Siad Barre

Last updated

Jaalle Mohamed Siad Barre
محمد سياد بري
Siad Barre.png
Military portrait of Major General Mohamed Siad Barre, c. 1970
3rd President of Somalia
In office
October 21, 1969 January 26, 1991
Vice President Muhammad Ali Samatar
Preceded by Mukhtar Mohamed Hussein
Succeeded by Ali Mahdi Muhammad
Personal details
Mohamed Siad Barre

October 6, 1919
Shilabo, Ogaden [1]
DiedJanuary 2, 1995(1995-01-02) (aged 75)
Lagos, Nigeria
Resting placeGarbahareey, Gedo, Somalia
Political party Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party
Spouse(s)Khadija Maalin
Dalyad Haji Hashi [1]
Relations Abdirahman Jama Barre
ChildrenMaslax Barre
Military service
Allegiance Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg Kingdom of Italy (1935–1941)
Flag of Somalia.svg Somali Republic (1960–1969)
Flag of Somalia.svg Somali Democratic Republic (1969–1991)
Branch/service Somali National Army
Years of service1935–1941
Rank 15-Somali Army-MG.svg Major General
Battles/wars Second Italo-Ethiopian War
East African Campaign (World War II)
1964 Ethiopian-Somali Border War
Shifta War
Ogaden War
1982 Ethiopian-Somali Border War
Somali Rebellion
Somali Civil War

Jaalle Mohamed Siad Barre (Somali : Jaale Maxamed Siyaad Barre; Arabic : محمد سياد بري; October 6, 1919 – January 2, 1995) [2] was a Somali politician who served as the President of the Somali Democratic Republic from 1969 to 1991.

Somali language language of East Cushitic branch of Afro-Asiatic family

Somali is an Afroasiatic language belonging to the Cushitic branch. It is spoken as a mother tongue by Somalis in Greater Somalia and the Somali diaspora. Somali is an official language of Somalia, a national language in Djibouti, and a working language in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. It is used as an adoptive language by a few neighboring ethnic minority groups and individuals. The Somali language is written officially with the Latin alphabet.

Somalia Federal republic in Africa

Somalia, officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Guardafui Channel and Somali Sea to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa's mainland, and its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains and highlands. Climatically, hot conditions prevail year-round, with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall.

President of Somalia head of state and head of government of Somalia

The President of Somalia is the head of state of Somalia. The President is also commander-in-chief of the Somali Armed Forces. The President represents the Federal Republic of Somalia, and the unity of the Somali nation, as well as ensuring the implementation of the Constitution of Somalia and the organized and harmonious functioning of the organs of state. The office of President of Somalia was established with the proclamation of the Republic of Somalia on 1 July 1960. The first President of Somalia was Aden Abdullah Osman Daar. The current office-holder is the 9th President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmaajo’, since 16 February 2017.


Barre, a major general of the gendarmerie, became President of Somalia after the 1969 coup d'état that overthrew the Somali Republic following the assassination of President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke. The Supreme Revolutionary Council military junta under Barre reconstituted Somalia as a one-party Marxist–Leninist communist state, renaming the country the Somali Democratic Republic and adopting scientific socialism, with support from the Soviet Union. Barre's early rule was characterised by widespread modernization, nationalization of banks and industry, promotion of cooperative farms, a new writing system for the Somali language, and anti-tribalism. The Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party became Somalia's vanguard party in 1976, and Barre started the Ogaden War against Ethiopia on a platform of Somali nationalism and pan-Somalism.

Major General is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of Sergeant Major General. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparently confusing phenomenon whereby a Lieutenant General outranks a Major General while a Major outranks a Lieutenant.

Gendarmerie military force charged with police duties among civilian populations

A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military component with jurisdiction in civil law enforcement. The term gendarme is derived from the medieval French expression gens d'armes, which translates to "armed people". In France and some Francophone nations, the gendarmerie is a branch of the armed forces responsible for internal security in parts of the territory with additional duties as a military police for the armed forces. This concept was introduced to several other Western European countries during the Napoleonic conquests. In the mid twentieth century, a number of former French mandates or colonial possessions such as Lebanon, Syria, and the Republic of the Congo adopted a gendarmerie after independence.

1969 Somali coup détat

The 1969 Somali coup d'état was the bloodless takeover of Somalia's government on 21 October 1969 by far-left military officers of the Supreme Revolutionary Council led by Siad Barre. Somali troops supported by tanks under the command of Barre stormed Mogadishu and seized key government buildings and ordered the resignation of the country's leaders. The coup deposed President Sheikh Mukhtar Mohamed Hussein and Prime Minister Mohammad Egal and led to the twenty-one year long military rule by Barre and the imposition of a Marxist-Leninist government in Somalia until 1991.

