August 3rd, 2012
08:34 AM ET

Prisoner with suspected case of Ebola escapes from hospital in Uganda

One of five prisoners receiving treatment for a suspected case of Ebola virus in Uganda escaped overnight Friday from the hospital at the center of the outbreak, a health official said.

"Should his results come back and he is positive, that causes us a lot of worry. So right now, we have resolved that the remaining prisoners will be cuffed on the beds for fear that they might also escape," said Dr. Jackson Amune, commissioner at the Ministry of Health.

The five inmates from Kibaale prison are among 30 people at Kagadi hospital with suspected cases of the virus. Two additional patients have confirmed cases, according to Doctors Without Borders.

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Filed under: Health • Uganda
August 1st, 2012
11:47 AM ET

More Ebola deaths in Uganda, officials say

Two more people have died in Uganda's Ebola outbreak, officials working at a hospital said Wednesday.

This brings the death toll to 16 people. They died in an outbreak that began in the Kibaale district in western Uganda.

One of the two latest deaths was of a 14-year-old boy whose nine relatives also have died in the outbreak in the district's Nyanswiga village, where the first case is thought to have been.

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Filed under: Uganda
June 20th, 2012
12:31 PM ET

Uganda bans 38 agencies it says are promoting gay rights

The Ugandan government said Wednesday it will ban at least 38 nongovernmental agencies it says are promoting gay rights and recruiting children into homosexuality.

"We have investigated them thoroughly and we have found their sponsors," said Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo. "We will ask them to step aside and stop pretending to work in human rights."

"Some NGOs, under the pretext of providing social services, are receiving funds to promote homosexuality," he said.

The organizations - both international and local - will lose their registrations and no longer be able to operate in Uganda. He did not name the groups on the list.

"The sooner they are phased out, the better," he said.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, as it is in many African countries, and legislation is pending in parliament that could bring even harsher penalties for gays.

At one point the bill included life imprisonment and even the death penalty. That provision was dropped, under intense pressure from donor countries, but several Ugandan politicians still plan to push it through parliament.

The announcement of the ban comes in the wake of a police raid Monday that disrupted a gay rights activists' workshop in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

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Filed under: Gay and lesbian • Uganda • World
March 12th, 2012
12:09 AM ET

Invisible Children to address questions in new film Monday

Invisible Children, the nonprofit group that produced a hugely popular half-hour documentary about the notorious African warlord Joseph Kony, says it will release a new film Monday to respond to criticism and questions over its approach.

The group's "KONY 2012" video had been viewed more than 72 million times on YouTube by late Sunday night. Invisible Children, based in San Diego, says it wants to make Kony a household name and drum up global support to end the murders, rapes, abuses and abductions committed by the Lord's Resistance Army in central Africa.

But with the popularity of the video and kudos to the filmmakers for raising awareness of an African tragedy came a flurry of questions about Invisible Children's intentions, its transparency and whether the social media frenzy was too little, too late.

"There's nothing to hide - Invisible Children has been transparent since 2004, when we started," Ben Keesey, the group's chief executive, said in an interview on "CNN Newsroom" Sunday night. "That's our intention and we want to show that this campaign is part of a model and strategy that's comprehensive."

He said the group planned to release a 10-minute video Monday "that clicks through some of the questions."

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Filed under: Africa • Democratic Republic of Congo • Uganda
March 9th, 2012
07:22 PM ET

Overheard on Readers debate sudden rise of 'KONY 2012,' online activism

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

An organization called Invisible Children has been aiming to make Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony a household name. He certainly has attracted a good amount of attention. Our readers debated the sudden discussion.

As criticism surfaces, 'KONY 2012' gains momentum faster than Susan Boyle

Some readers were in support of the movement, and they started discussions with other readers.

tinwatchman: "On the one hand, yes, some concerns about the charity funding this. Yes, they seem to be spending an awful lot of money on filmmaking and promotions. On the other hand, the day before yesterday, no one had heard of Joseph Kony. You can fault their methods. But you can't fault their results."

sarahH: "Yes, they are good at making money. People had heard of Kony when he was committing these crimes, it just didn't register because they had more important things to do. They needed a hipster white guy telling them they can change the world by hitting a like button to care. This is progress? Where were you freaks when this was actually happening?"

