UNITED NATIONS, OCT. 21 -- President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda today dismissed reports of friction with neighboring Kenya as the work of "some Kenyan elements who own trucks and are not happy because we have shifted the export of our coffee from road transport {through Kenya} to rail transport."

This statement brought broad smiles to the faces of his entourage and snickers from knowing African reporters at his U.N. news conference because of what Museveni did not say.

"Everyone in East Africa knows that President Daniel arap Moi is the private owner of the largest fleet of trucks in Kenya," said one African member of the U.N. Secretariat attending the briefing. "The feud is a personal one."

Museveni said Uganda had been losing $96 a ton -- $70 million a year -- by shipping coffee, its major cash crop, by truck to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

"This measure has hit the pockets of the truck owners," he said, but added, "We are using Kenya Rail so the treasury of Kenya is benefiting. We think that's one of the problems between us; they don't say it, but that's what we hear."

Kenya and Uganda have accused each other of harboring insurgents, and Uganda has stationed troops at the border. Newspapers in both capitals have fueled the war of words.

In a speech to the General Assembly earlier this morning, Museveni focused on what he called the improvement in Uganda's human rights record and its economic recovery plan.

He cited the 1987 Amnesty International yearbook, which noted "a significant improvement in respect for human rights in Uganda in 1986."

He did not quote the group's caveat, reporting the "detaining of government opponents and the ill treatment, disappearance or extralegal execution of civilians" in areas of rebel activity.

Almami Cyllah, an Amnesty International official in Washington, said today that, since July, 800 people have been imprisoned in Uganda, civilians have been killed by the Army and there have been reports of torture.

"The abuses have escalated since we contacted the government about them," he said.