Barre's popularity was highest during the seven months between September 1977 and March 1978 when Barre captured virtually the entirety of the Somali region. [3] It declined from the late-1970s following Somalia's defeat in the Ogaden War, triggering the Somali Rebellion and severing ties with the Soviet Union. Opposition grew in the 1980s due to his increasingly dictatorial rule, growth of tribal politics, abuses of the National Security Service including the Isaaq genocide, and the sharp decline of Somalia's economy. In 1991, Barre's government collapsed as the Somali Rebellion successfully ejected him from power, leading to the Somali Civil War, and forcing him into exile where he died in Nigeria in 1995. [4] [5] [6]

The Somali Rebellion was the beginning of the civil war in Somalia that occurred in the late 1970s and early 1990s. The rebellion started in 1986 when Siad Barre began attacking clan-based dissident groups opposed to his rule with his special forces, the "Red Berets". The dissidents had been becoming more powerful for nearly a decade following his abrupt switch of allegiance from the Soviet Union to the United States and the disastrous Ogaden War of 1977–1978.

The National Security Service (NSS) was the primary intelligence agency of the Somali Democratic Republic from 1970 to 1990. The NSS was formed as under government of Siad Barre in 1970, modelled after the KGB of the Soviet Union, and was formally dissolved in 1990 shortly before Barre's overthrow. In 2013, the Federal Government of Somalia re-established the NSS as the national intelligence service, renaming it the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA).

Isaaq genocide

The Isaaq genocide or Hargeisa Holocaust was the systematic, state-sponsored massacre of Isaaq civilians between 1987 and 1989 by the Somali Democratic Republic under the dictatorship of Siad Barre. The number of civilian deaths in this massacre is estimated to be between 50,000-100,000 according to various sources, whilst local reports estimate the total civilian deaths to be upwards of 200,000 Isaaq civilians. This genocide also included the levelling and complete destruction of the second and third largest cities in Somalia, Hargeisa and Burao respectively, and had caused up to 500,000 Somalis to flee their land and cross the border to Hartasheikh in Ethiopia as refugees, in what was described as "one of the fastest and largest forced movements of people recorded in Africa", and resulted in the creation of the world's largest refugee camp then (1988), with another 400,000 being internally displaced. The scale of destruction led to Hargeisa being known as the 'Dresden of Africa'. The killings happened during the Somali Civil War and have been referred to as a "forgotten genocide".

Early years

Mohamed Siad Barre was born on October 6, 1919, near Shilavo, a town in the predominately Somali-populated Ogaden region of the Ethiopian Empire, into the Somali Marehan Darod clan and the sub-clan of Rer Dini. [7] [8] Barre's parents died when he was ten years old, and after receiving his primary education in the town of Luuq in southern Italian Somalia moved to the capital Mogadishu to pursue his secondary education. [8] In 1935, Barre enrolled in the Italian colonial police as a Zaptié despite being ineligible as he was born in Ethiopia, instead claiming to have been born in Garbahaareey in order to qualify. [7] [9] Barre seems to have probably participated as a Zaptié in the southern theatre of the Italian conquest of Ethiopia in 1936, and later joined the colonial police force during the British Somaliland military administration, rising to major general, the highest possible rank. [10] [8] In 1946, Barre supported the Somali Conference (Italian : Conferenza Somala), a political group of parties and clan associations that were hostile to the Somali Youth League and were supported by the local Italian farmers. The group presented a petition to the "Four Powers" Investigation Commission in order to allow that the administration of the United Nations Trust Territory could be entrusted for thirty years to Italy. [11] In 1950, shortly after Italian Somaliland became a United Nations Trust Territory under Italian administration for ten years, Barre (who was fluent in Italian) attended the Carabinieri police school in Florence for two years. [12] [8] Upon his return to Somalia, Barre remained with the military and eventually became Vice Commander of the Somali Army when the country gained its independence in 1960 as the Somali Republic.

Shilavo Place in Somali, Ethiopia

Shilavo is a city of the somalia part of the Ogaden somalis ,Located in the Korahe Zone of the Somali Region, the town has a latitude and longitude of 6°06′N44°46′E with an elevation of 395 meters above sea level. it is the administrative center of Shilavo woreda.

Ogaden Place

Ogaden is the historical name of the modern Somali Region, the territory comprising the eastern portion of Ethiopia formerly part of the Hararghe province. The inhabitants are predominantly ethnic Somalis. The Ogaden (clan) of the Darod constitute the majority in the region, although this is disputed. Other Somali clans in the region are Isaaq, Gadabuursi, Issa and Hawiye clans.

Ethiopian Empire 1270–1974 empire in East Africa

The Ethiopian Empire, also known by the exonym "Abyssinia", or just simply Ethiopia, was a kingdom that spanned a geographical area in the current states of Eritrea and Ethiopia. It began with the establishment of the Solomonic dynasty from approximately 1270 and lasted until 1974, when the ruling Solomonic dynasty was overthrown in a coup d'état by the Derg.

