‘Entebbe hostages played football’

Interestingly, one of the hostages aboard that Air France flight hijacked by Palestinian militants to Uganda and freed by Israeli special forces in 1976 has said in a recent radio interview that Idi Amin allowed them to play football in the confines of Entebbe airport. The dictator was genial but came with a manic reputation that scared the hostages.

Benjamin Natanyahu’s soldier brother Yoni died in the raid on Entebbe. Elderly hostage Dora Bloch, in the nearby hospital having had a piece of food stuck in her throat, was never seen again, presumed to have been spirited away and butchered after the Israeli raid.

The Entebbe hostage said they all knew Israel would try to rescue them but worried the logistics of an airborne attack so far from home would prevent it. As it turned out, neighbour Kenya gave Israel landing and refuelling rights.

Al Jazeera television now uses the word captives for hostages so as to include some four thousand Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

It is unlikely the remaining 129 Israelis held in Gaza will be playing football.




I must confess I missed the football angle in my 350-page opus, Lust to Kill: The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin. It used pseudonyms Andrew Cameron, from my Scottish ancestry, and Joseph Kamau, my Kenyan house help, keeper of keys and collaborator for what is nowadays known as ‘diversity.’ 

1 Response

  1. allen pizzey says:

    I do look back on those strange, sometimes terrible, often amusing and always both challenging and invigorating days we shared in our relative youth.

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