……………….WALL of REMEMBERANCE………………..

 My father, Robert (Bob) Scanlon went murderedormissing (MoM?) in Uganda in 1977.  This was during the Idi Amin years. I just wonder does any one out there have any information which might help to discover what happened to him and why.

Let this be a ‘wall of rememberance’ for my father


The story behind The Zuri Project Uganda: part 1

Out of the darkness comes light…. my father’s legacy

The Zuri Project Uganda

In this mini-series, Martin Hewell, Co-founder of The Zuri Project Uganda, talks vividly and passionately about his wonderful experiences in Africa so far, and how his passion for social change has shaped his desire to help those less fortunate than himself. A truly remarkable story of determination, self-awareness and unassuming humour, Martin will be sharing his experiences over the past four years, and how the relationships he has developed have contributed to the creation of The Zuri Project Uganda. Here is the first in a five part mini series, enjoy! 

First of all, why Uganda?!

Well, where do I start?! I could talk for a long, long time about this very special, intriguing and unique country. Interestingly, Uganda wasn’t the first country I visited in Sub-Saharan Africa. I say interestingly, because people always say, “Oh you are doing lots of work in Uganda, so you fell in love with the first place you travelled in…

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The rise of Idi Amin in Uganda, 1971-72

The Times Obituaries Bob Astles

Astles arriving at court in Kampala: he was an official at the heart of the country’s dreaded State Research Centre
Geoffrey White / Daily Mail / Rex Features

Bob Astles is dead! The LondonEvening Post

The London Evening Post regrets to announce the death of one of our most revered columnists. Robert Asketill, the man famously known to many as ‘Bob Astles’ and to his friends as ‘Bob’ and the man who founded the Uganda Aviation Services, the first airline to employ Ugandans which was renamed ‘Uganda Airlines’ by Idi Amin, has died.

He was responsible for my father’s murder and should have had the guts to admit the part he played in the death of so many innocent people. He even had to conceal his own death for fear of recrimination. He took his ugly secrets to his grave. He tried to fool many in his latter years but he can not fool those who know his true nature. He destroyed my family and many others, only the universe can grant forgiveness to those who commit such atrocities.

It is ridiculous to write a ‘revered columnists. Robert Asketill, the man famously known to many as ‘Bob Astles’…. as though he was actually called Robert Asketill and that he was only famed as ‘Bob Astles’. His name was Bob Astles, and the assumed name of Robert Asketill clear concealed the true identity of a man with blood on his hands. How ever much he did to help people in his latter years he still had to conceal his death and burial for fear of recrimination knowing his own guilt, and the part he played in the murder of my father only one of many innocent people to die at his hands.

The Telegraph – Bob Astles

Bob Astles

Bob Astles, who has died aged 88, was, as the British-born adviser and factotum to the bloodthirsty Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, the most hated white man in postcolonial Africa.

Bob Astles Joins Idi Amin Dada

Bob Astles Joins Idi Amin Dada.

Comment by frankgreen47:

Do you not check your copy before you print artlcles? There are so many spelling and grammatical mistakes, its embarrassing.As for Astles, he was a disgrace – running around after Amin whilst thousands were being butchered and mutilated all over the country by Amin’s thugs. And for those from the north who say that the accounts of Amin’s brutaity were untrue, wake up and smell the coffee. Or do some proper research.

So Near and Yet So Far…

From the research that I have done so far the following leads have been identified:

1. Ugandan National Liberation Front (UNLF) government that succeeded Idi Amin published photos in newspapers of agents and informers of the dreaded State Research Service from organisational files. The whole list was never published, today no one talks about it.

2. Joel Kbazo (jkibazo@yahoo.co.uk) – media consultant and former Director of Communications at the Commonwealth Secretariat (Article in the Guardian 13/1/07 ‘A brute, not a buffoon’). Journalist and diplomat in Africa. Writes about New Year’s Eve at the Sheraton with his British daughters. His father was a lawyer and senior civil servant appointed to be Amin’s Justice Minister and Attorney General ‘No one could refuse an appointment made by the great leader, nor displease him with unwanted advice… all were under the death sentence’.

3. Fredrick Guweddeko – researcher Makerere University.

4. The Uganda Society – (a Ugandan Exile Group) formed in Kenya by Dr Martin Aliker (our dentist in Kampala) and Yusuf Lule (my brother was at school with his son in Kampala).

5. Sir Peter Allen – Former Chief Justice. author of <a href=”Interesting Times: Uganda Diaries, 1955-86“>’ A Briton who lived in Uganda and wrote about life in Uganda under Idi Amin. Retired to the Cayman Islands. Nothing in the book refers to my father.