In the early 1960s, after spending time with Soviet officers in joint training exercises, Barre became an advocate of Soviet-style Marxist-Leninist government, believing in a socialist government and a stronger sense of Somali nationalism.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal sovereign state in northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centers were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometers (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Somali nationalism

Somali nationalism (Somali:Soomaalinimo) is centered on the notion that the Somali people share a common language, religion, culture and ethnicity, and as such constitute a nation unto themselves. The ideology's earliest manifestations are often traced back to the resistance movement led by Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's Dervish movement at the turn of the 20th century. In northwestern present-day Somalia, the first Somali nationalist political organization to be formed was the Somali National League (SNL), established in 1935 in the former British Somaliland protectorate. In the country's northeastern, central and southern regions, the similarly-oriented Somali Youth Club (SYC) was founded in 1943 in Italian Somaliland, just prior to the trusteeship period. The SYC was later renamed the Somali Youth League (SYL) in 1947. It became the most influential political party in the early years of post-independence Somalia.

Seizure of power

In 1969, following the assassination of Somalia's second president, Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, the military staged the 1969 coup d'état on October 21, the day after Shermarke's funeral, overthrowing the Somali Republic's government. The Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC), a military junta led by Major General Barre, Lieutenant Colonel Salaad Gabeyre Kediye and Chief of Police Jama Korshel, assumed power and filled the top offices of the government, with Kediye officially holding the title of "Father of the Revolution," although Barre shortly afterwards became the head of the SRC. [13] The SRC subsequently renamed the country the Somali Democratic Republic, arrested members of the former government, banned political parties, dissolved the parliament and the Supreme Court, and suspended the constitution. [14] [15] [16] [17]

Assassination murder of a prominent person, often a political leader or ruler

Assassination is the act of killing a prominent person for either political, religious, or monetary reasons.

Supreme Revolutionary Council (Somalia)

The Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) was the governmental body that ruled Somalia from 1969 to 1976.

A military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term junta comes from Spanish and Portuguese and means committee, specifically a board of directors. Sometimes it becomes a military dictatorship, though the terms are not synonymous.


Barre with Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu in 1976 Muhammad Siad Barre - 40866X9X9.jpg
Barre with Romanian president Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1976

Barre assumed the position of President of Somalia, styled the "Victorious Leader" (Guulwade), and fostered the growth of a personality cult with portraits of him in the company of Marx and Lenin lining the streets on public occasions. [18] Barre advocated a form of scientific socialism based on the Qur'an and Marxism, with heavy influences of Somali nationalism.

Supreme Revolutionary Council

The Supreme Revolutionary Council established large-scale public works programs and successfully implemented an urban and rural literacy campaign, which helped dramatically increase the literacy rate. Barre began a program of nationalising industry and land, and the new regime's foreign policy placed an emphasis on Somalia's traditional and religious links with the Arab world, eventually joining the Arab League in 1974. [8] That same year, Barre also served as chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African Union (AU). [19]

In July 1976, Barre's SRC disbanded itself and established in its place the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (SRSP), a one-party government based on scientific socialism and Islamic tenets. The SRSP was an attempt to reconcile the official state ideology with the official state religion by adapting Marxist precepts to local circumstances. Emphasis was placed on the Muslim principles of social progress, equality and justice, which the government argued formed the core of scientific socialism and its own accent on self-sufficiency, public participation and popular control, as well as direct ownership of the means of production. While the SRSP encouraged private investment on a limited scale, the administration's overall direction was essentially communist. [15]

A new constitution was promulgated in 1979 under which elections for a People's Assembly were held. However, the Politburo of Barre's Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party continued to rule. [17] In October 1980, the SRSP was disbanded, and the Supreme Revolutionary Council was re-established in its place. [15]

Language and anti-clanism

One of the first and principal objectives of the revolutionary regime was the adoption of a standard national writing system. Barre supported the official use of Latin script for the Somali language, replacing Arabic script and Wadaad writing that had been used for centuries. Shortly after coming to power, Barre introduced the Somali language (Af Soomaali) as the official language of education, and selected the modified Somali Latin alphabet developed by the Somali linguist Shire Jama Ahmed as the nation's standard orthography. From then on, all education in government schools had to be conducted in Somali, and in 1972, all government employees were ordered to learn to read and write Somali within six months. The reason given for this was to decrease a growing rift between those who spoke the colonial languages, Italian or English, and those who did not, as many of the high ranking positions in the former government were given to people who spoke either Italian or English.

