Toyota matatu they had rented, overturned and some people were injured but none seriously. The matatu was totally written off and Juma lost his JVC radio and stereo cassette in this accident.
The day my family flew out of Entebbe to Libya we could hear the artillery shells in the distance getting closer. It was amazing and there was a sense of disbelief. Dad was having 60 to 80 seats installed in a cargo plane for all of us. He was talking to Gaddafi on the phone, telling him, “My children are coming”. Dad sent us ahead because he wanted to stay on to make his last stand, even though he knew that the war was lost.
What an uncomfortable ride to safety this was, all the way to Tripoli, Libya!
Then we set off in a convoy towards Munyonyo (Cape Town View) and used the Garuga detour towards Entebbe, coming out near Kajansi since some liberation troops had already cut off – and probably laid an ambush – on the main road probably around the Lubowa Estates area. We arrived at the old colonial residences (State House Entebbe), to await the planned flight to Tripoli, Libya.
In 1978, Mama Madina had left for Iraq together with Mama Nabirye, the presidential bodyguard dad married the same year, 1978, for medical treatment. Mama Nabirye had previously been in residence at the Cape Town View Resort before leaving for Iraq.
Idi Amin and Muammar Gaddafi struck up a friendship. After Idi Amin’s government was overthrown in Uganda, Muammar Gaddafi welcomed him and his entourage into Libya where the Libyan government took care of them for several months. On the little known occasion relating to Amin threatening to walk to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia if Gaddafi did not offer him safe passage to the holy land of Sunni Islam, Amin had felt betrayed by Gaddafi because Gaddafi wanted to be the Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity in 1979.
Consolidating Democratic Gains, Promoting African Prosperity March 29, 2013
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