6. Maritn Jamison – Author of ‘Idi Amin and Uganda: An Annotated Bibliography of published material on Idi Amin and Uganda during the Amin years’.

7. Dr Vincent Magombe – Historian (?correlator of above?).

8. Brain Barron – British Foreign Correspondent. Went to the Secret Police HQ.

9. Tim Rice BBC HardTalk interviewer – interviewed Bob Astles

10. Obof Ufumbi – (deceased) Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Finance – knew where all the bodies were (according to Bab Astle’s).

11. Frouk SRB (?deceased) – was the Killer (according to Astles).

12. Henry Kyemba – Minister author of <a href=”A State of Blood“>

13. Other ‘Carriers’:

Tony Coe (address: Mr & Mrs A Coe, 70 Jackson Ave, Mickleover, Derby, DE3 5AT, tel: 033253006)

Stan Smolen,

14. Dr Carswell – Microbiologist at Mulago hospital and know to my father – reported to have been called to attend to my father who was beyond medical help.

15. Dr George William Lukwiya – prisoner at the State Research Bureau for 3 months in 1978. Alleged that 30-60 prisoners died per day.

16. National Archives Entebbe.

17. Matthew Kakambe – Kampala Mortuary. 15 bodies dumped per night

18. Coopers Motors: father worked for this organisation whose ?Director Bruce MaKenzie died when his plan exploded when flying from Entebbe to Nairobi in 1977. Another member of this organisation was also imprisoned. The chairman of Cooper Motor’s reported their contacts in Uganda had been ‘warned off making further enquiries’ regarding father. (19/Oct/77).

19. Colin Legum (ed) East African Contemporary Record V African Research Bulletin 1971 – 1979

20. Joseph Kamau & Andrew Cameron – Authors of <a href=”http://Lust to Kill: Rise and Fall of Idi Amin“> Robert Kamu was a 47 year old, Kampala based Kenyan business man, arrested in April 1977, and one of a group of the Kenyan prisoners who was held in a house on Kololo Hill (3 houses away from command post). He made a report to the British High Commission in Nairobi. He had witnessed numerous execution’s at this place. He reported that he had seen a European who he was able to establish was an employee of Cooper Motors (the Ugandan women detainees had established this), who had told him he was from the UK, British and confirmed he worked for Cooper Motors Corporation. He had been shown a picture of my father which he said resembled the European whose face he had seen briefly through the window. His information was that the European was due to be executed on 3/9/77.

In a newspaper article he also stated: – my father was brought there in June 1977 during his imprisonment. – He reported that my father arrived in a Datsun car number plate: UVS 300. – That my father was brought there one night in June, in a convoy of 2 cars, both cars were occupied by the State Research personnel, that he said he was British – aged about 50 – that he was ‘heavily bearded’ , stockily built, – in reasonably good health – 3 women: 1 Tanzanian (Regina 23 – 30 years old, a mother of 3, a business woman) and 2 Ugandan’s (Ruth and Sofia ? executed on the 26th August 1977) were also being held at the house, in a room next to the European man. He asked them to pray for him and did not expect to leave alive.

Joseph Kamau escaped with seven others: Rose Makuhi Kamu (his wife), George Njogu Kimoni (or Kimonyi), Margaret Wairimu Njogu (wife), Geoffrey Kimano Chege (or Kimani) (who was 24 yrs old), Jane Mboni Karini, Jane Wnjiru Kanene, Njuguna Mwangi.

21. General Lumago, believed to be a Minister in Amin’s government – informed Mr I, a contact of the British High Commission in Nairobi that my father was definitely dead (19/12/77)

22. Moses Ali – Minister of Finance. Mother found him to be decent but at that time he regretted that he had no information about father.

23. Major Grahame – mentioned in the documents by the FCO.

24. Norman Kirkham – reporter Sunday Telegraph. Contact with Bob Astles who reported father to be ‘well, and his friends should have nothing to worry about’ (on the 15th September) and that ‘there would be an announcement soon about Scanlon’ (there was an announcement made on 22/9/77 that he had escaped two weeks previously). Norman Kirham thought that Astle’s only said what Amin wanted him to say. Said father was under house arrest at 4, Copice Road, Acacia Road,Kampala. Expected an announcement on Tuesday (as of 16/9/77) Kirham had spoken to Mwanga (former Ugandan Ambassador to France), who said that father’s arrest had been a ‘business affair’ relating more to Ivory and mishandling of African staff than to political matters.