Additionally, Barre also sought to eradicate the importance of the Somali clan system (qabil) within Somalia's government and civil society. The inevitable first question that Somalis asked one another when they met was, '"What is your clan?", but when this was considered to be against to the purpose of a modern state, Somalis began to pointedly ask, "What is your ex-clan?". Barre outlawed this question and a broad range of other activities classified as "clanism", with informers reporting qabilists, those considered to propagate the clan system, to the government, leading to arrests and imprisonment.

On a more symbolic level, Barre had repeated a number of times, "Whom do you know? is changed to: What do you know?", and this incantation became part of a popular street song in Somalia. [20] He also promoted a number of favored greetings, such as the singular jaalle (comrade) or the plural jaalleyaal (comrades). [21]

Nationalism and Greater Somalia

Barre advocated the concept of a Greater Somalia (Soomaaliweyn), which refers to those regions in the Horn of Africa in which ethnic Somalis reside and have historically represented the predominant population. Greater Somalia encompasses Somalia, Djibouti, the Ogaden in Ethiopia, and Kenya's former North Eastern Province, regions of the Horn of Africa where Somalis form the majority of the population to some proportion. [22] [23] [24] In July 1977, the Ogaden War broke out after the Barre's government sought to incorporate the various Somali-inhabited territories of the region into a Greater Somalia, beginning with the Ogaden. The Somali national army invaded Ethiopia, which was now under communist rule of the Soviet-backed Derg, and was successful at first, capturing most of the territory of the Ogaden. The invasion reached an abrupt end with the Soviet Union's shift of support to Ethiopia, followed by almost the entire communist world siding against Somalia. The Soviets halted their previous supplies to Barre's regime and increased the distribution of aid, weapons, and training to the Ethiopian government, and also brought in around 15,000 Cuban troops to assist the Ethiopian regime. In 1978, the Somali troops were ultimately pushed out of the Ogaden.

Foreign relations

Control of Somalia was of great interest to both the Soviet Union and the United States due to the country's strategic location at the mouth of the Red Sea. After the Soviets broke with Somalia in the late 1970s, Barre subsequently expelled all Soviet advisers, tore up his friendship treaty with the Soviet Union, and switched allegiance to the West. The United States stepped in and until 1989, was a strong supporter of the Barre government for whom it provided approximately US$100 million per year in economic and military aid.

In September 1972 Tanzanian-sponsored rebels attacked Uganda. Ugandan President Idi Amin requested Barre's assistance, and he subsequently mediated a non-aggression pact between Tanzania and Uganda. For his actions, a road in Kampala was named after Barre. [25]

On October 17 and October 18, 1977, a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) group hijacked Lufthansa Flight 181 to Mogadishu, holding 86 hostages. West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Barre negotiated a deal to allow a GSG 9 anti-terrorist unit into Mogadishu to free the hostages.

Domestic programs

During the first five years, Barre's government set up several cooperative farms and factories of mass production such as mills, sugar cane processing facilities in Jowhar and Afgooye, and a meat processing house in Kismayo.

Another public project initiated by the government was the Shalanbood Sanddune Stoppage: from 1971 onwards, a massive tree-planting campaign on a nationwide scale was introduced by Barre's administration to halt the advance of thousands of acres of wind-driven sand dunes that threatened to engulf towns, roads, and farm land. [26] By 1988, 265 hectares of a projected 336 hectares had been treated, with 39 range reserve sites and 36 forestry plantation sites established. [27]

Between 1974 and 1975, a major drought referred to as the Abaartii Dabadheer ("The Lingering Drought") occurred in the northern regions of Somalia. The Soviet Union, which at the time maintained strategic relations with the Barre government, airlifted some 90,000 people from the devastated regions of Hobyo and Caynaba. New settlements of small villages were created in the Jubbada Hoose (Lower Jubba) and Jubbada Dhexe (Middle Jubba) regions, with these new settlements known as the Danwadaagaha or "Collective Settlements". The transplanted families were introduced to farming and fishing, a change from their traditional pastoralist lifestyle of livestock herding. Other such resettlement programs were also introduced as part of Barre's effort to undercut clan solidarity by dispersing nomads and moving them away from clan-controlled land.

Economic policies

As part of Barre's socialist policies, major industries and farms were nationalised, including banks, insurance companies and oil distribution farms. By the mid-to-late-1970s, public discontent with the Barre regime was increasing, largely due to corruption among government officials as well as poor economic performance. The Ogaden War had also weakened the Somali army substantially and military spending had crippled the economy. Foreign debt increased faster than export earnings, and by the end of the decade, Somalia's debt of 4 billion shillings equaled the earnings from seventy-five years' worth of banana exports. [28]

By 1978, manufactured goods exports were almost non-existent, and with the lost support of the Soviet Union the Barre government signed a structural adjustment agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the early 1980s. This included the abolishment of some government monopolies and increased public investment. This and a second agreement were both cancelled by the mid-1980s, as the Somali army refused to accept a proposed 60 percent cut in military spending. New agreements were made with the Paris Club, the International Development Association and the IMF during the second half of the 1980s. This ultimately failed to improve the economy which deteriorated rapidly in 1989 and 1990, and resulted in nationwide commodity shortages.

