Uganda and Tanzania
Uganda and Tanzania

War on Tanzania

The War on Tanzania eventually overthrew Idi Amin and caused him to be exiled from the country.

Around 1978, most of Idi Amin’s closest advisers and associates had dissipated and significantly decreased due to the executions and abandonment of loyalty. Soon revealed by vice president and formerly faithful friend, General Mustafa Adrisi, being a dear ally to Amin proved to be a dangerous job. When Adrisi was hurt in a coincidental car “accident,” other officials and troops became increasingly suspicious. Their allegiance had slowly morphed to betrayal. Amin soon became aware of this and ordered his remaining obedient troops against the traitors. The troops fled across the border to Tanzania. Idi Amin thus claimed the Tanzanian President, Nyerere, to be an eternal enemy who was the dark root of his concerns and problems. Nyerere was accused of declaring war against Uganda. The Ugandan President tried to redirect the attention away from his personal issues and output them forcefully in the foreign territory; specifically invading Tanzania and consuming the region across the Kagera River boundary on November 1, 1978.


Idi Amin

Key Events and Battles
Idi Amin invaded Tanzania on 1 November 1978. Amin blew up the only bridge connecting over the Kagera River. He was met by the Tanzanian Army and Ugandan exiles. The Tanzanian force and former Ugandan loyalists invaded southern Uganda and won little skirmishes along the way. As they were heading toward the capital, Kampala, they were temporarily cut off at the city of Lukuya by a force of Libyan troops allied to the tyrant Amin. Separated by the swamps, the opposing fighters had time to plan an attack. At first, the Libyans hammered the 201st Brigade pushing them back with quite an impact on March 10. On March 11th and 12th, however, the Tanzanians went for it, slamming hard with their 201st Brigade while their stronger 208th Brigade took to the north-west secretly while the 201st Brigade was distracting as it attacked from the south. This proved to be completely successful at this Battle of Lukuya. The rebels took the Entebbe air force after some quarrelsome fighting and then moved on to Kampala. The Invaders pushed through and were welcomed as liberators by the natives of Kampala on April 10-11, 1979. Efforts of Amin to crush the rebellion were unsuccessful due to the encouraging support from southern Uganda.

Border between Uganda and Tanzania

The Numbers
The Tanzanian Army consisted of 40,000 to over 100,000 troops including members of the police, prison services, national service and militia. They were accompanied by the UNLA (Ugandan National Liberation Army). This included the Kikosi Maalum (meaning "Special Force" in Swahili), commanded by Tito Okello and David Oyite Ojok, the FRONASA (Front for National Salvation) formed by Yoweri Museveni, and the Save Uganda Movement commanded by Akena p'Ojok, William Omaria, and Ateder Ejalu. In the Libyan force, there were about 2,500-3,000 people, which included regular Libyan army units, people's militia, and Sub-Saharan Africans of the Islamic Legion all sent to aid Amin. There were 200 plus reported casualties of the Libyans and 200 allied Ugandan soldiers after the Battle of Lukuya.

Tanzanian Army

The Weapons
The Tanzanians had a BM-21 rocket launcher which they just began firing at the Ugandans, soon the Libyans were steadily and slowly backed off. However, the Libyans were then sent in and were well equipped with T-54 and T55 tanks, BTR APCs, BM-21 Katyusha MRLs, artillery, MiG-21s and a Tu-22 bomber. Unfortunately for them, they ended up in the front row seat in war while the Ugandan army cowered behind their ranks and just threw money at the situations mainly just donating supplies.

BM-22 Rocket Launcher

End of the War
After the Battle of Lukuya, Libyans and Ugandans gave little resistance toward the retaliation of Tanzania's army. Had the Tanzanians wanted to add a helpful attribute, it would have been to have better mapping of the city. Amin then fled after the battle to Libya and then onto Saudi Arabia. The Libyan troops retreated to Jinja and repatriated through Kenya and Ethiopia. The Tanzanian troops remained in Uganda to help maintain peace while the UNLF, which was the political branch of UNLA, tried to form elections to revert the country back under a civilian rule.

Idi Amin and Ian Woodridge

The Aftermath
The time after the exile and flee of Amin proved to be a tedious struggle of power for the following candidates from different ethnicities and different views of politics. The Tanzanian president then decided to put Yusuf Lule, former leader of the UNLF, into the office of presidency over Uganda. Yusuf Lule was the president of Uganda from April 13, 1979-June 20, 1979. Issues over the extent of the president's powers were discussed in the National Consultative Commission who then replaced Lule with Godfrey Binaisa, who also was taken from office by the Military Commission. The country was then led by the Presidential Commission of Uganda. This only lasted until about December of 1980 when the general elections voted Milton Obote's Peoples Congress. The outcomes were severe disputes amongst parties and Yoweri Museveni, at the time leader of Uganda Patriotic Movement, eventually declared electoral fraud sending the country into a downward spiral of chaos with a rebellion of the Obote government and forced the country into a civil war, also known as the Bush War.

Yusuf Lule