Thursday, 31 December 2020

Cruel Blood thirsty

To understand Amin's reign of terror it is necessary to realize that he was not an ordinary political tyrant. He did more than murder those whom he considered his enemies: he also subjected them to barbarisms even after they were dead. These barbarisms are well attested. It was common knowledge in the Ugandan medical profession that many of the bodies dumped in hospital mortuaries were terribly mutilated, with livers, noses, lips, genitals or eyes missing. Amin's killers did this on his specific instructions; the mutilations follow a well-defined pattern. After Gofrey Kigala was shot in 1974, his eyes were gouged out and his body was partially skinned before it was dumped outside Kampala. Medical reports on deaths of Shaban Nkutu, Lt.Col Ondoga etc stated that the bodies had been cut open and that a number of internal organs had ben tampered with...... H. Kyemba (State of Blood).

On several ocassions as Minister of Health, Amin insisted on being left alone with his victim's bodies. Such was the case when Brigadier Arube was murdered in 1974. Amin came to see the body while it was in the mortuary; he ordered the deputy medical superintendent, Dr Kyewalabaye to "wait outside". Amin then went in by himself....... Source H.Kyemba.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Unidentifiable Victim

We hereby honour this unidentifiable victim and hundreds of thousands who are unidentifiable.

Like hundreds of thousands of victims who were executed in Nakasero SRB, his head was battered beyond recognition.

We cannot name this man, doesn't mean he should be excluded from Amin's list of victims.

This man was murdered in Nakasero State Research Bureau.

The above picture was shot by Reimar Oltmanns.
German journalist and author. He was 1970-1972 Spokesman of the Lower Saxony Minister of Education Peter von Oertzen.

Amin ordered murders

Amin ordered murders using euphemisims that were recognized as orders for execution by his henchmen. One phrase was "Give him the VIP treatment" which meant death after torture, a phrase i heard him use when he was ordering the death of the Minister of Information, Alex Ojera in september 1972. Other code phrases were "Take him to Malire" and "Kalasi" which means "death" in Nubian, a language few ugandans speak.

Source Henry Kyemba.....

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Amin's Government By Terror


Amin kept thorough surveillance on Ugandans through five repressive organs that were either ccreated in Obote's period and then recreated and given new names by Amin himself, or founded after January 1971. Amin replaced the General Service Unit with a similar intelligence organ called the Bureau of State Research.  Located at Nakasero near what had been Obote's official Kampala residence, the bureau used the same house, headquarters, and surveilance equipment as those used by the deposed president.  Amin also established the Public Safety Unit in 1972  ostensibly to curb Kondo-robbery with violence- but in reality to give security personnel an opportunity to arrest enemies of the regime.  Its headquarters were at Naguru Police Training School.  The Military Police, created under Obote, was expanded.  Makindye, its headquarters, became notorious as a slaughterhouse in Amin's time.  As the economy worsened, another paramilitary unit, the Antismuggling Bureau, was created under Bob Astles.  It accused successful businessmen of smuggling and hoarding. 

These repressive agencies helped Amin gather intelligence on his enemies and survive in office.  Although their methods were crude, they succeeded by not taking chances: any suspect was instantly presumed guilty and eliminated.  Between January and August 1972, for example, in a wave of intensified political violence, political prisoners who had been locked behjind bars because of their presumed opposition to the Amin regime were all killed.  Most were members of the police, the GSU, and the Civil Service who had served Obote with loyalty,  including the bracss of the Police Central Intelligence Department, which had investigated Amin's part in the murder of Brigadier Okoya.  The victims included Mohammed Hassan.  the chief of CID. Festus Wawuyo, his deputy, and Ocungi, another deputy in the CID. Twenty Acholi/ Langi Military bandsmen who had been arrested and put under the care of Major Hussein Marella in December 1971 were also killed in this period,  reportedly on Amin's orders.  Hundreds of innocent people were trapped in a vicious circle of violence.  All the members of these paramilitary units used violence for their own selfish motives:  the demarcation line between offically sponsored and private violence was very thin.