America314: "Better cause than golden parachutes."

This commenter said they think it is all a fad. FULL POST

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Filed under: Overheard on • Uganda • World
'Stop Kony' video goes viral, puts spotlight on Ugandan warlord
A screengrab from the Kony 2012 campaign.
March 7th, 2012
04:04 PM ET

'Stop Kony' video goes viral, puts spotlight on Ugandan warlord

A half-hour documentary about a Ugandan warlord is one of the  hottest videos on the Web today, reposted several million times on various social networking sites.

The San Diego-based nonprofit Invisible Children produced the film. Their goal was to make Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, a household name. The LRA is notorious for abducting, raping and maiming its victims. They're particularly infamous for hacking off the ears and lips of their victims and recruiting child soldiers. The LRA's goal is to overthrow the Ugandan government. Kony is on the loose.

By Thursday, a video of the documentary has been viewed on YouTube at least 32 million times. There are countless tweets about it. Even Oprah appears to be a follower. The talk show queen had Invisible Children representatives on her show awhile back. The group tweeted her about the documentary, and she appears to have responded: "Thanks tweeps for sending me info about ending #LRAviolence. I am aware. Have supported with $'s and voice and will not stop. #KONY2012."

But several observers are urging caution, saying that Invisible Children has manipulated facts in the past and advised viewers to watch the documentary with that in mind.


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Filed under: Uganda
What is the Lord's Resistance Army?
Members of the Lord's Resistance Army stand guard in November 2008.
October 14th, 2011
03:17 PM ET

What is the Lord's Resistance Army?

The Lord's Resistance Army, formed in the late 1980s, is a sectarian military and religious group that operates in northern Uganda and South Sudan. It has committed numerous abuses and atrocities such as abducting, raping, maiming and killing civilians, including women and children, according to Its members are known for hacking off the lips and ears of their victims, looting villages and burning huts, and stealing clothes and medicine from the communities they terrorize, CNN has reported.

On Friday, President Barack Obama announced that he is sending about 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help hunt down the group's leaders.

The Lord's Resistance Army has sought to overthrow the Ugandan government and has contributed to instability across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.

It is led by Joseph Kony, who professes to have spiritual powers. He is often "underrated" as a leader, according to a 2011 Jane's report on the group. Kony has claimed to be possessed by spirits who dictate the group's strategy. Jane's notes that the tactic has served him well, enabling him to speak to followers who have mixed beliefs. By portraying himself as a medium with supernatural abilities, his authority becomes harder to question within the ranks.

U.S. military personnel will advise regional forces working to target Kony and other senior leaders. The president said the troops will not engage Kony's forces "unless necessary for self-defense."

The Lord's Resistance Army is sophisticated and less like the ragtag group of fighters it is sometimes portrayed as, Jane's says. It has benefited from the military experience of former Ugandan military officers and years of combat in Sudan.

International aid convoys and non-government organizations operating in the region have been threatened by the Lord's Resistance Army, according to numerous reports. Human Rights Watch, in a letter released in May, urged the U.S. government to step up its effort to protect people from the group.

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Filed under: Africa • Democratic Republic of Congo • South Sudan • Uganda • World
Landslide kills at least 23 in Uganda
August 29th, 2011
08:32 AM ET

Landslide kills at least 23 in Uganda

A massive landslide swallowed homes in eastern Uganda early Monday, killing at least 23 people, the Red Cross said.

Torrential rains triggered the landslide, Red Cross spokeswoman Catherine Ntabadde said by phone from the scene.

Two people have been rescued, but the death toll is expected to rise as rescue crews scour through the site in Bulambuli district.

Bulambuli district is about 300 kilometers northeast of the capital, Kampala.

