April 11th 1979: Idi Amin deposed
On this day in 1979, the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was deposed. A Major General in the post-colonial Ugandan army, Amin had seized power in a military coup in 1971, overthrowing socialist Milton Obote. His regime was characterised by use of military force, human rights abuses, and political repression against dissidents, especially violence against ethnic groups (predominantly Acholi and Lango peoples).
Between 100,000 and 500,000 were killed by his eight year regime. Amin’s behaviour became increasingly erratic throughout his rule, and he gave himself numerous titles until his full title was “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”, and claimed to be the uncrowned King of Scotland.
By 1978, Amin’s support had dwindled and dissent was on the rise as the Ugandan economy failed. The dictator invaded Tanzanian territory, which caused a war in which his army was defeated and the capital of Kampala captured. Amin was forced to flee into exile by helicopter on April 11th 1979, going first to Libya then to Saudi Arabia where he died in 2003; he never expressed remorse for the crimes of his regime.
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