Uganda denies Museveni feared Gaddafi assassination attempt

Uganda denies Museveni feared Gaddafi assassination attempt

A spokesman for Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday rejected claims in a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks that he feared Libyan leader Moammer Gaddafi would attempt to have him killed, DPA reported.

"Museveni noted that tensions with Gaddafi are growing and as a result and he worries that Gaddafi will attack his plane while flying over international space," read a June 2008 cable sent by a United States diplomat after Museveni met Jendayi Frazer, who was the US's top diplomat for Africa at the time.

"Museveni requested that the US and Ugandan governments coordinate to provide additional air radar information while he flies over international space," the cable added.

The Ugandan president and Gaddafi, two of Africa's old-school strongman leaders, indulged in a long-running spat over the Libyan head of state's plans for the "United States of Africa" - an idea Museveni believed was unworkable.

However, Museveni's spokesman Joseph Tamale Mirundi told the German Press Agency dpa: "Those comments seem to be out of context because the president has gone to Libya many times and was there only recently."

"This reference on Libya requires the president's own reaction because it is really unfounded," he added.

Cables written between 2007 and 2008 also claimed Museveni believed Sudan was helping the Lord's Resistance Army, which fought a long rebellion in northern Uganda.

According to the cables, Museveni believed the government in Khartoum was supporting the LRA as late as 2007, even when the talks to end the rebellion were ongoing, saying: "Behind all this thing is Sudan, Sudan, Sudan."

He also was concerned that Eritrea was a threat to Ugandan peacekeepers operating in war-torn Somalia.

Tamale Mirundi confirmed that Uganda's concerns over Sudan and Eritrea were genuine.

"Every country has interests to pursue beyond its borders. WikiLeaks may have distorted his opinions and I need to confirm with him but we have had a problem with Sudan. It was supporting the LRA and the president was concerned," he said.

"If the president expressed his opinion on Eritrea with the US official as WikiLeaks says, it was legitimate," he added. "Eritrea was and is still a regional threat."

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