25. Paul Martin (Paul Martin Cainer) – reporter for The Observer. Published an article on 9/10/77 reporting that father had been beaten to death with a sledge hammer at the house prison on Kololo on 14/9/77. His contact (? who) ‘a Ugandan official’ saw father every day. Said had been struck 15 – 20 times, and face smashed beyond recognition. Bodies were dragged to a waiting truck. Then taken to a military hospital where father was seen by another informant. Killing personally supervised by Major Farouk. Paul Martin stated that Robert Kamu had the contact details of the informants.

26. Report in the Daily Mail by Brian Jeffries (associated reporter in Nairobi) re – Captain Joseph Mwanga – Uganda Air Force Captain. Jeffries was put in touch with Mwanga by a Ugandan exile. He said the story was plausible, but had not been verified. Reported that father was taken to Nakasero (SRB HQ) 2 days before execution and kept under heavy guard, no one could talk to him. On the day (19/9/1977) was taken by jeep to the Namanve forest. He – wearing a grey suit an open necked shirt and no shoes. 5 others, including Mwanga were driven to the forest on the jinja road., 6 (?7) miles from Kampala. Walked into the forest about 1/2 a mile. Father was suddenly hammered on the head by a private with a 14lb hammer, he fell down unconscious. His head was then hammered by each of the prisoners until it was unrecognizable (including Mwanga). The body was doused with gasoline and set alight. Mwanga escaped on 4/10/77 after the guards were bribed.

27. Mr Ovonji – former Minister of Public Service & Mr Ofungi former Commissioner of Police. 18/10/77 Mr Ofungi, father’s neighbour in Kampala, said he knew him well. Said Elaine Lobedra (Ssebaggala) was personal secretary to Bob Astle’s, had met his wife in Kampala at end of August and told her your neighbour is dead, she took this to refer to father.

28. Nurse Monica Nansamba – (26 years old) Ugandan Army nurse went to Nairobi. Had attneded Mengo primary, Gayaza High school, Nurse training at Mulago – Registered Nurse.Worked at Mbuya military hospital. Said father was in Makindye prison under treatment from her for ulcers. On August 10th went with Captain Mawazi (dead by the next day), an army doctor, to Makindye prison clinic, to fetch father and other prisoners for treatment on order from Amin. While there they were called by Colonel Gabuliel, commander of the Military Police, told to go to Makindye Military police head quarters to collect some prisoners in bad condition. Did not take father to the hospital ..’Instead we would give him and the other prisoners who he said were in Makindye clinic. We were going to do something else’…she fled to Nairobi.

29. Christopher Twesige – secretary of the Uganda Human Rights Committee, former member of the Ugandan Foreign service, ?left Uganda in 1976, based in London in 1978 (aged 32)he announced at an Amnesty International press conference my father installed Torture Equipment. Scanlon had been close to Idi Amin at one time, that he had previously been employed by the Ugandan Government to buy and install electrical equipment for torture. He had bought the equipment in Britain and had it sent to Uganda where he adapted and installed it. He said that he had evidence from the most reliable sources that Scanlon was responsible for setting up the electric shock unit at Nakassero barracks, SRB HQ. Equipment flown from Stanstead at the same time he brought in various items of radio equipment. Said ‘I know for certain that Scanlon actually fitted out the torture chamber, but I have no knowledge if he saw it working.’…said ‘Scanlon was up to his neck in what was gooing on’.

30. Sole Maye – also worked for Cooper Motor’s he was also some sort of victim of the regime.? Cooper Motor’s was a ‘front’ for some other kind of activity?

31. Amnesty International Report 8/1977 – believed my father was in detention at Makindye Military Police HQ, and it was thought that he ws not being tortured, it was believed that he had contracted an illness during detention. He was known to be friends with President Amin, and a supporter of the regime. He assisted in the purchase of electrical surveillance equipment form a British firm, Contact Radio Telephones. Not involved in any activites against the regime, probable reason for his detention was in response to the strong criticisms made by Commonweath Heads of government about gross human rights violations in Uganda.

32. In may 1976 my father wrote to Major Farouk to inform him that he would have to stop working for the government due to financial difficulties. He was owed Shs 133,912.00 (£6695). My father signed the letter R.Scanlon Uganda Army Reserve. He subsequently had to borrow money from the bank.

33. Letter to mother from Amnesty International –in response to the allegations made by Christopher Twesigye: said AI did not have any information of that kind, and they thought on the basis of their experience in other countries, there was no need to look for any forgeign involvement in the installation or use of torture equipment in Uganda. They were still trying to find out what evidence Mr T. and the Uganda HR Group had for the allegations he made.