National Geographic : 1988 Apr
ran fast into the bush, and I was very lucky to get away from them. Everybody that the soldiers did catch they would kill. Everybody! In all this Luwero area there was nobody- everybody was killed, or they ran away. I want to bury my family, but you see, we fear to bury just bones like that. Unless the body is whole, we cannot bury it." The Nakaseke Hotel, a brown, three-story structure, served as UNLA headquarters in Nakaseke. Bullet holes pockmarked its walls and those of nearby houses, mostly aban- doned. Only SO people had returned to a town where more than 300 formerly lived. Above the doorway to an abandoned shop next to the hotel, some UNLA soldier had written the theme of their occupation : "A good Muganda is a dead one." I went into the hotel. The walls were cov- ered with graffiti: boasts of prowess in battle or love, drawings depicting torture methods- dripping molten plastic from ajerry can onto a victim's face, or the "three-point," in which the victim's elbows were tied together behind his back so that he could not breathe . From the roof I could see Joseph's fields and the reach of ruined shops along the road . They, the idle power lines, and derelict gas station indicated what used to be. A companion, Fred Wamala, pointed to the grassy field below: "Those soldiers, they used to bring people here . Especially they would catch young girls, girls of 12, 14. They tied their arms with wire. Then they raped them, and when they were finished, they threw them off this roof." The evidence was clearly visible: skulls, small piles of human bones, bits of rotting clothes, the twisted wire that had bound the victims' wrists. 476 CROSS-FIRE CAPITAL of Kampala) once among the most beautiful ofAfrican cities) became a war zone during the years of anarchy that began after Idi Amin)s take- over in 1971. Rampaging soldiers-often intoxicated-looted stores) turned local hotels into torture chambers) killed at will) and set up roadblocks to extract " soldiers ) pay )) at gunpoint from motorists. At this writing) Kampala)s streets are quiet again. But with few funds for repairs the capital is filled with telltale signs of Uganda)s long ordeal) such as bullet-riddled gov- ernment offices (right) .