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Idi Amin

Political Leader

Born: 1 January 1925 (?)
Died: 16 August 2003
Birthplace: Koboko, Uganda
Best known as:

The dictator of Uganda, 1971-79

Idi Amin (also known as Idi Amin Dada) was the nutty, ruthless dictator of the African nation of Uganda during the 1970s. He started out as a soldier in the British colonial army in 1946 and became one of its first Ugandan commissioned officers. Idi Amin rose through the ranks and was eventually made the army's chief of staff under Uganda's first president, Milton Obote. In 1971 Amin overthrew Obote and seized power. He became internationally famous in 1976 when he provided a safe haven for hostage-holding Palestinian hijackers, who were then attacked and killed at Entebbe by Israeli forces. In 1978 Amin's forces invaded neighboring Tanzania, but Tanzanian forces drove them back and invaded Uganda, forcing Amin to flee. Amin used brutal force against opponents during his reign, and it is estimated that he is responsible for at least 100,000 deaths (some estimates run as high as 500,000). After fleeing Uganda he settled in Saudi Arabia. He died there in 2003, apparently succumbing to a mixture of hypertension, kidney failure and other ailments.

Extra credit:

Between 1951 and 1960, Idi Amin was Uganda's heavyweight boxing champ... Idi Amin had near-celebrity status in the '70s, partly because of his goofball antics -- jumping into swimming pools in full uniform, for example... Most sources suggest that Idi Amin was born in 1925, though at his death Ugandan officials claimed that Amin was 80.

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