BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Great Lakes
Last Updated: Thursday, 21 August, 2003, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
Ugandan relatives mourn Amin
Idi Amin
Idi Amin: Still popular with some Ugandans
Some 2,000 have attended a religious service in Uganda for the former dictator, Idi Amin, who died in exile in Saudi Arabia five days ago and was buried there.

The Muslim dhuwa - prayers for the dead - took place on Wednesday in the northern district of Arua where Amin was born, according to Uganda newspapers.

Apart from his many relatives, the mourners included local government officials, former army officers and clergy of different denominations.

Earlier, President Yoweri Museveni said he was not in mourning for Amin.

He also said that he had personally vetoed suggestions from some government officials to win votes in Amin's home region by according him a state funeral.

"I would not bury Amin. I will never touch Amin. Never. Not even with a long spoon," he said in his first public comments on Amin's death.

Mr Museveni was part of the force which toppled Amin in 1979, after one of the bloodiest regimes in African history.

Amin, who was variously described as 78 or 80 years old, died of multiple organ failure at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, where he had been since 18 July.

Human rights groups and Ugandan government officials have expressed disappointment that Amin never faced trial for his alleged


The son of a self-proclaimed sorceress, Amin had little formal education and joined Uganda's British-led colonial army as a young man.

Ugandan Asians arriving in the UK
1971: Amin seizes power in coup
1972: Expels Ugandan Asians
1976: Israel frees hostages in raid on Entebbe
1979: Amin ousted by Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles
2003: Dies in Saudi Arabia

He was appointed head of the army and navy under President Milton Obote in 1966, but overthrew Mr Obote five years later and declared himself president for life.

The eight-year rule which followed was characterised by bizarre and brutal behaviour.

A Muslim, Amin took five wives, fathered dozens of children and insisted on being called "Big Daddy".

In 1972 he expelled the entire Asian population of Uganda, blaming them for controlling the economy for their own ends.

Amin murdered many thousands of real and perceived opponents during his rule, reportedly feasting on the bodies of some of his victims and throwing corpses to crocodiles.

Amin repeatedly sent his troops to invade neighbouring Tanzania, and in 1979, Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles counter-attacked, sending Amin into exile.

Amin fled to Libya, then Iraq, before finally settling in Saudi Arabia, where he was allowed to remain provided he stayed out of politics.

The BBC's Mike Wooldridge
"Idi Amin cultivated a flamboyant and often bizarre style of leadership"


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific