Hailsham Historical Society

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Reprinted by permission of Sussex Express Newspapers

COLONEL MUAMMAR GADDAFI, currently being hunted by rebel forces in Libya, once put pressure on former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin to support Arabic terrorists - leading to an East Sussex councillor’s near execution.

This unusual claim has been made by former TV broadcaster Roger Thomas who represents Hailsham and Herstmonceux for East Sussex County Council.

He was told by Amin to either support terrorists who killed Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munch games – or face deadly consequences. Mr Thomas said: “I was the recipient of the wrath of Colonel Gaddafi through Idi Amin.”

Mr Thomas presented and produced Uganda Television’s Munich Olympic Games coverage in 1972. He gained popularity by persuading Lufthansa, the German airline, to fly in daily film from Munich supplemented by film he had already shot of the Ugandan athletes, and up to date results from BBC overseas radio.

Uganda had excellent coverage of the game as a result. The daily service broke all viewing figures and television retailers sold out of TV sets.

Then disaster struck when Israeli athletes were massacred in Munich by Arabic terrorists.

Idi Amin, leader of Uganda at the time, was funded by Gaddafi – who called on his support for the terrorist act, according to Mr Thomas. Amin decided that Mr Thomas should publicly endorse the terrorists during his daily broadcast on TV.

Mr Thomas remembered the day a Government official, a friend, walked into his office and quietly closed the door behind him.  A letter was handed over from the dictator himself giving orders to Mr Thomas. But he refused to obey the despot – saying he would only give impartial news reports on TV. So Amin ordered him to be thrown into prison and banned from broadcasting.

A deputation of Ministers persuaded Amin it would not be a good idea to kill Mr Thomas – so he was eventually allowed to escape Uganda for Britain. Mr Thomas said: “I was lucky to survive, so I have every reason to celebrate the end of Gaddafi.”

The Government official who gave Mr Thomas the letter – Oxbridge educated – was himself later executed by Idi Amin, the councillor said

The article below first published in  the Sussex Express, 31st August 2011.  And reprinted by permission of Sussex Express newspapers