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ABCNEWS VideoSource
FILE Idi Amin - Former Ugandan dictator in coma
07/21/2003
APTN
VSAP380731
TAPE: EF03/0661 IN_TIME: 23:11:25 DURATION: 1:34 SOURCES: APTN RESTRICTIONS: DATELINE: File SHOTLIST: Uganda - 1979 1. Idi Amin standing to attention at a ceremony 2. Amin dancing traditional dance with children Entebbe, Uganda - July 1976 3. Aftermath of raid by Israeli commandos on hijacked plane that was flown to Entebbe STORYLINE: Former Ugandan President Idi Amin, exiled in Saudi Arabia after an eight-year rule marked by breathtaking brutality, was in a coma and in deteriorating condition Monday, a hospital official said. The hospital official told The Associated Press late Sunday that Amin's condition had stabilized. But Monday morning, the official said, "his condition has deteriorated again." He would not elaborate. Sunday, three of Amin's sons were at his bedside in the intensive care unit of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah, where Amin and relatives have lived for years. Amin, believed to be 80, was on a respirator. He was admitted to the hospital Friday suffering from high blood pressure, medical staff said. Amin has been in a coma since his admission. Amin, who served in the British colonial King's African Rifles and saw action in World War II in Burma, was a well-regarded officer at the time of Uganda's independence from Britain in 1962. He rose to chief of staff of Uganda's army and air force in 1966. He clashed with Ugandan leader Milton Obote and ousted him on Jan. 25, 1971, when Obote was attending an African summit. Amin was hailed a hero and the 250-pound (112.5-kilogram) leader was nicknamed Dada, or "Big Daddy." He even was chosen as the head of the Organization of African Unity in 1975 despite some members' objections. Ugandans initially welcomed Amin, but his popularity plummeted after the East African nation descended into economic chaos and he declared himself president-for-life. Amin grew increasingly authoritarian, violent and subject to mood swings. It is estimated that more than 200,000 Ugandans were tortured and murdered during his regime, which ended April 11, 1979, when he was ousted by a combined force of Ugandan exiles _ including Museveni _ and the Tanzanian army. Human rights groups say as many as 500,000 people were killed during Amin's rule. Bodies were dumped into the Nile River after it became impossible to dig graves fast enough. At one point, so many bodies were fed to crocodiles that the remains occasionally clogged intake ducts at Uganda's main hydroelectric plant at Jinja. In July 1976, Idi Amin was humiliated by a surprise raid by Israeli commandos who rescued 100 hostages, mostly Israelis or Jews, held by pro-Palestinian hijackers at Entebbe airport. Four militants had seized an Athens-to-Paris Air France flight with 250 people on board. The hijackers - two from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two from Germany's Baader-Meinhof gang - diverted the plane to Entebbe, where they demanded the release of 53 militants held in jails in Israel and four other countries. Idi Amin gave a speech at the airport in support of the PFLP and supplied the hijackers with extra troops and weapons. Shortly after, Ugandan soldiers and the hijackers were taken completely by surprise when three Hercules transport planes landed after a 2,500-mile trip from Israel. About 200 elite troops ran out and stormed the airport building. During a 35-minute battle, 20 Ugandan soldiers and all seven hijackers died along with three hostages. The Israelis destroyed 11 Russian-built MiG fighters, which amounted to a quarter of Uganda's air force. The leader of the assault force, Lieutenant Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu, was also shot dead by a Ugandan sentry. The operation was later named Operation Yonatan in honor of Netanyahu - elder brother of Binyamin Netanyahu, who was Israel's Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999. Idi Amin believed Kenya had colluded with Israel in planning the raid and hundreds of Kenyans living in Uganda were massacred soon afterwards. But from this time, Amin's regime began to break down. Two years later Idi Amin was forced into exile. After his ouster, Amin, a Muslim and member of the small Kakwa tribe from northwestern Uganda, went into exile first in Libya, then Iraq before finally settling in Saudi Arabia on the condition that he stay out of politics. NB: wrong slate on tape, story correct
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