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Uganda's Leader to Sign Death Warrants Again After 19 Years

FILE - A prison officer, armed with a rifle, stands guard at Lira Central Prison in northern Uganda, Feb. 13, 2013.

Uganda's president says he will sign the death warrants of “a few” prisoners to create fear among criminals in the East African country.

President Yoweri Museveni said Thursday he had not ordered executions in 19 years but was changing his mind because people were taking advantage of the “leniency.”

He said: “I am going to revise this and hang a few.... if you see how they kill people, they deserve to be killed.”

He spoke at a graduation ceremony for prison wardens in the capital, Kampala.

Museveni last signed death warrants in 1999, when 28 people were executed.

The Uganda Prisons Service says 278 prisoners are on death row.

The executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Livingstone Ssewanyana, says that “executing prisoners won't end crime.”