Car collision

In May 1986, President Barre suffered serious injuries in a life-threatening automobile collision near Mogadishu, when the car that was transporting him smashed into the back of a bus during a heavy rainstorm. [29] He was treated in a hospital in Saudi Arabia for head injuries, broken ribs and shock over a period of a month. [30] [31] Lieutenant General Mohamed Ali Samatar, then Vice President, subsequently served as de facto head of state for the next several months. Although Barre managed to recover enough to present himself as the sole presidential candidate for re-election over a term of seven years on December 23, 1986, his poor health and advanced age led to speculation about who would succeed him in power. Possible contenders included his son-in-law General Ahmed Suleiman Abdille, who was at the time the Minister of the Interior, in addition to Barre's Vice President Lt. Gen. Samatar. [29] [30]

Human rights abuses

Part of Barre's time in power was characterized by oppressive dictatorial rule, including persecution, jailing and torture of political opponents and dissidents. The United Nations Development Programme stated that "the 21-year regime of Siyad Barre had one of the worst human rights records in Africa." [32] In January 1990, the Africa Watch Committee, a branch of Human Rights Watch organizational released an extensive report titled "Somalia A Government At War with Its Own People" composing of 268 pages, the report highlights the widespread violations of basic human rights in the northern regions of Somalia. The report includes testimonies about the killing and conflict in northern Somalia by newly arrived refugees in various countries around the world. Systematic human rights abuses against the dominant Isaaq clan in the north was described in the report as "state sponsored terrorism" "both the urban population and nomads living in the countryside [were] subjected to summary killings, arbitrary arrest, detention in squalid conditions, torture, rape, crippling constraints on freedom of movement and expression and a pattern of psychological intimidation. The report estimates that 50,000 to 60,000 people were killed from 1988 to 1989." [33] Amnesty International went on to report that torture methods committed by Barre's National Security Service (NSS) included executions and "beatings while tied in a contorted position, electric shocks, rape of woman prisoners, simulated executions and death threats." [34]

In September 1970, the government introduced the National Security Law No. 54, which granted the NSS the power to arrest and detain indefinitely those who expressed critical views of the government, without ever being brought to trial. It further gave the NSS the power to arrest without a warrant anyone suspected of a crime involving "national security". Article 1 of the law prohibited "acts against the independence, unity or security of the State", and capital punishment was mandatory for anyone convicted of such acts. [35]

From the late 1970s, and onwards Barre faced a shrinking popularity and increased domestic resistance. In response, Barre's elite unit, the Red Berets (Duub Cas), and the paramilitary unit called the Victory Pioneers carried out systematic terror against the Majeerteen, Hawiye, and Isaaq clans. [36] The Red Berets systematically smashed water reservoirs to deny water to the Majeerteen and Isaaq clans and their herds. More than 2,000 members of the Majeerteen clan died of thirst, and an estimated 5,000 Isaaq were killed by the government. Members of the Victory Pioneers also raped large numbers of Majeerteen and Isaaq women, and more than 300,000 Isaaq members fled to Ethiopia. [37] [38]

By the mid-1980s, more resistance movements supported by Ethiopia's communist Derg administration had sprung up across the country. Barre responded by ordering punitive measures against those he perceived as locally supporting the guerillas, especially in the northern regions. The clampdown included bombing of cities, with the northwestern administrative center of Hargeisa, a Somali National Movement (SNM) stronghold, among the targeted areas in 1988. [39] [40] The bombardment was led by General Mohammed Said Hersi Morgan, Barre's son-in-law, and resulted in the deaths of 50,000 people in the north. [41]

Rebellion and ouster

After fallout from the unsuccessful Ogaden campaign, Barre's administration began arresting government and military officials under suspicion of participation in an abortive 1978 coup d'état. [42] [43] Most of the people who had allegedly helped plot the putsch were summarily executed. [44] However, several officials managed to escape abroad and started to form the first of various dissident groups dedicated to ousting Barre's regime by force. [45]

