Idi Amin
Idi Amin "The Butcher"

On Monday, one of Africa's most notorius warlords was killed in an exchange of gunfire. Paul Sadala, leader of the Mai Mai militia in the democratic republic of Congo, was killed a few days after he'd agreed to denounce rebellion and surrender all his ammunition to the government. IBTimesUK looks at some of the most brutal dictators in Africa whose reigns of terror have led their country through economic turmoil, social upheaval and the deaths and disappearances of thousands

Idi Amin "The Butcher" – Uganda

After seizing power in Uganda with a military coup in 1971, Idi Amin set out on a program of ethnic cleansing against the Acholi and Lango tribes.

It is believed that some 9,000 soldiers and civilians belonging to the two groups were executed during Amin's first year of power alone.

Amin was often lampooned in the international media for a series of headline-making policies that stunned the international community during his tenure.

In 1972, he expelled all of Uganda's Asians, appropriated all British held property and cut off business ties, offered to resolve the crisis in Northern Ireland and declared himself the king of Scotland.

But behind the sniggers though were appalling acts of more cruelty. He is reported to have kept the severed heads of his political opponents, feasted on the bodies of some and thrown others to the crocodiles.

Amin was also and unashamed fan of Adolf Hitler and believed in ethnic cleanings.

In a telegram to then UN secretary-general Kurt Waldheim, he said: "Germany is the right place where, when Hitler was the supreme commander, he burnt over six million Jews. This is because Hitler and all German people knew that the Israelis are not people who are working in the interest of the people of the world, and that is why they burnt the Israelis alive with gas."

Amin has been blamed for at least half a million civilian deaths in his eight-year rule. He was deposed in 1979 and lived the last few years of his life in exile in Saudi Arabia.

One of his former cabinet members, former health minister Henry Kyemba, said at the end of the dictator's reign: "Even Amin does not know how many people he has ordered to be executed... The country is littered with bodies."

Joshua Milton Blahyi "General Butt Naked"- Liberia

Joshua Milton Blahyi
Joshua Milton Blahyi "General Butt Naked"

Liberian tribal priest-turned-army leader Joshua Blahyi, also known also as General Butt Naked, led a mercenary unit, mainly composed of child soldiers, during the First Liberian Civil war in 1989.

Blahyi claimed he had a vision in which he was told by the Devil that he would become a great warrior and should practice human sacrifice and cannibalism to increase his power.

"Sometimes I would enter under the water where children were playing. I would dive under the water, grab one, carry him under and break his neck. Sometimes I'd cause accidents. Sometimes I'd just slaughter them," he said in one interview.

Blahyi is also believed to have traded blood diamonds for guns and also cocaine which he fed to boy soldiers as young as nine.

He is now the president of the End Time Train Evangelistic Ministries Inc with headquarters in Liberia. He confessed that between 1980 and 1996 he and his men were responsible for the deaths of more than 20,000 people.

Muammar 'Mad Dog' Gaddafi – Libya

 Gaddafi (Reuters)

The recently-deposed leader of Libya, who held on to power for over 30 years, was believed to have provided his soldiers with Viagra-like drugs to encourage them to rape enemy women.

A 2014 BBC documentary depicted the former leader as a man who thought nothing of killing hundreds of people to prove a point.

Libyan agents following orders from Gaddafi were found guilty in absentia for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie. 270 people died in the attack. Four years later, according to Gaddafi's former ambassador to the US Ali Aujali, the dictator ordered the shooting down of Libyan Arab Airlines 727 plane in 1992 in an effort to make it look like a US revenge attack for Lockerbie. 157 people lost their lives this time.

Gaddafi was eventually captured and killed by militia rebels in 2011 after an uprising in the North African and Middle East.

Jean-Bédel Bokassa "The Butcher of Bangui" – Central African Republic

Jean-Bédel Bokassa
Jean-Bédel Bokassa "The Butcher of Bangui"

Jean-Bédel Bokassa was the leader of the Central African Republic from 1966 to 1979.

He personally supervised judicial beatings and introduced a rule that thieves would have an ear cut off for the first two offenses and a hand for the third.

In 1977, emulating his hero Napoleon, he crowned himself emperor of the Central African Empire in a ceremony costing $20 million (11.8m).

During his time in power, he was accused of cannibalism.

In January 1979, Bokassa's troops massacred civilians who were rioting over food prices in Bangui, and he later killed 100 schoolchildren who refused to purchase expensive uniforms bearing his image.

Bokassa allegedly participated in the massacre, beating some of the children to death with his cane.

He was overthrown by French troops during the operation Barracuda on 20 September 1979.

In 1996 he proclaimed himself the 13th Apostle and claims to have had secret meetings with the Pope. He died of heart attack few months later.

Robert Mugabe - Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe was elected prime minister of Zimbabwe in 1980 and became president in 1988.

Two years after taking office, he sent his North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade troops to crush an armed rebellion by fighters loyal to Joshua Nkomo, leader of the minority Ndebele tribe, in the province of Matabeleland.

At least 20,000 people died in the ethnic cleansing. The Fifth Brigade was known for burning people alive and for forcing people to dig their own graves in public executions.

Mugabe has harshly opposed to LGBT rights in Zimbabwe and has referred to lesbians and gays as being "worse than dogs and pigs". In September 1995, Zimbabwe's parliament introduced legislation banning homosexual acts.

In 2000, Zimbabwe's president claimed he would seize British land if they failed to pay reparations for the land Britain had seized from blacks.

Subsequently, groups of individuals calling themselves "war veterans" invaded white-owned farms, sparking violence and causing many of Zimbabwe's whites to flee the country.

Mugabe again stirred up international controversy when he compared himself to Hitler, during a state funeral of one of his cabinet members in 2003.

"I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people, and their right to their resources," Mugabe said.

Following the speech, members of the Zimbabwe National Army began a rampage which left more than 250 people dead.

In March 2008, he lost the presidential election to Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposing Movement for Democratic Change, but demanded a recount. MDC supporters were attacked and killed by members of Mugabe's opposition and Tsvangirai later withdrew.

Mugabe was re-elected in 2013 with 61% of Zambabwi's people showing support for him. Being Africa's oldest head of state, he has governed Zimbabwe for 34 years.