At least 106 people were killed during a landslide last year in Uganda's Bududa district (pictured).
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Filed under: Uganda • World
Endangered baby gorilla rescued from smugglers
Ihirwe, or Luck, the gorilla is receiving care at a Rwanda veterinary facility.
August 9th, 2011
01:32 PM ET

Endangered baby gorilla rescued from smugglers

The infant gorilla's name is certainly appropriate - Ihirwe in the African language of Kinyarwanda, which translates to luck in English.

Rwandan authorities rescued the year-old primate Sunday night as poachers tried to smuggle her into Rwanda from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Wildlife Fund said Tuesday.

Mountain gorillas are critically endangered with fewer than 800 remaining in the wild in the mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

“The good news is that this infant was rescued before it was too late and is now in good hands. The bad news is that people believe there is a market for baby mountain gorillas and are willing to break laws and jeopardize the fate of a critically endangered species at the chance for profit,” Eugène Rutagarama, director of the International Gorilla Conservation Project, said in a statement. The project is a coalition of the World Wildlife Fund, African Wildlife Foundation and Flora & Fauna International.

The alleged smugglers, men from both Rwanda and the Congo, are in Rwandan custody, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The conservation coalition is working with Rwandan and Congolese authorities on an investigation into a possible smuggling network.


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Filed under: Animals • Democratic Republic of Congo • Gorillas • Rwanda • Uganda • World
August 2nd, 2011
09:52 AM ET

Ancient ape skull found in Uganda

Scientists say they have found a 20 million-year-old fossil of an ape skull in Uganda.

A team of French and Ugandan paleontologists found the skull at a site called Napak XV, said team leader Martin Pickford, according to the news site The Hindu.

"This is the first time that the complete skull of an ape of this age has been found. ... (I)t is a highly important fossil and it will certainly put Uganda on the map in terms of the scientific world," Pickford said Tuesday in Kampala, according to France's

The skull belonged to a male Ugandapithecus major, an ancestor of today's great apes.

The expedition was led by Pickford, of the Collège de France in Paris, and professor Brigitte Senut of the Paris-based National Museum of Natural History, reported Uganda's New Vision website.

The discovery will enhance understanding of the development of apes and humans, the scientists said.

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Filed under: Animals • France • Science • Uganda
Uganda lightning kills often; the latest: a teacher and her students
Lightning strikes have reportedly killed many people in Uganda.
June 30th, 2011
11:23 AM ET

Uganda lightning kills often; the latest: a teacher and her students

A lightning strike in rural western Uganda has killed a schoolteacher and at least 20 students, numerous outlets are reporting.

The strike happened at the Runyanya primary school, and almost 100 more people were injured, The Christian Science Monitor says. The newspaper points out that while the strike could seem to be a freak occurrence, there has been an uptick in lightning strikes in the region. The Monitor cites the state-run daily New Vision, which reports that at least 40 people nationwide have died from lightning strikes recently. The Huffington Post reports that lightning kills 15 people a week in Uganda.

Unseasonably heavy rainfall, resulting from an abnormal increase in moist air blowing across the Congo basin from the Atlantic, may have something to with the lightning, experts say.

"Lightning by its nature and evolution is a very unpredictable event," Michael Nkalubo, the country's commissioner for meteorology, told local journalists at a briefing, according to the Monitor. "It can strike in the most unexpected places and do the most unexpected damage."

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Filed under: Uganda • Weather
July 12th, 2010
01:19 PM ET

Somali Islamists claim Uganda bombings

Patrons of a Kampala, Uganda, restaurant react after a bombing Sunday.

A Somali Islamist militant movement on Monday claimed responsibility for a trio of bombings that killed at least 74 people Sunday at two venues in the Ugandan capital where crowds had gathered to watch the World Cup final.

"And the best of men have promised and they have delivered," said an Arabic statement issued by Al-Shabaab's press office. "Blessed and exalted among men - (taking) full responsibility ... We wage war against the 6,000 collaborators; they have received their response."