A new constitution was promulgated in 1979 under which elections for a People's Assembly were held. However, Barre and the Politburo of his Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party continued to rule. [17] In October 1980, the SRSP was disbanded, and the Supreme Revolutionary Council was re-established in its place. [15] By that time, the moral authority of Barre's ruling Supreme Revolutionary Council had begun to weaken. Many Somalis were becoming disillusioned with life under military dictatorship. The regime was further weakened in the 1980s as the Cold War drew to a close and Somalia's strategic importance was diminished. The government became increasingly totalitarian, and resistance movements, supported by Ethiopia's communist Derg administration, sprang up across the country. This eventually led in 1991 to the outbreak of the civil war, the toppling of Barre's regime and the disbandment of the Somali National Army (SNA). Among the militia groups that led the rebellion were the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), United Somali Congress (USC), Somali National Movement (SNM) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), together with the non-violent political oppositions of the Somali Democratic Movement (SDM), the Somali Democratic Alliance (SDA) and the Somali Manifesto Group (SMG). Siad Barre escaped from his palace towards the Kenyan border in a tank [46] Many of the opposition groups subsequently began competing for influence in the power vacuum that followed the ouster of Barre's regime. In the south, armed factions led by USC commanders General Mohamed Farah Aidid and Ali Mahdi Mohamed, in particular, clashed as each sought to exert authority over the capital. [47]

Exile and death

After fleeing Mogadishu in January 1991, Barre temporarily remained in the southwestern Gedo region of the country, which was the stronghold for his family. From there, he launched a military campaign to return to power. He twice attempted to retake Mogadishu, but in May 1991 was overwhelmed by General Mohamed Farrah Aidid's army, and was forced into exile.

Barre initially moved to Nairobi, Kenya, but opposition groups with a presence there protested his arrival and support of him by the Kenyan government. In response to the pressure and hostilities, he moved two weeks later to Nigeria. Barre died on January 26, 1995 in Lagos from a heart attack. He was buried in Garbahaareey District in the Gedo region of Somalia.


See also

Related Research Articles

History of Somalia

Somalia, officially the Federal Republic of Somalia and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic, is a country located in the Horn of Africa.

Somali Democratic Republic former country

The Somali Democratic Republic was the name that the Marxist–Leninist military government of former President of Somalia, Major General Mohamed Siad Barre, gave to Somalia during its rule, after having seized power in a coup d'état. The putsch came a few days after the assassination of Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, the nation's second President, by one of his own bodyguards. Barre's administration ruled Somalia for the following 21 years, until Somalia collapsed into anarchy in 1991.

Somali Salvation Democratic Front political party

Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), initially known as the Democratic Front for Salvation of Somalia, was a political and paramilitary umbrella organization in Somalia. Founded in 1978 by several army officers, it was the first of several opposition groups dedicated to ousting the authoritarian regime of Mohamed Siad Barre. With its power base mainly in the Majeerteen clan, SSDF representatives, along with local elders, intellectuals and business people, were instrumental in the establishment in 1998 of the autonomous Puntland region in northeastern Somalia.

The Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party was the ruling party of the Somali Democratic Republic from 1976 to 1991.

Ogaden War Somali military offensive between July 1977 and March 1978 over the disputed Ethiopian region Ogaden starting with the Somali Democratic Republics invasion of Ethiopia

The Ogaden War was a Somali military offensive between July 1977 and March 1978 over the disputed Ethiopian region of Ogaden, which began with the Somali invasion of Ethiopia. The Soviet Union disapproved of the invasion and ceased its support of Somalia, instead starting to support Ethiopia; the United States, conversely, ceased its support of Ethiopia and started supporting Somalia. Ethiopia was saved from a major defeat and a permanent loss of territory through a massive airlift of military supplies, the arrival of 16,000 Cuban troops, 1,500 Soviet advisors and two brigades from South Yemen, also airlifted to reinforce Harar. The Ethiopians prevailed at Harar, Dire Dawa and Jijiga, and began to push the Somalis systematically out of the Ogaden. By March 1978, the Ethiopians had captured almost all of the Ogaden, prompting the defeated Somalis to give up their claim to the region. A third of the initial Somali National Army invasion force was killed, and half of the Somali Airforce destroyed; the war left Somalia with a disorganized and demoralized army and an angry population. All of these conditions led to a revolt in the army which eventually spiraled into a civil war and Somalia's current situation.

Ali Mahdi Muhammad Somali entrepreneur and politician

Ali Mahdi Muhammad is a Somali entrepreneur and politician. He served as President of Somalia from January 26, 1991 to January 3, 1997.

Darod Somali clan

The Darod is a Somali clan. The forefather of this clan was Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti, more commonly known as Darood. The Darod clan is the largest Somali clans in the Horn of Africa, with a wide traditional territory.

Mohammad Ali Samatar Prime Minister of Somalia; Lt. Gen. in Somali National Army

Mohamed Ali Samatar, also known as Ali Samatar was a Somali politician and lieutenant general. A senior member of the Supreme Revolutionary Council, he also served as the Prime Minister of Somalia from 1 February 1987 to 3 September 1990.

