The U.S. government has evacuated all dependents of American personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Kampala because of rising violence in the Ugandan capital, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy here said today.
The five women and four children flew here from Kampala yesterday and will remain here "until security conditions in Kampala improve," embassy spokesman Ben Fordney said.
The U.S. Embassy here said the evacuation was "purely a precautionary step in response to recent attacks in Kampala by antigovernment groups." But other U.S. officials said it was also because of the government response to those attacks.
In recent weeks, guerrilla groups trying to topple the 3-month-old government of President Milton Obote have attacked a military convoy and key installations around Kampala.
In the last two weeks, Obote has closed five weekly newspapers that criticized the Ugandan Army.One guerrilla group claimed government troops killed 65 Ugandans last weekend in reprisal for guerrilla attacks.
Reached by telephone in Kampala, the U.S. Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission David Halstead said the United States was the only country so far to evacuate dependents. But Halstead said that the United Nations has not allowed dependents in Uganda since 1979 and most other diplomatic missions have recruited single people.