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Thu, 12.10.1925

Idi Amin, Dictator born

Idi Amin Dada

*The birth of Idi Amin is celebrated on this date in 1925.  He was a Black African dictator and politician.  Idi Amin Dada was born in Koboko County in the West Nile district of Uganda, home of the Kakwa tribe. His birth year is estimated at 1925 because records were not kept for Ugandans.

His father had spent much of his life in the southern Sudan, where the Kakwas, an Islamic people, had originated. His mother was from the Lugbara tribe. Violence and bloodletting were recorded by early Victorian explorers and were particularly distinct among these Sudanic-Nubian peoples; the homicide rate there is still one of the highest in Africa today.  Amin's early life was traditional for a poor boy with little education.  

He joined the army and became an assistant cook in the King's African Rifles (KAR).   The record file shows his entry into the KAR took place in 1946.  Sixteen years later, after training in Wiltshire as a commissioned officer, he commanded a battalion of the 4th KAR. His only overseas service was as leader of a scrimmage among Ugandan troops stationed in Mauritius, which was put down by British-led police.

The other black mark in his regimental book was an entry indicating, in 1955, that he had been repeatedly infected and cured of venereal disease. He is said to have acquired his taste for bordellos and variety in women when serving in army posts in the sheikhdoms of the Gulf, from Aden northwards, in colonial times.  The first sign of his violent behavior came after he became a commissioned officer.  

In 1962 while commanding the 4th KAR, he carried out the Turkana Massacre, an operation that began as a simple assignment to check cattle rustling by tribesmen in that region of Kenya. Complaints from villagers reached the British authorities in Nairobi; bodies were exhumed from pits, and it became clear that the victims had been tortured, beaten to death, and, in some cases, buried alive.   Amin was also a sergeant in the British colonial army. After Uganda's independence, he rose to Commander-in-Chief in the Ugandan armed forces. In 1971, Amin seized control of the government and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Ugandans.

In 1976, he offered haven to Palestinian hijackers, who were killed when Israel rescued the hostages at Entebbe.  In 1979, Tanzanian troops invaded Uganda and forced him into exile. Amin led out the rest of his life in Saudi Arabia where he died from natural causes on August 17, 2003.  

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