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Idi Amin seized power in a military coup on 25 January 1971

Michael McLaren

Richard Vokes, Associate Professor Anthropology & Sociology at the University of W.A., joins Michael to discuss the life and times of Idi Amin who seized power in Uganda on January 25th 1971.

 

Idi Amin Dada Oumee (1925 – 16 August 2003) was the Ugandan military officer who served as the President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979.  Popularly known as the “Butcher of Uganda”, he is considered one of the most brutal despots in world history.

 

Born in Koboko to a Kakwa father and Lugbara mother, in 1946 Amin joined the King’s African Rifles (KAR) of the British Colonial Army as a cook.

 

He rose to the rank of lieutenant, taking part in British actions against Somali rebels in the Shifta War and then the Mau Mau rebels in Kenya.

 

Uganda gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962, and Amin remained in the armed forces, rising to the position of major and being appointed Commander of the Uganda Army in 1965.

 

He became aware that Ugandan President Milton Obote was planning to arrest him for misappropriating army funds, so he launched a military coup on the 25th January 1971.

 

On the 2nd February 1971, one week after the coup, Amin declared himself President of Uganda, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Uganda Army Chief of Staff and Chief of Air Staff.

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Michael McLaren
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