Mohamed Farrah Hassan Aidid (Somali: Maxamed Faarax Xasan Caydiid,
Arabic: محمد فرح حسن عيديد; December 15, 1934 –
August 1, 1996) was a Somali military commander and political
leader. A former general and diplomat, he was the chairman of the
United Somali Congress (USC) and later led the Somali National
Alliance (SNA). Along with other armed opposition groups, they drove
out President Mohamed Siad Barre's socialist regime from Somalia's
Mogadishu during the
Somali Civil War
Somali Civil War that broke out in the
In 1992, Aidid attacked
United Nations troops in the nation. He was
one of the main targets of the Unified Task Force. After eventually
forcing UN forces to withdraw in 1995, Aidid declared himself
Somalia until he was killed the following year.
1 Early years
2 United Somali Congress
3 Presidency declaration
Aidid was born in 1934 in Beledweyne,
Italian Somaliland to a Habar
Gidir family. He was educated in
Moscow and served in the
Italian colonial police force in the 1950s. He later joined the Somali
For advanced military training, Aidid studied at the Frunze Military
Academy (Военная академия им. М. В. Фрунзе)
in the Soviet Union, an elite institution reserved for the most
qualified officers of the
Warsaw Pact armies and their allies.
In 1969, a few days after the assassination of Somalia's second
president Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, a military junta led by Major
Mohamed Siad Barre
Mohamed Siad Barre staged a bloodless coup d'état. Aidid was
one of many officers serving at the central command of the Army at the
time of the putsch. He quickly fell out of favour with the new
regime's leaders and was subsequently detained. Aidid was eventually
released from prison six years afterwards to take part in the
1977–78 war against
Ethiopia over the disputed
He later served as an advisor to President Barre and as Somalia's
ambassador to India, before finally being appointed intelligence
United Somali Congress
Somali Rebellion and United Somali Congress
After fallout from the unsuccessful
Ogaden campaign of the late 1970s,
the Barre administration began arresting government and military
officials under suspicion of participation in the abortive 1978 coup
d'état. Most of the people who had allegedly helped plot the
putsch were summarily executed. 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.
By the late 1980s, Barre's regime had become increasingly unpopular.
The State took an increasingly hard line, and insurgencies, encouraged
by Ethiopia's communist
Derg administration, sprang up across the
country. This eventually led to the outbreak of the civil war in 1986,
the toppling of Barre's government on 26 January 1991, and the
disbandment of the Somali National Army (SNA). Many of the opposition
groups subsequently began competing for influence in the power vacuum
that followed the ouster of Barre's regime. Armed factions led by
United Somali Congress (USC) commanders General Aidid and Ali Mahdi
Mohamed, in particular, clashed as each sought to exert power over the
capital. However, Aidid failed to attract many Somali leaders and
intellectuals to the USC's cause, including fellow Frunze graduate
General Abdullahi Ahmed Irro, who opted instead to remain politically
UN Security Council Resolution 733 and UN Security Council Resolution
746 led to the creation of UNOSOM I, the first stabilization mission
Somalia after the dissolution of the central government. United
Nations Security Council Resolution 794 was unanimously passed on
December 3, 1992, which approved a coalition of United Nations
peacekeepers led by the United States. Forming the Unified Task Force
(UNITAF), the alliance was tasked with assuring security until
humanitarian efforts were transferred to the UN. Landing in 1993, the
UN peacekeeping coalition started the two-year United Nations
Somalia II (UNOSOM II) primarily in the south.
Aidid subsequently declared himself President of
Somalia in June
1995. However, his declaration received no international
recognition, as his rival Ali Mahdi Muhammad had already been elected
interim president at a conference in
Djibouti and recognized as such
by the international community.
Consequently, Aidid's faction continued its quest for hegemony in the
south. In September 1995, militia forces loyal to him attacked the
city of Baidoa, killing 10 local residents and capturing at least 20
foreign aid workers.
On July 24, 1996, Aidid and his men clashed with the forces of former
allies Ali Mahdi Muhammad and Osman Ali Atto. Atto was a former
supporter and financier of Aidid, and of the same subclan. Atto is
alleged to have masterminded the defeat of Aidid. Aidid suffered a
gunshot wound in the ensuing battle. He later died from a heart attack
on August 2, either during or after surgery to treat his injuries.
