Is it remotely possible that ex-dictator Idi Amin of Uganda is on the rampage again? Reports in the Ugandan capital of Kampala saya that a large area of northwest Uganda now is under control of defeated soldiers of Idi Amin who are making a comeback from across the frontiers of southern Sudan and eastern Zaire, in western Nile Province.
The Zaire government, however, categorically denies any Amin troops have come from its territory.
No independent observers have yet been able to penetrate this remote area of Uganda, but government sources in Kampala say that the district capitals of Arua and Moyo, the garrison headquarters at Bondo, and the trading centers of Koboko and Ldongo, have been overrun by Ugandan soldiers who say they are remnants of Idi Amin's armies.
It maybe significant that Koboko is the hometown of the ousted Idi Amin. It was in this area that the Amin forces made their last stand against Tanzanian troops and a Uganda army composed of exiles and rebels against the Amin excesses. Amin was defeated and went into exile in 1979.
Transportation in Kampala has been commandeered to carry troops who are short of military vehicles. On Oct. 11, protest notes were handed to the Zairean and Sudanese ambassadors by Uganda's Minister of Foreign Affairs Otema Alimadi. Mr. Alimadi also notified the United Nations Security Council and the Organization of African Unity.
But Uganda sources say there is considerable suspicion about these "Aminist" attacks, especially among the parties opposed to Milton Obote, a candidate for president in the current, very boisterous election campaign. First news of the border attacks came from Dr. Obote, a former president of Uganda who was ousted by Mr. Amin.
Officials of the Democratic Party express doubt about the "true nature" of these attacks, and of the purpose behind sending Uganda troops to the area. A large section of the Uganda National Liberation Army is known to favor Mr. Obote and the Army is split by different tribal and political factions. Some suspect it is a bid by Mr. Obote to entrench power in the northwestern area.
It does seem from Uganda reports, however, that Aminist troops, well armed, have invaded this area and that they have come from Zaire and southern Sudan where they have been living since the Amin defeat.
Idi Amin himself still presumed to be in Saudi Arabia in exile. Few in Uganda want to contemplate an Amin comeback, but this has always been a possibility.
On several occasions Amin has declared that he would one day make a comeback "to save Uganda from the politicians."