11 Jaw-Dropping Crimes Against Humanity Committed By Uganda's Worst Dictator

You don’t get a nickname like the Butcher of Uganda without unleashing some serious horrors on mankind, and the atrocities committed by Idi Amin were undeniably horrific. Idi Amin seized power in Uganda in 1971 and viciously ruled for eight years. The list of crimes committed by Idi Amin includes ethnic persecution, political repression, extrajudicial executions, and torture.

Many political rivals suffered his wrath, but some of the worst things done by Idi Amin were done to his own people. He launched an economic war, and citizens of Uganda were exiled or imprisoned, beaten, and tortured without cause. There is no way to know for sure how many lives he took, but it is believed to be around 100,000. He was finally ousted by Ugandan nationalists in 1979, and he managed to flee the country intact. He remained in exile, living in Saudi Arabia, where he perished from multiple organ failures in 2003.


  • He Claimed To Be A Cannibal

    Amin was rumored to have kept some of his victim's heads in his refrigerator and eaten human body parts. His former health minister, Henry Kyemba, said that "on several occasions [Amin] told me quite proudly that he had eaten the organs or flesh of his human victims."

    He was quoted as saying, “It's not for me. I tried human flesh and it's too salty for my taste" (though it's unclear if he was speaking ironically at the time).

  • He Built An Underground Prison With A Torture Chamber And An Electrified Moat

    Amin’s infamous prison and torture chamber was constructed by Israelis in the 1970s by a crew that believed the building was going to be used as an armory. The underground cement caves were intended to store gunpowder, not people.

    The entrance was electrified and the chambers themselves were surrounded by a channel of electrified water. The chambers were dark, full of vomit, blood, and feces, and each held hundreds of people. Prisoners would suffocate as oxygen would run out as bodies piled up inside the cells, many victims perished of starvation, and some chose to end their suffering and take their own lives by jumping into the electrified water.

  • His Violent Spree Shifted From Those Who Posed Political Threats To Innocent Civilians

    His Violent Spree Shifted From Those Who Posed Political Threats To Innocent Civilians
    Photo: Moshe Pridan / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    In addition to having his political rivals and government officials taken out, he also turned on ordinary civilians: farmers, students, and even religious figures, including the archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Janani Luwum.

    Amin sent his men out to gun people down and sometimes they’d force their victims to club one another. Another cruel method Amin employed was having people beaten with sledgehammers.

  • He Uprooted 80,000 Asian Citizens And Removed Their Livelihoods

    He Uprooted 80,000 Asian Citizens And Removed Their Livelihoods
    Video: YouTube

    Amin decided to eradicate the entire Asian population from Uganda in 1972 (or rather, he claimed God told him to do this). He gave 80,000 South Asians (even those born in Uganda) 90 days to get out or suffer violent consequences. They could take only what they could carry and all 4,000 of their shops were confiscated and given to Amin’s buddies - who, of course, ran those businesses into the ground.

    This contributed greatly to the breakdown of the country’s economy. Among those tossed out of Uganda were medical doctors, dentists, teachers, veterinarians, and technicians, further crippling Uganda's medical industry, education system, and economy as a whole.