April 11

This Day in History

General Interest

Apr 11, 1979:

Idi Amin overthrown

On April 11, 1979, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin flees the Ugandan capital of Kampala as Tanzanian troops and forces of the Uganda National Liberation Front close in. Two days later, Kampala fell and a coalition government of former exiles took power.

Amin, chief of the Ugandan army and air force from 1966, seized control of the African nation in 1971. A tyrant and extreme nationalist, he launched a genocidal program to purge Uganda of its Lango and Acholi ethnic groups. In 1972, he ordered all Asians who had not taken Ugandan nationality to leave the country, and some 60,000 Indians and Pakistanis fled. These Asians comprised an important portion of the work force, and the Ugandan economy collapsed after their departure.

In 1979, his eight years of chaotic rule came to an end when Tanzania and anti-Amin Ugandan forces invaded and toppled his regime. Amin had launched an unsuccessful attack on Tanzania in October 1978 in an effort to divert attention from Uganda's internal problems. He escaped to Libya, eventually settling in Saudi Arabia, where he died in August 2003. The deaths of 300,000 Ugandans are attributed to Idi Amin.

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