Gen. Mustafa Adrisi, who still considers himself vice president of Uganda and Idi Amin president, is living here 46 miles from the Ugandan border with his three wives and 36 children in the comfortable district magistrate's house. His Land Rover and Mercedes Benz sit at the door.
Adrisi is one of at least a dozen former Ugandan Cabinet ministers and top Army officers living in the southern Sudan towns and villages near the two countries' border with Zaire, the area where most of them come from originally. Amin's followers have been welcomed into every home in the area including that of Brig. Joseph Lagu, president of the autonomous southern region of Sudan.
None of them admits to knowing where Amin is hiding.
No one will be returned to Uganda unless he goes voluntarily, Lagu said. He added that President Jaafar Nimeri made this clear to Uganda's new foreign minister, Otema Alimadi, in Khartoum last week and that there have been no Ugandan requests for extraditions.
"The high-ranking people will be asked to fly to Khartoum from Juba," Lagu said.
None has gone yet. Lagu said the Sudanese government will provide accommodation for them but that the former ministers and officers will have to support themselves.
None of the older men look ready to move away from here permanently. Felix Onama, former Ugandan president Milton Obote's defense minister - and once Amin's boss - fled with thousands of cattle from his northern farm and is living in Lagu's house at Nimule on the border. Col. Juma Oris, Amin's foreign minister until early this year, was a boy with Lagu in Nimule until one went north to school while the other went south. He Onama, Oris, Adrisi and Brig. Moses Ali, once Amin's finance minister, are among those living here, apparently welcome like brothers. Each seems to be a personal friend of the powers in Juba's administration, who refer to them by their first names.
Seeing these men sitting quietly on the veranda of the Juba Hotel sipping tea, it is hard to remember that most of the world considers them criminals by virtue of their association with Amin. But to the Sudanese, all refugees must be welcomed and no judgments are made. The attitude is in marked contrast with that of Kenya, which has agreed to hand over to Uganda anyone guilty of a criminal offense where 47 extraditions, including fire of Amin's ministers, are imminent.
Lagu's concern about the situation in southern Sudan, where schools are being evacuated to house refugees and food shortages are becoming acute, is exacerbated by the reports he has been getting of "much killing."
"The advancing Army is commiting atrocities - a religious and tribal war," he said adding that Lule's army should be behaving "much differently" from Amin's.
Lagu, who fought in the 17-year civil war between Sudan's Arab north and black south, seemed pessimistic about a quick return to peace in Uganda. But whatever happens, the Nubians, Arab-speaking Moslems who went to Uganda 100 years ago, are unlikely ever to go back.
"They have been really hated and held responsible for the atrocities of Amin's regime," Lagu said.
Sitting under the trees in his dusty courtyard, Adrisi, Amin's trusted deputy for many years, said in Swahili that he considers Amin still to be Uganda's president because "no one has arrested him."
Adrisi's home was in Keri, six miles south of the Sudanese border. He was there throughout the battle to topple Amin until three weeks ago, when he fled to Sudan.
Some of the shootouts and internal struggles that sapped the Ugandan Army late last year were triggered by his supporters. But now, at 59, he seems to be out of touch with reality - he believes the Ugandan Army was beaten by a force of "15 nations, including Britain, America, Zambia and Ethiopia."
But Adrisi says he does not know where Amin is and does not believe Amin can mount a guerrilla war to return to power.
"It can't be done," he said.