Amin was born either in Koboko or Kampala to a Kakwa father and Lugbara mother. In 1946 he joined the King's African Rifles (KAR) of the British Colonial Army. Initially a cook, he rose to the position of lieutenant, taking part in British actions against Somali rebels in the Shifta War and then the Mau Mau rebels in Kenya. Following Uganda's independence from the United Kingdom in 1962, Amin remained in the armed forces, rising to the position of major and being appointed Commander of the Army in 1965. Aware that Ugandan President Milton Obote was planning to arrest him for misappropriating army funds, Amin launched a 1971 military coup and declared himself President.
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