Thousands of people in Uganda were tortured by government agents.  Detainees might be made to go through humiliating muscular ordeals such as "hopping like a frog" while being beaten.  The victim's eyes might be gouged out and left hanging out of their sockets.  During the "wheel torture," the victim's head was put in a wheel-rim that was repeatedly struck with iron bars.  People were beated with hammers, mallets, or iron bars to break their limbs as well as kill them.  Wires were attached to the victim's genitals, nipples, or other sensitive parts of the body and then connected to an electric battery or wall socket.  Women were raped or otherwise sexually abused.  Prisoners were slashed with knives and bayonets, body organs were mutilated and limbs cut off.  Prisoners might be lined up and every second one would be ordered to hammer the first to death,  the second one would be ordered to hammer the first to death, the second would be hyammered by the thrid, and so on, until only one was left to tell the tale to other prisoners.  Such incidents often happened at Makindye prison.  There were by no means the only forms of torture; theyere were many others.

Important or prominent people were killed like other prisoners.  However, their bodies were dismembered and parts used for ritual purposes.  For example, the head of Brigadier Suleiman Husein, who was killed at Makindye, was cut off and taken to Amin, who is reported to have addressed it and kept it in a fridge.  The penis of Colonel Mesesura Arach, commander of the First Infrantry, was severed and plugged into his mouth.  Few victims were given a proper burial.  Their bodies were thrown into rivers (such as the Nile at karuma, Jinja and other places), Kioga, Wamala, etc.), in mass graves,or burnt in their houses or cars.  Michael Kagwa's body was left in his burnt car as was the body of Father Clement Kiggundu, editor of Munno, a daily.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Robert (Bob) Scanlon

Robert Scanlon (fourth from left) carrying Amin, went missing shortly after this event.  Like the hundreds of thousands murdered by Amin and his regime, his body has not been recovered, does anybody know what happened to him? Why was he murdered? When? Where?  Where are his remains?

Please see appeal by his daughter hereunder.
My father, Robert (Bob) Scanlon went murderedormissing (MoM?) in Uganda in 1977.  This was during the Idi Amin years. I just wonder does any one out there have any information which might help to discover what happened to him and why?
my father is the second from the left, the one with the moustache
My brother said he was told petrol was poured on my father in a room at the state research bureaux and he was set on fire. My brother did not feel that this was the truth.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Amin's Rule.

In the first few weeks after the 1971 coup d'etat, Amin set about eliminating suspected opponents in the army.  While Obote used the 1967 Detention Act to lock his opponents in prisons where they were "well treated."  Amin killed them.  Such was the fate of various high-ranking officers known or perceived to be his opponents.  There were mass killings of members of the GSU, the Special Force, Police, Prisoners and civilians.  Victims were abducted by loyal security men, put on trucks and taken to prisons like Luzira, Makindye, Mutukula, and Jinja, which had been turned into slaughterhouses.
Bodies were dumped in lakes, rivers, forests, and isolated areas.  Mass graves were dug near barracks by prisoners who were themselves eventually killed.  Traditional Kakwa rituals were resurrected.  Parts of the body, including the penis, were often cut off and ceremoniously put into the mouth of the victim.  If the victime was a tough opponent of the regime, his head was preserved and "addressed" by those in authority.

Amin consolidated his base in the army by using his own ethnic groups.  In march 1971 more than thirty Acholi/ Langi soldiers were dynamited at Makindye Barracks.  On 22 July 1971 about 150 to 500 Acholis and Langi from Simba Battalion, Mbarara, were hearded into trucks, taken to an isolated ranch, and gunned down.  On going to Israel and Europe in July 1971, Amin gave orders for the elimination of the Langi and Acholi soldiers fearing they might organize a coup.  At Mbarara soldiers from these ethnic groups were separated from the rest and taken to their deaths.  On 9 July 1971 about twenty new Acholi/Langi recruits were killed; more died the following day.  Between 10 and 14 July 1971 some fifty Acholi/ Langi soldiers were killed at Magamaga Ordnance Depot.  Further massacres of these ethnic groups occurred at military barracks at Masindi, Soroti, and Kitgum.  On 5 February 1972, about 117 soldiers and other security men of the Obote regime were mowed down as they tried to escape.