Other officers allegedly targeted by Atto include General Talan. In
its 2000 Country Report for Somalia, the U.S. Department of State
asserted that the killing of Yusuf Tallan, a former general under the
Barre regime, was connected to
Osman Ali Atto "because of Atto's
business deals in the north and the possibility of a deal between
Somaliland President Egal and Atto in order to destablize the
During the events leading up to the civil war, Aidid's wife Khadiga
Gurhan sought asylum in Canada in 1989, moving the couple's four
children with her. Local media shortly afterwards alleged that she had
Somalia for a five-month stay while still receiving
welfare payments. Gurhan admitted in an interview to collecting
welfare and having briefly traveled to
Somalia in late 1991. However,
it was later brought to light that she had been granted landed
immigrant status in June 1991, thereby making her a legal resident of
Canada. Additionally, Aidid's rival President Barre had been
overthrown in January of that year. This altogether ensured that
Gurhan's five-month trip would not have undermined her initial 1989
claim of refugee status. An official probe by Canadian immigration
officials into the allegations also concluded that she had obtained
her landing papers through normal legal processes.
Hussein Mohamed Farrah, son of General Aidid, emigrated to the United
States when he was 17 years old. Staying 16 years in the country, he
eventually became a naturalized citizen and later a United States
Marine who served in Somalia. Two days after his father's death, the
Somali National Alliance declared Farrah as the new President,
although he too was not internationally recognized as such.
^ "Mohamed Farah Aidid: Somali leader 1935-1996". CNN. Retrieved 19
^ Purvis, Andrew (June 28, 1993). "Wanted: Warlord No. 1". Time.
^ Ahmed III, Abdul. "Brothers in Arms Part I" (PDF). WardheerNews.
Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 15 July
^ United Nations. Dept. of Public Information (1996). The Blue
Helmets: A Review of
United Nations Peace-keeping. United Nations,
Dept. of Public Information. p. 287. ISBN 9211006112.
^ "CNN - Somali faction leader Aidid dies - Aug. 2, 1996". 2007-09-09.
Archived from the original on 2018-03-23. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
^ ARR: Arab Report and Record, (Economic Features, ltd.: 1978), p.602.
^ a b Ahmed III, Abdul. "Brothers in Arms Part I" (PDF). WardheerNews.
Archived from the original (PDF) on May 3, 2012. Retrieved February
^ New People Media Centre, New People, Issues 94–105, (New People
Media Centre: Comboni Missionaries, 2005).
^ Nina J. Fitzgerald, Somalia: Issues, History, and Bibliography,
(Nova Publishers: 2002), p.25.
^ Library Information and Research Service, The Middle East: Abstracts
and Index, Volume 2, (Library Information and Research Service: 1999),
^ Ken Rutherford, Humanitarianism Under Fire: The US and UN
Intervention in Somalia, Kumarian Press, July 2008
^ "President Aidid's Somalia". September 1995. Archived from the
original on 2009-07-16. Retrieved 2007-02-04.
^ Associated Press (19 September 1995). "Aidid troops kill Somalis,
capture city". The Register-Guard. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
^ Indian Ocean Newsletter, 27 April 1996 and Indian Ocean Newsletter,
4 May 1996
^ Serrill, Michael (12 August 1996), "Dead by the Sword", Time
Magazine, retrieved 2011-03-19
^ "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2000: Somalia". US
Department of State. 2001-02-23. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
^ Anderson, Scott (4 November 1993). "Tory probe into warlord's wife
too late to save Lewis". Eye Weekly. Archived from the original on 28
October 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
^ Kampeas, Ron (2 November 2002). "From Marine to warlord: The strange
journey of Hussein Farrah Aidid". Associated Press. Retrieved
Binney, Michael. Joint Close Air Support in the Low Intensity
Conflict[permanent dead link] (thesis). Monterey, California: Naval
Postgraduate School. June 2003.
Bowden, Mark. Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. Berkeley,
California: Atlantic Monthly Press. March 1999.
"Somali faction leader Aidid dies". CNN. August 2, 1996. Archived from
the original on March 10, 2006.
Lutz, David. Hannover Institute of Philosophical Research. The Ethics
of American Military Policy in Africa (research paper). Front Royal,
Virginia: Joint Services Conference on Professional Ethics. 2000.
McKinley, James. 'How a U.S. Marine Became a Warlord in Somalia'. New
York: The New York Times. August 16, 1996.
ISNI: 0000 0000 8367 3665