Kenya' government-owned news agency reported today that a massacre is taking place in Uganda and that hundreds of Ugandan soldiers have fled to Kenya where they have surrendered their arms.
Western diplomats and businessmen in Kampala, Uganda's capital, said, however, that the city is calm although they are baffled by the mysterious apparent disapperance of President Idi Amin.
Quoting their own diplomatic sources and official Kenyan border authorities, the Kenyan report said that the defecting Ugandan soldiers, including 30 officials, have surrendered weapons to Kenyan authorities and are registering as refugees.
This is the first reaction by the Kenyans news agency to this week's reports of unrest in Uganda, but so far no other sources have confirmed their stories.
In fact,Western diplomats and businessmen in Kampala said today that business is going on as usual, despite roadblocks surrounding the city.
Other sources in Uganda say that there has been sporadic gunfire in the vicinity of Kampala and Entebbe all week.
The Kenyan news agency says it receivewd reports of an army purge and a massacre. It reports that Uganda's State Research Bureau - Amin's brutal security force - is killing innocent civilians and that there are "mass movements of troops, especially in Kampala and Jinja," a town in eastern Uganda.
According to reports circulating here in recent days, unknown gunmen tried to kill Amin late last week and he is now wounded and recuperating.
The Uganda president was last reported seen Thursday, when he spoke to a large audience in Kampala gathered to hear the finance minister's annual budget message.
Earlier this week Kenys's Daily Nation, which has long been hostile to Amin, reported an assassination attempt against Amin on Saturday and said he could be dead or wounded.
When contacted by telephone at Amin's hilltop command post, Uganda soldiers said he has been missing since Friday. But Abdul Nassir, the Information Ministry's permanent secretary, said today that he did not know if Amin is missing or not.
This is the second time in a month that Amin has apparently vanished. He "disappeared" for three days earlier this month after announcing that he was on his way to the Commonwealth conference in London.
He later said he had never left Uganda but was meeting "revolutionary leaders" from Zambia and Tanzania.
After attending a Cabinet meeting today, Nassir confirmed that Amin had not been present. "But he's usually not at Cabinet meetings," Nassir added.
He did say, however, that Uganda's vice president, Gen. Mustafa Adrisi, was at the meeting. Adrisi has also been reported missing.
Radio Uganda, Amin's usual mouth-piece, today said Saturday that he met with a group of Uganda delegates returning from the organization of African Unity's liberation committee meeting in Luanda, Angola. The station has not uttered a word about Amin's being missing or suggested that there is any turbulence in Kampala.
Even diplomats in Kampala are not certain that Amin is really missing. One said the unpredictable dictator again may have stage-managed his own disappearance and is preparing to pounce on anyone who tries to sieze power in his feigned absence.
Another diplomat specualated that Amin may be wounded but added, "He is probably still in charge."
Reports that Amins's command post is surrounded by large numbers of heavily armed soldiers, tanks and armoured personnel carriers lend support to the theory that he is still in Kampala and directing the show, but nobody in Nairobi or Kampala claims to know for sure where Amin is.
Britain's foreign secretary, David Ownens, said in London that he is sure Amin is alive and unharmed. He did not elaborate or say where he got his information.
[Amin is alive and well and confered with his finance minister yesterday, Reuter quoted diplomatic sources in Cairo as saying.The sources, who Reuter said have direct information on the situation in Uganda, said reports that Amin had been killed or wounded were completely false.]
[The Rev. Festo Kivingere, an Anglican bishop from Uganda living in exile in the United States, is among those who believe Amin may have staged his disappearance to justify an upcoming purge against opponents, according to the Associated Press. Staged assassination attempts, he was reported saying, "are just another way of purging those who do with them. Many tens of thousands have died in this way."]
[In Luxembourg, European Common Market officials said that EEC foreign ministers had decided to suspend all aid to Uganda that could be used to reinforce Amin's government.]