A physically imposing athlete, Idi Amin Dada gained the admiration and attention of his superiors in the British Army’s Eastern African Corps by becoming the heavyweight boxing champion of Uganda_ a title he held from 1951 to 1960. Just before Uganda had gained independence from Britain, Amin would be promoted to the post of Lieutenant where he would take the first step towards his later reign of terror and dictatorship. Amin when asked to disarm a number of cattle raiders in northeastern Uganda had gone too far as to torture several of the cattle raiders while carrying out his order. The then British governor had informed the new Prime Minister_ Milton Obote of Amin’s misconduct, but Obote decided to overlook it, much to his later regret. By 1963, Amin had been promoted to captain and rapidly to the rank of colonel and deputy commander of the army in 1964. Pertaining to the fact that Ugandan military units were assisting rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo in their activities in 1965, Amin was implicated in a financial scandal together with Obote and other top government officials. Apparently, the rebels had paid the Ugandans in Gold. In the aftermath of the scandal, the leaders of the kingdom of Buganda ( a region of Uganda that enjoyed special governmental powers within the country) demanded Obote’s removal from office and threatened to secede. On Obote’s orders, Amin commanded a successful attack on the place of the Kabaka ( king of Buganda) forcing the kabaka to flee the country. Obote had subsequently named Amin the commander of Uganda’s Armed forces, slowly Idi was getting there. His relationship with Obote would turn sour after the mysterious death of high ranking officer Pierino Okoya in 1970. This was due to the fact that before his untimely death, Okoya had denounced Amin for being a coward when he fled to a military base instead of taking charge of the army following an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister in December 1969. In a move to take away Amin’s command over troops, Obote moved him to an administrative military position in late 1970. In January 1971, Amin had discovered Obote’s intentions of arresting him for misappropriating millions of dollars of military funds and so organised a coup and overthrew Obote while he was abroad. Once in power, Amin appointed well-qualified administrators to most of the positions in his first cabinet but never listened to their advice. He is known to have expelled Uganda’s Israeli and Pakistani populations who owned almost all of Uganda's businesses, their homes and businesses consequently handed over to those Ugandans who had connections with Amin. After a 1972 coup orchestrated by Obote from Tanzania, Amin grew more brutally repressive. All those he regarded as potentially dangerous to his government in addition to those who criticised him were all seized by roving squads of soldiers and consequently killed. Their bodies were often found dismembered and horribly mutilated. The number of civilians unlawfully killed by the Amin regime is often disputed_ it is often estimated at 300,000 and may have been as high as 500,000. With regards to his overthrow, Idi Amin was ousted by the Tanzanian army together with a small contingent of anti-Amin Ugandan rebels. Amin fled to Libya where he was offered Asylum and then later to Saudi Arabia. He died on 16th August, 2003.
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