What is upsetting about Ugandans is that while the Langi and Acholi suffered, many laughed thinking their turn would never come.......  But wherever violence occurs in the state, it eventually overflows to everyone.  By 1971 the fires of political violence that had been lit at Nakulabye were spreading into the rural areas of Apac, Lira and Gulu.  Soon they would scorch all the land.

Amin based his support in the armyon the Kakwa and Nubi, with the former Anyanya Zairean and Sudanese forming the nucleus to which were attached other West Nile groups like the Madi, the Lugbara, and the Alur.  Other individuals were bound to Amin or his lieutenants on a clientele basis, including Smartus Guwedeko.  Francis Itabuka, Kassimu Obura, and many others.  His political fortunes began to decline when he narrowed his base by gradually trimming th larg West Nile support in the army.  From 1971 to 1972 the Alur were gradually marginalized.  Lieutenant Colonel Valentine Ochima, an Alur with a following in the army, was imprisoned in July 1971 and shot the following year.  After the 1972 invasion of Uganda by Ugandan exiles, Alurs were removed from most strategic positions.  The turn of the Madi came in late 1972.  Amin accused all Madi of drunkenness and removed them from sensitive positions.  He then called in Madi elders to explain to them the crimes of "their sons".  Pruning of the Lugbara began in early 1972.  Their "son," Obitre-Gama, was dismissed in march as Minister of Internal affairs, brought back in a minor portfolio and again dismissed in mid 1973.  Another Lugbara, Lieutenan Colonel Ondoga, the ambassador to Moscow, was recalled and made minister of Foreign Affairs.  He was later publicly dismissed and his body was found floating in a river.  Many Lugbaras were killed at this time.  Amin dismissed his Lugbara wife, though he took the opportunity to divorce two more from other ethnic groups as a show of "tribal impartiality."

By 1975 the Kakwa-Nubi-Anyanya core had closed ranks and was the foundation of Amin's power machine.  They held most of the strategic positions, manned key installations, and easily grouped whenever there was trouble.  The other alienated West Nile groups did not fight Amin because they rightly judged that it was not in their interest to overthrow him.  If he were overthrown, they would be punished for their natural association with him.  Subsequent events have proved them right: the Acholi/Langi militia brutalized the whole population of West Nile in 1980-83 for being associated with Amin on ethnic basis.

Source:  The Social Origins of Violence in Uganda 1964-1985.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Mr Masembe Yusuf Ssewanyana

Brooke Bond (OXO)

Masembe the Manager of Broke Bond Tea Factory was executed for his failure to provide sufficient quantitites of tea for Amin's exports to pay for his imported luxury.
"Mr Masembe Yusuf Ssewanyana"

1 – 6 of 6
Blogger Trudy said...
My name is Gertrude Masembe a daughter to the late Masembe Yusuf Ssewanyana. I did not live to see my father because he did barely before i made 3years. I have over the years been wondering why my father was murdered and i want to thank The author of "Atrocities of Amin" for having answered this question on my heart. To daddy i miss you and may your soul rest in eternal peace.
14 December 2009 01:24
Blogger Julie said...
Daddy, even when years are long past, the pain never seems to heal. It is sad that you died such a painful death. Juliet Nabyonga Masembe
23 September 2010 10:33
Blogger Henry said...
Dad, I am honored to be your child and to have shared my early childhood days with you. It is sad that you left us so early. Even though we cannot physically see you, you will always live in our hearts until that glorious day when we meet again (eye-to-eye). Life has been hard without you dad, but the good Lord has been kind to us. I will always love you
Henry Masembe Katumwa
8 November 2010 11:29
Blogger TIMOTHY said...
Daddy, am timothy, its a pity that you died such a terrible death, in your death, may we as your children have even more faith to stand together as one, may God guide us in all our work and always remember to keep hope alive.
We shall always remember your love and hard work.
To my bro henry katumwa in the US, we miss you.
God bless.
30 December 2010 00:46

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Theresa Nanziri Bukenya

The Sad Demise of Theresa Nanziri Bukenya

It was on the evening of June 22nd 1976 when Idi Amin's regime committed a heinous act. Theresa Nanziri Bukenya, then a warden of Africa Hall at Makerere University, was picked from her residence by men from the dreaded State Research Bureau. Two days later Nanziri's dead body was found with bullet wounds on the neck, at River Ssezibwa. Nanziri had joined along list of others who suffered cold death at the hands of Idi Amin.

