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Uganda and the Weaponization of HIV/AIDS

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Ever since Ugandan Member of Parliament David Bahati introduced Uganda's infamous, forever pending Anti-Homosexuality Act, a.k.a., Hang-the-Gays bill, in October 2009, I have been urging attention to its overall African human rights context.  This 07-24-2011 KPFA Radio News report, on the day of the London Observer's publication, "The Rape of Men," is part of that ongoing effort: 

KPFA  Weekend News Anchor Cameron Jones:   Today London Observer published a report and photo essay on the use of male on male rape as a weapon in East/Central Africa.  KPFA's  Ann Garrison spoke to Ugandan American Milton  Allimadi , Editor of the New York City-based Black Star News.  Allimadi  was one of the first to write not only about male on male rape as a weapon, but also about male on male rape by HIV-infected soldiers to intentionally infect targeted communities.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Milton  Allimadi , in 2008, you published, in the Black Star News, "Targeted Rapes to Spread HIV Began in Uganda," a shocking story that you had been unable to persuade the New York Times to carry in the  1990s .  You said then that you had spoken to a doctor who told you he was convinced there was a policy to spread HIV because, for the first time, men were also being raped by Ugandan government soldiers.  Could you explain the conflict situation in which this occurred?  

Milton   Allimadi :  Well, it occurred in the period after  Yoweri   Museveni's  insurgency prevailed in Uganda, and he became president in 1986.  Now when his soldiers reached the northern part of Uganda, initially, they were actually welcomed. But then after some time, some of his soldiers became abusive and it inspired or sparked resistance in that part of the country, particularly from the  Acholi .  And then  Museveni's  army, the National Resistance Army, mounted several very brutal, anti-insurgency campaigns, and during one of these campaigns, among some of the acts of brutality that the leaders from the northern part of Uganda alleged, was that soldiers were for the first time raping men as well as women. And this was something that had never been heard of, or even imagined, in Uganda. Certainly not in  Acholi .  

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KPFA :  Why has no one in Uganda challenged ruling  NRM  Party MP David  Bahati  about this, given that he is the author of this Anti-Homosexuality bill which, in its first version at least, allowed the death penalty for serial acts of homosexuality or homosexual acts while HIV positive, regardless of consent or precaution?

Milton   Allimadi : Well, there are a number of things. First of all, he would not admit that such acts were being perpetrated by soldiers in the national army. He would most likely demand that whoever raised that question to him should produce one of the perpetrators that happens to be a member of the Ugandan army. And that is a challenge that would not be easily surmountable, since it is unlikely that the government of Uganda would arrest its own soldiers or identify soldiers that might have been deployed for this diabolical act. 

KPFA : Milton  Allimadi , thank you for speaking to  KPFA .

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Milton   Allimadi : Thank you for having me again.



KPFA :   Milton  Allimadi  is one of many Africa advocates who have decried the  U.S . use of the Ugandan army as its proxy in Somalia and Sudan despite documentation of its war crimes in Congo and Uganda.  
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For  Pacifica KPFA , and  AfrobeatRadio , I'm Ann Garrison.  

 

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Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at (more...)
 

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