Set up in 1971 by the then president Idi Amin Dada, with his self-awarded titles such as His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal AL haji Dr. VC, DSO, MC, CBE, with the hand of Israelite architects, the torture chambers of Idi Amin were situated in Lubiri Mengo the palace of the King of the Kingdom of Buganda and are worth visiting while on your safari in Uganda. The primary purpose of this building was to act as an armory for ensuring the better keeping of the gun powder.
The chambers are comprised of five cells and the last one from the door is as dark as a yawning grave. The entrance was electrified, so Amin’s torture operatives would first blind fold the person and walk or drive him/her around the ring road in the palace road from morning to evening so as to confuse him/her where he’s from and where he/she’s – such road is still existing today and one can through it on this Uganda tour. Electricity at the entrance would be switched off before the person is entered into the chambers that were filled with electric connected water. Women and men were put together without any food supply and it is believed that over 200,000 people lost their lives from there.
Considering historical torture sites like; Nyamata church genocide site in Rwanda and Hoa Lo prison in Vietnam, Idi Amin’s chambers of torture in Uganda are a different standout from the former. Though without a clear like museum form of site interpretation and adequate signage, the torture chambers speak for themselves creating a lasting horror memory that will stick with you after your safari in Uganda. Surprisingly, these chambers sit behind some cabins and poultry can be seen running through liberally. The down ward slope ends in a narrow cement tunnel comprising of four rooms that were deliberately situated on platform to prevent escape.
The channel on the lower section was full of electrified water in which the hundreds of victims piled in a 10 by 10 foot room had to select from electro inducted death or by Amin’s operatives. Though asphyxiation was keen to claim its own share resulting from the immense bodies pilled in the cells.
As we talk now, Amin is no more and his activities too but this torture chamber is a living testimony of his wrath and a satisfier to those who have always heard about Amin in history thus can undertake a Uganda safari and have this for their lifetime. Though the water has gone and the cement is partly wearing out, the writings of despair on the walls written with blood and soil some reading “Cry Far Help Me The Dead” alongside several handprints are those that one lives to remember. The Amin’s torture chambers in Uganda can be visited alongside your Uganda gorilla safari/gorilla safaris, Uganda wildlife safaris/ safari or Uganda cultural tour.
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by Simon peter