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  • Inside Africa
    Sep 15 ·
    (CNN) — Fifty years ago Uganda was the “Pearl of Africa,” a newly independent republic with a thriving economy, a functioning democracy and splendid national parks.

    It was the place to take a safari holiday — floating down the crocodile-flanked Nile, fishing on Lake Victoria, wandering among the elephant herds of Queen Elizabeth National Park or listening to the roar of mighty Murchison Falls. With films like “African Queen” shot on location there, Uganda was also a Hollywood darling.

    Then all hell broke loose.

    Four decades of violence, political turmoil and economic collapse that started with the bloodthirsty reign of Idi Amin (the self-proclaimed President for Life, Conqueror of the British Empire and Last King of Scotland) and ended with the religious psychopath Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.

    And it wasn’t just the people who suffered: Uganda’s animal populations declined precipitously during the troubles as the various ragtag guerrilla groups feas...  more