Bear in mind that she was 7 months pregnant at the time of her murder

Who was Nanziri?

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Abdul Kidega

Police Officer:  Brother of Colonel Nyero

Murdered by Amin's henchmen in the 1970's.  Please update info hereunder or send information pertaining to this grotesque crime to

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Bishop Janani Luwum

Idi Amin with Archbishop Luwum. Note the pistol at the side of Amin. He was said to have used it shortly afterwards to murder the Archbishop.

Bishop Luwum was tortured and killed by Amin and Minawa Farouk at Nakasero State Research Bureau torture chambers in 1977.

We forgave Amin, says Luwum family

This Month (February 2012) marked 34 years since the death of Archbishop Janan Luwum, who was allegedly murdered by State Research Bureau, an intelligence outfit under President Idi Amin’s regime. His son, Ben Okello Luwum, the former minister of Lands from 1986 to 1990, Auditor General and now a private accountant, talked to Risdel Kasasira about the death of his father.

1. Could your father have done things differently to avoid death or having confrontations with Idi Amin and to what extent should religious leaders get involved in politics?
Amin and his men were terrible people. Just seeing you drive a beautiful car; you are dead. If his soldiers liked your house, they would kill you. So, I don’t know the kind of answer I can give but I know he handled it well because Amin would kill for any reason.
There was no rule of law. Every religious leader is like I and you. They can comment about political issues whenever they get an opportunity because like any other Uganda, they should ask questions about political decisions in the country.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

'Jolly Joe' J.W. Kiwanuka

Journalist, MP and former president of Uganda National Congress

Long-time politician

Murdered in cold blood.

Joseph Kiwanuka had the dubious distinction of being killed by Idi Amin himself. First, however, he was kept in Makindye Prison/barracks for several days of torture. On the day of his execution, Amin and a top official named Malire determined to beat him to death with hammers. They intended to drag out the ordeal and prolong his suffering, but as Joseph began to pray out loud for the forgiveness of their sins, Amin went into an uncontrollable rage, grabbed a nearby sledge hammer, dashed out his brains.

Amin then cut off his head and practiced blood rituals over his remains. Recognizing Jolly Joe as the smartes man in Uganda he stored his head in a deep freezer, superstitiously believeing that he could thus appropriate his ability to think.

Jolly Joe Kiwanuka has found the Kingdom!

Adapted from A Distant Grief by F. Kefa Sempangi.

Drama Queen said...
This is my Grandad, he was a great man, he died fighting for what he believed in. and he lives forever in our hearts, his multitude of grand children are all propelled by the memory of his nobility, unshakeable sense of right and wrong, and his voice that tore through the threats of dictatorship and reached his beloved people of Uganda. I'm very proud to carry his name Melinda Nampiima KIWANUKA.

Monday, 3 February 2014

5th March 1971. 371 soldiers killed

371 Soldiers are believed to have been killed at Makindye barracks.

Frugence Musoke

Cousin of Nanziri

Genesis of murder:

According to Jane Mukasa Sserunjoji, prior to the kidnap of Nanziri, the same men from State Research Bureau had picked up Nanziri's best friend and cousin, Frugence Musoke who they allegedly used as bait to take away Nanziri from her residence without resistance or attracting attention from University students. Musoke then an accountant with East African Development Bank has never been seen again and relatives believe he was also killed. The kidnap and murder of Nanziri followed many other unexplained incidents at Makerere University that put Amin's regime under a magnifying glass.

Saturday, 4 January 2014


She was a resident of Kumi.  A well known lady of UPC.  She disappeared, she's presumed dead.

