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Former Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin Dies


Former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin died Saturday in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah from complications due to multiple organ failure. He was 80-years-old. The Ugandan government does not plan an official funeral.

Idi Amin took power in Uganda following a 1971 coup against Milton Obote, the president of Uganda's first independent government.

One year after seizing power, he replaced the civilian Cabinet with a succession of military advisors, and led the country in what has been described as a brutal and arbitrary dictatorship.

Mr. Amin's regime is said to have been responsible for the deaths of at least 100,000 Ugandans. He also expelled 40,000 Asians whom he accused of sabotaging the economy.

Mr. Amin fled the country in 1979, after being overthrown by Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles. He was eventually granted asylum in Saudi Arabia, where he lived with his four wives until his death.

A spokeswoman for Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told VOA that Uganda would not bar Mr. Amin's family from returning his body to Uganda, but Ugandans should not expect any special ceremonies.

"It is up to the family," she said. " If the family wants to bring back the body, they can do it. They can bring the body if they want, but the question of a state funeral is definitely out."

According to a reporter for Uganda's daily independent newspaper, The Monitor, many Ugandans showed a low-key reaction to Mr. Amin's death. Badru Mulumba told VOA that, other than an Asian association saying it's the "end of a bad chapter," people in Uganda are just going about their business.

"People are struggling to live. After about 25 years, some of these issues mean very little to many people who are currently alive," he said.

He said more recent events - such as the insecurity gripping the country since President Museveni took power in 1986 - are fresher in peoples' minds.