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 as a cook. He rose to the rank of lieutenant, taking part in British actions against Somali rebels in the Shifta War and then the Mau Mau rebels in Kenya. Uganda gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962, and Amin remained in the armed forces, rising to the position of major and being appointed Commander of the Army in 1965. He became aware that Ugandan President Milton Obote was planning to arrest him for misappropriating army funds, so he launched a military coup in 1971 and declared himself President.
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