Uganda Highlights


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Uganda is populated by dozens of ethnic groups. Uganda gained independence from the UK on 9 October 1962. The period since then has been marked by violent conflicts, including an 8-year-long far right militairy dictatorship led by officer Idi Amin. Additionally, a lengtly civil war against the Lords Resistance army, in the Northern Region  has caused hundreds of thousands of casualties. Uganda’s economy generates export income from the following products. Coffee, base metals, maize, cement, tobacco, tea, sugar, cocoa beans, beans and lately flowers. The country has largely untapped reserves of both crude oil and natural gas. While agriculture accounted for 56 percent of the economy in 1986, with coffee as its main export. Despite all this Uganda is still one of the poorest nations in the world. In 2010, 37.8 percent of the population lived on less than $1.25 a day.

Idi Amin was President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979 whose regime was noted for the sheer scale of its brutality. Amin staged a successful military coup. He became president and chief of the armed forces in 1971, field marshal in 1975, and life president in 1976. Amin ruled directly, He was often extreme. He expelled all Asians from Uganda in 1972, an action that led to the breakdown of Uganda’s economy. Amin came to be known as the “Butcher of Uganda” for his brutality, and it is believed that some 300,000 people were killed and countless others tortured during his presidency. A Muslim, he reversed Uganda’s friendly relations with Israel and befriended Libya and the Palestinians; in July 1976 he was personally involved in the hijacking of a French airliner to Entebbe. In 1978 Amin ordered an attack on Tanzania. Aided by Ugandan nationalists, Tanzanian troops eventually overpowered the Ugandan army. As the Tanzanian-led forces neared Kampala, Uganda’s capital, Amin fled the country. After escaping first to Libya, Amin finally settled in Saudi Arabia, where he died in 2003.