Uganda was a British Protectorate until gaining independence in 1962. The new prime minister, Milton Obote, soon began centralizing more power before establishing a dictatorship after overthrowing the president in 1967. Idi Amin deposed Obote in a coup d’état in1971 and he oversaw an eight-year period of extreme violence. Between 100,000 and 300,000 were killed, and many more exiled, displaced, or expelled.
Although initially friendly with Israel, Amin’s support for the Palestinian cause eventually resulted in Operation Entebbe in 1976, the Israeli raid to free 106 hostages and knock out the Ugandan Air Force.
After years of deteriorating relationships, Uganda invaded its southern neighbor, Tanzania, in 1978. Not only was the invasion halted, but Tanzania counterattacked into Ugandan territory with the support of Ugandan rebels. Even the support of Libya could not prevent Uganda’s defeat and Amin fled in 1979. During the war, Uganda used M4A1 Shermans it had purchased from Israel, T-34/85s, PT-76s, and T-54s.
Obote took over again and continued the poor track-record of human rights abuses until he was deposed for a second time in 1985. Yoweri Museveni, who had led the National Resistance Army against Obote, succeeded him. Even then, peace was not maintained, with several rebellious groups, including Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, fighting until 1994.