Somali Youth League political party

The Somali Youth League (SYL), initially known as the Somali Youth Club (SYC), was the first political party in Somalia. It played a key role in the nation's road to independence during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

Somali National Movement

The Somali National Movement was a 1980s–1990s Somali rebel group. The Somali National Movement was organized in London, England, on April 6, 1981 by Hasan Adan Wadadi, a former Somali diplomat, who stated that the group's purpose was to overthrow the Siaad Barre regime. The SNM gathered its main base of support from members of the Isaaq clan, who formed and supported the movement in response to years of systematic discrimination by the Siaad Barre government. The SNM at first did not necessarily support secession, The USC's announcement of a provisional government in February 1991 angered the SNM who maintained that they had not been consulted. Pressure for secession evidently came from the SNM's followers, who were devastated by the loss of lives and the destruction of northern cities by the Siad Barre government. In Hargeisa, for instance, only 5% of the city's buildings remain standing.

Following the civil war and the ensuing societal chaos, some factions managed to exert a degree of authority over certain regions of Somalia where they maintained broad, clan-based support. This allowed these factions to establish working administrations and eventually coherent states, and restored order to their regions. This occurred first in Puntland, Southwestern Somalia, Galmudug, Jubaland and finally Banadir.

Over the course of the Somali Civil War, there have been many revolutionary movements and militia groups run by competing rebel leaders which have held de facto control over vast areas of the country.

The Habr Awal is a major Somali clan in horn of Africa and which is divided into eight sub-clans of which the two largest and most prominent are the Issa Musse clans and the Sa’ad Musse clans. Its members form a part of the Habar Magaadle confederation.They contstitute the largest sub-clan of the Isaaq. The Habar Awal traditionally consists of farmers, nomadic pastoralists, merchants and coastal people. They are viewed as the richest Somali clan. They politically and economically dominate Somaliland and reside in the most economically strategic and fertile lands in Somaliland, as well as dominating the national capital Hargeisa where they make up the majority.

The 1982 Ethiopian–Somali Border War occurred between June and August 1982 when Ethiopia, sending a 10,000 man invasion force backed by warplanes and armored units, supported by hundreds of SSDF rebels invaded Central Somalia. Siad Barre's regime managed to ultimately repel most of the rebel offensive through declaring a state of emergency in the war zone. The United States government responded by speeding up deliveries of light arms and Pattons already promised. In addition, the initially pledged US$45 million in economic and military aid was increased to US$80 million.

Military history of Somalia

The military history of Somalia encompasses the major conventional wars, conflicts and skirmishes involving the historic empires, kingdoms and sultanates in the territory of present-day Somalia, through to modern times. It also covers the martial traditions, military architecture and hardware employed by Somali armies and their opponents.

Abdullah Mohamed Fadil, also known as Abdalla Mohamed Fadil, was a prominent Somali military figure.