The 6,000 is an apparent reference to African Union peacekeepers in Somalia. Uganda contributes troops to the peacekeeping effort.

"We are behind the attack because we are at war with them," Al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamoud Rage told reporters at a news conference in Mogadishu, Somalia.


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Filed under: Somalia • Uganda • World
July 12th, 2010
10:29 AM ET

On the Radar:

Patrons at a Kampala, Uganda, restaurant react after a bombing Sunday.

Uganda blasts: More than 70 people, including an American rugby player, were killed Sunday in Uganda by bombings that Islamic terrorists are suspected to have staged, authorities said. The explosions ripped through two venues where crowds were watching the World Cup. At least 71 other people were hospitalized, police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said.

"If you want to fight, why don't you attack soldiers or military barracks instead of fighting innocent people watching football?" said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

Uganda has worldwide oil significance, analyst Alex Vines explains.

Oil cap coming today? Crews working on the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico will "be in a position later on today to put a containment cap over the well," retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the man in charge of the federal response team, told CNN's "American Morning" on Monday.

He said once the cap is placed on the well, scientists will be able to gauge the pressure inside the well, then determine whether the cap will hold the oil or if crews will need to continue siphoning up oil to relieve pressure. While robots replace the old cap, crude is flowing freely. Allen has asked BP to conduct "integrity" testing later Monday to determine how to move forward.

'Bandit' nabbed: The former teen fugitive known as the "barefoot bandit" is expected to appear in court this week after authorities nabbed him in a high-speed boat chase in the Bahamas, police said.

Police said 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore was taken into custody following the chase in the waters off Harbour Island. Authorities responded to a reported sighting of Harris-Moore just after 2 a.m. Sunday, said police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade.

"It is expected that he will appear in court on arraignment later this week to answer to a number of criminal charges," Greenslade said Sunday.

Fugitive director not coming to U.S.: Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski will not be extradited to the U.S. to face child sex charges, the Swiss government announced Monday. He was arrested last year, but the government confirmed he is now free.

The Swiss court rejected the American request because the U.S. did not supply the legal records Switzerland requested, and because Polanski had a reasonable right to think he would not be arrested if he visited the country, Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said. U.S. prosecutors cannot request extradition again from Switzerland, but may apply to other countries to detain and extradite him, she said.

Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 in Los Angeles, California, to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, but he fled to Europe before he was sentenced. In May, a British actress came forward and said Polanski sexually abused her after she was cast in one of his films.

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Filed under: Crime • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Sports • Terrorism • Uganda • Uncategorized
July 11th, 2010
06:08 PM ET

At least 9 killed in two Uganda bombings

[Updated at 10:10 p.m.] At least six Americans are among those injured in Sunday's bombings in Kampala, Uganda, CNN has confirmed.

Read the full report

[Updated at 6:50 p.m.] At least nine people have died in pair of bombings that struck a restaurant and a rugby ground in Uganda's capital as patrons gathered to watch Sunday's World Cup final, police said.

Nine people died and five were wounded at an Ethiopian restaurant in Kampala, police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said. But there was a yet-undetermined number of fatalities and injuries at a rugby field where other fans gathered to watch Sunday night's match between Spain and the Netherlands, Nabakooba said.

Earlier, police indicated that at least 40 people had been killed in the two bombings.

The bombs went off within 25 minutes of each other shortly after 10 p.m. (3 p.m. ET), as fans gathered in both locations. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for what Nabakooba called "definite acts of terrorism."

Islamic militants battling Somalia's U.N.-backed transitional government have threatened attacks on Uganda and Burundi, which contribute troops to an African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. But Nabakooba said the investigation of Sunday's bombings is not yet focused on any specific group.

[Posted at 6:08 p.m.] At least 40 people have died in a pair of bombings that struck a restaurant and a rugby club in Uganda's capital as patrons gathered to watch Sunday's World Cup final, police said.

Journalist Samson Ntale contributed to this report for CNN.

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Filed under: Uganda • World