Dr Obace

He worked at Mulago and had conflict with one of the Soldiers and he was killed.

Captain Agona

He was killed at the border between Uganda and Tanzania, he had been trained in Britain as an engineer and was working as a Soldier in the Army.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Amin: Absence of the rule of law


As chariman of Defence Council, Amin signed a number of decrees that overturned the rule of law.  All political institutions, such as parliament, district, or town councils, were suspended after the military coup d'etat in 1971.  All political activities were banned: the president ruled by decree.  Citizens had no political or constitutional rights.  The secutiry forces could arrest people without warrant and detain them for as long as they wished.  But they were immuned from prosecution.  They were allowed to use any force they saw fit in arresting and preventing the escape of anyone suspected of being a kondo.  In practice, the soldiers were given the right to "shoot to kill".  Military Tribunals, formerly intended to handle cases involving military discipline in the army, were given the power to try civilians as well as extra powers to try suspected subversive elements.  Many members of the tribunals had no legal training and were illiterate.  As the economy began to decay, tough decrees were aimed at "economic crimes" such as overcharging, hoarding, smuggling, corruption, fraud, illegal currency sale, diversion of essential goods to "unscheduled destinations," and so on.  Judges who were supposed to arbitrate in civil conflicts within the legal bounds of the law were intimidated.  Chief Justice and former Democratic Party leader Ben Kiwanuka was murdered by government agents who abducted him from the High Court on 21 September 1972.  Amin had publicly criticized his independent judgment, referring to him as a prominent "Masaka Citizen" with a big job in whom the government had lost confidence.......

The president of the Industrial Courts Raphael Sebugwaawo Amooti, was killed by State Research Bureau officers on 13th March 1978.

Court verdicts were not respected by the security forces.  Any lawyer who successfully defended a client in whom security men were interested was in trouble.  Not onliy was the verdict ignored by the security forces but the lawyer could also be arrested.  Enos Sebunnya is a case in point.  In 1973 he successfully defended a businessman, Samson Ddungu, who was acquitted against the wishes of a security man who had an interest in Ddungu's business.  Ddungu was shot dead and Enos Sebunnya was arrested and trotured.  he later left the country and went to live in Canada.

"Disappearances" were the most visible manifestation of the absence of rule of law.  People were arrested or abducted and killed outside established legal structures.  The Government became the major law breaker in the country and bad elements in society followed.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Alex Ojera

Alex Ojera; right.

Obote's Minister of Information.

Killed in 1972

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Okidi Moi Me Madi Opei

prominent Cooperative guy from Patongo or somewhere there who used to come to our hous in Madi Opei, his name was Okidi something Moi, he was also murdered.

Source: Witheld.

Balusaba Lutoo Bar Lucima

Balusaba Lutoo Bar Lucima (UPC Branch Chariperson) Murdered.

Outside of the military, Acholi local UPC and cooperative
 society and district council leaders who were all rounded
 up and killed, were done with the collaboration of local
 Acholi DPs, who went from place to place, betraying their
 kin, that they were UPCs or loyal to Obote. In Madi Opei,
 Mateo Oling (chairperson Land Board); Nathaniel Ochoo
 (cooperative secretary), Timoni Obonyo (Chairperson
 cooperative), Amitayo Olak (Parish Chief of Pobura) and
 Balusaba Lutoo Bar Lucima (UPC branch chairperson) were
 extra-judicially executed; excepted for my uncle Balusaba,
 the rest have never been found or their graves known. This
 pattern was repeated throughout Acholi, and probably
 Uganda. I remember, another prominent Cooperative guy from
 Patongo or somewhere there who used to come to our house
 in Madi Opei, his name was Okidi something Moi, he also
 suffered the same fate. I am sure if we are honest, many
 other Acholi from other parts of Acholi will tell the same

Source: witheld

Amitayo Olak

Amitayo Olak (Parish Chief of Pobura)  Murdered.

Timoni Obonyo

Timoni Obonyo (Chairperson  cooperative) murdered.

Nathaniel Ochoo

Nathaniel Ochoo (Cooperative Secretary) murdered.