  1. 1 2 Greenfield, Richard (1995-01-03). "Obituary: Mohamed Said Barre". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  2. James, George (1995-01-03). "Somalia's Overthrown Dictator, Mohammed Siad Barre, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  3. Yihun, Belete Belachew. "Ethiopian foreign policy and the Ogaden War: the shift from “containment” to “destabilization,” 1977–1991." Journal of Eastern African Studies 8.4 (2014): 677-691.
  4. Library of Congress. Federal Research Division (1993). "Siad Barre and Scientific Socialism". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Somalia: A Country Study. U.S. Government Publishing Office. ISBN   9780844407753.
  5. Library of Congress. Federal Research Division (1993). "Siad Barre's Repressive Measures". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Somalia: A Country Study. U.S. Government Publishing Office. ISBN   9780844407753.
  6. Library of Congress. Federal Research Division (1993). "The Social Order". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Somalia: A Country Study. U.S. Government Publishing Office. ISBN   9780844407753.
  7. 1 2 Laitin, David D.; Samatar, Said S. (1987). Somalia: nation in search of a state. Boulder: Westview Press. p. 79.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 Frankel, Benjamin (1992). The Cold War, 1945-1991: Leaders and other important figures in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and the Third World. Gale Research. p. 306. ISBN   9780810389281.
  9. "President Siad Barre life (German)". Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2017.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. Daniel Compagnon. "Le regime Syyad Barre"; p. 179
  12. Mohamed Amin (5 March 2014). "President Mohamed Siad Barre and Somali Officials speaking italian Part 1" via YouTube.
  13. Adam, Hussein Mohamed; Ford, Richard (1997). Mending rips in the sky: options for Somali communities in the 21st century. Red Sea Press. p. 226. ISBN   9781569020739.
  14. Library of Congress. Federal Research Division (1993). "Coup d'Etat". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Somalia: A Country Study. U.S. Government Publishing Office. ISBN   9780844407753.
  15. 1 2 3 4 Peter John de la Fosse Wiles, The New Communist Third World: an essay in political economy, (Taylor & Francis: 1982), p.279.
  16. Fage, J. D.; Crowder, Michael; Oliver, Roland Anthony (1984). The Cambridge History of Africa. 8. Cambridge University Press. p. 478. ISBN   9780521224093.
  17. 1 2 3 The Encyclopedia Americana: complete in thirty volumes. Skin to Sumac. 25. Grolier. 1995. p. 214. ISBN   9780717201266.
  18. Metz, Helen C. (ed.) (1992), "Siad Barre and Scientific Socialism", Somalia: A Country Study, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link).
  19. Oihe Yang, Africa South of the Sahara 2001, 30th Ed., (Taylor and Francis: 2000), p.1025.
  20. Laitin, David D., Politics, Language, and Thought, p. 89
  21. Jaamac, Faarax Maxamed. Aqoondarro waa u Nacab Jacayl. Jamhuuriyadda Dimoqraadiga Soomaaliya, Wasaaradda Hiddaha iyo Tacliinta Sare, 1974.
  22. The 1994 national census was delayed in the Somali Region until 1997. FDRE States: Basic Information - Somalia Archived 2005-05-22 at the Wayback Machine , Population (accessed 12 March 2006)
  23. Francis Vallat, First report on succession of states in respect of treaties: International Law Commission twenty-sixth session 6 May-26 July 1974, (United Nations: 1974), p.20
  24. Africa Watch Committee, Kenya: Taking Liberties, (Yale University Press: 1991), p.269
  25. Mugabe, Faustin (20 November 2017). "Somalia's Siad Barre saves Amin from Tanzanians". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  26. National Geographic Society (U.S.), National Geographic, Volume 159, (National Geographic Society: 1981), p.765.
  27. Hadden, Robert Lee. 2007. "The Geology of Somalia: A Selected Bibliography of Somalian Geology, Geography and Earth Science." Engineer Research and Development Laboratories, Topographic Engineering Center
  28. Metz, Helen C. (ed.) (1992), "The Socialist Revolution After 1975", Somalia: A Country Study, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link).
  29. 1 2 World of Information (Firm), Africa review, (World of Information: 1987), p.213.
  30. 1 2 Arthur S. Banks, Thomas C. Muller, William Overstreet, Political Handbook of the World 2008, (CQ Press: 2008), p.1198.
  31. National Academy of Sciences (U.S.). Committee on Human Rights, Institute of Medicine (U.S.). Committee on Health and Human Rights, Scientists and human rights in Somalia: report of a delegation, (National Academies: 1988), p.9.
  32. UNDP, Human Development Report 2001-Somalia, (New York: 2001), p. 42
  33. Africa Watch Committee, Somalia: A Government at War with its Own People, (New York: 1990), p. 9
  34. Amnesty International, Torture in the Eighties, (Bristol, England: Pitman Press, 1984), p. 127.
  35. National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) Committee on Human Rights & Institute of Medicine (U.S.) Committee on Health and Human Rights, Scientists and human rights in Somalia: report of a delegation, (Washington D.C.: National Academy Press, 1988), p. 16.
  36. Metz, Helen C. (ed.) (1992), "Siad Barre's Repressive Measures", Somalia: A Country Study, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link).
  37. Metz, Helen C. (ed.) (1992), "Persecution of the Majeerteen", Somalia: A Country Study, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link).
  38. Metz, Helen C. (ed.) (1992), "Oppression of the Isaaq", Somalia: A Country Study, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link).
  39. "Somalia — Government". Library of Congress. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  40. Compagnon, Daniel (22 October 2013). "State-sponsored violence and conflict under Mahamed Siyad Barre: the emergence of path dependent patterns of violence". World Peace Foundation, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy . Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  41. "Analysis: Somalia's powerbrokers". BBC News. 8 January 2002. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  42. ARR: Arab report and record, (Economic Features, ltd.: 1978), p.602.
  43. Ahmed III, Abdul. "Brothers in Arms Part I" (PDF). WardheerNews. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 3, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2012.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  44. New People Media Centre, New people, Issues 94–105, (New People Media Centre: Comboni Missionaries, 2005).
  45. Nina J. Fitzgerald, Somalia: issues, history, and bibliography, (Nova Publishers: 2002), p.25.
  46. Perlez, Jane; Times, Special to The New York (28 October 1991). "Insurgents Claiming Victory in Somalia" . Retrieved 28 October 2017 via
  47. Library Information and Research Service, The Middle East: Abstracts and index, Volume 2, (Library Information and Research Service: 1999), p.327.
  48. Korea Today. Foreign Languages Publishing House (191): 10. 1972.Missing or empty |title= (help)

Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Sheikh Mukhtar Mohamed Hussein
President of Somalia
Succeeded by
Ali Mahdi Muhammad