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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Saudis Block Idi Amin’s Return

Idi Amin, the deposed Ugandan dictator, is unwelcome at his home-in-exile in Saudi Arabia, Arab diplomats said today.

”His nagging desire to recapture power in Kampala has embarrassed his Saudi hosts and put his African sympathizers on the spot,” said a Riyadh-based Arab Ambassador, who insisted on anonymity.

Mr. Amin, 61 years old, slipped out of Saudi Arabia this month and turned up Jan. 10 in Zaire on a false passport with one of his sons.

Uganda’s Government has demanded his extradition, probably to appear before a presidential commission investigating atrocities under previous regimes.

Mr. Amin, a former master sergeant who became one of Africa’s most ruthless dictators, was ousted from his East African nation in April 1979. He was granted political asylum in Saudi Arabia in 1980.

Saudis Supported Family

Saudi Arabia housed him and his family in a Jidda villa, giving him a monthly allowance, two cars and a telephone, on the understanding that he shun the press and quit politics. But according to people close to Mr. Amin, the dream of retaking power has haunted him. He apparently believed Saudi Arabia would use its influence to reinstate him as president of Uganda.

His wife and 22 of his children still are in the Saudi Red Sea port of Jidda, but the Arab diplomat said he had finally alienated his hosts by traveling to Zaire on false documents.
”Idi Amin has gone too far this time, stretching the rules of Saudi hospitality to the limits,” the ambassador said. ”He has been quietly looked upon as persona non grata and won’t be allowed to return.”

Zaire refused to accept Mr. Amin and sent him to Senegal to catch a flight to Riyadh. But Saudi officials barred him from boarding the plane, and the Senegalese returned him to Kinshasa, the capital of Zaire.

His predicament has drawn no public comment from Saudi officials.

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