Various clans are supported by militarily organized
forces. There are eight registered organizations with up to
10,000 armed militia, whose equipment is of varying and
often very low standards. The UN peacekeeping efforts were
interrupted in 1995. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that SOM stands for Somalia.
Following clashes between the various factions of USC,
President Mahdi fled Mogadishu in November 1991. The capital
was under General Mohamed Farah Aidid's control. He led
USC's military branch. The two rival factions of USC
consisted of members from various subdivisions of the
hawiye clan, led by Farah Aidid and Ali Mahdi,
Since the start of fighting between the warring factions,
300,000 Somali children have died and 1.5 million have fled
the country, equivalent to a quarter of the population.
During a cessation of fighting, on March 9, 100,000 women
and children conducted a peaceful demonstration in the
capital. Nine tribal leaders from the Hiraan region met to
discuss how peace could be created in the country. It was
the first meeting of "ugas" (the traditional authority) for
more than 100 years.
After two years of civil war and total anarchy, the
country in 1993 remained without central government. In some
areas, the people respected the traditional authority of the
elders in the clans, yet the absence of a central leadership
in the country could not put the power in the hands of
military leaders and heavily armed gangs.
The former British colony Somaliland declared itself
independent from the rest of the country in May 1992. The
new state has largely not been characterized by
clan conflicts, but on the other hand has not been
recognized internationally. As the area's economy came into
crisis and the central power disappeared, the population was
predominantly living by fishing and exporting cattle.
However, along the 1,660 km coast, only 5% of the population
continued fishing. This was due to the lack of fuel and
spare parts for the boats. At the same time, exports of
cattle were stopped. This region has not received
humanitarian aid, despite making up 30% of the country and
has received 1 million refugees from the war zones in the
south and Mogadishu.
Following pressure from the United States in December
1992, the United Nations approved the sending of a
"peacekeeping" force of 28,000 men to the country, with a
view to securing food supplies and disarming the armed
groups and factions. It was the first time in the history of
the World Organization that it decided to intervene
militarily in the internal affairs of a Member State.
In March 1993, following the UN peace talks in Adis
Ababa, military commanders, senior council members and
prominent citizens decided to form a provisional government.
Acc. the agreement was to form a National Transitional
Council, which would be the supreme authority of the country
until, within a two-year period, a national government could
be formed. However, no date was set for the creation of the
The clashes between Mohamed Aidid and the US-led forces
in the country quickly came to an end. Throughout the year,
the capital remained under the control of supporters of
Farah Aidid, but the increasingly tense situation cost the
fallen on both sides.
As the US perceived him as an obstacle to peace in the
country, the superpower deployed its elite corps of Rangers
to track down and capture Farah Aidid, but it failed. Other
countries participating in the "peace-making mission"
quickly decided to withdraw their troops from the country.
In March 1994, Farah Aidid and Ali Mahdi signed a
ceasefire agreement in Nairobi and the implementation of a
reconciliation conference in May. It had to elect a new
president and a new government. The foreign troops were
withdrawn from the country on the 31st of the same month,
leaving only a small force under UN leadership. Although
regional conflicts continued, the civil war did not
proliferate and economic activity appeared to re-emerge.
The country was still divided and the Republic of
Somaliland continued its activities in 1995 despite lack of
international recognition. In the rest of the country, the
fighting group around the Alliance for Somalia's Salvation
(ASS) was led by Ali Mahdi Mohamed, and the ASN led by Farah
Aidid. Both declared themselves the country's rightful
government. Farah Aidid died in August 1996 and was
succeeded by her son Hussein. Farah's old right-hand man,
Osman Hassan Ali ("Ato") emerged as a new strong man, but
now allied with Ali Mahdi.