Mohammed Farah Aidid

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Mohamed Farah Aidid (Somali: Maxamed Faarax Caydiid ; English also spelled Aideed ) (born December 15, 1934 in Beledweyne , † August 1, 1996 in Mogadishu ) was a political leader in Somalia who was often referred to as a warlord . He came from the clan of Habar Gidir (subclan of the Hawiye ) and was the military leader of the United Somali Congress , which was instrumental in the overthrow of the dictator Siad Barre in 1991. After this success, Aidid and Ali Mahdi Mohammed claimed the office of president and fought fierce fighting, especially in Mogadishu, which affected the entire country. Aidid became internationally known when he and his Somali National Alliance turned against the humanitarian intervention UNOSOM from 1992 and therefore became the main target of the UNITAF military intervention .


Aidid was born as Mohammed Farah Hassan on December 15, 1934 in Beledweyne in what was then Italian Somaliland . From his mother he was nicknamed Aidid , which means something like "The one without weaknesses". Together with 13 other young men (including Siad Barre ), Aidid received cadet training in Rome from 1954 and became a police officer. In 1959 he became a soldier and received extensive military training in the Soviet Union .

At coup Siad Barre in 1969. Aidid was not involved, but shortly after he came under suspicion of plotting to overthrow government with US help. He was jailed for six years and was only released after a nervous breakdown. Nevertheless, he rose to head of Aspima , the state drug monopoly , and colonel in the armed forces. As an officer, he proved himself in the Ogad war against Ethiopia (1977/78) and was therefore given an ambassadorial post in India . In the late 1980s, the elders of the Hawiye clans called him to Addis Ababa to win him over to the rebellion against Siad Barre. Aidid joined the rebel organization United Somali Congress (USC) and built the armed forces of the organization. These forces bore the brunt of the civil war against the Barres government from 1988 onwards , which was finally overthrown on January 26, 1991. Ali Mahdi Mohammed has now proclaimed himself President of the USC as the new President of Somalia. Aidid, as commander in chief of the USC forces, immediately countered this claim by force of arms. The USC then split between Aidid's Habar Gidir subclan and Ali Mahdi Mohammed's subclan of the Abgal-Hawiye. Ali Mahdi controlled the north, Aidid the south of the capital Mogadishu .

Aidid and the intervention of UNOSOM / UNITAF

In December 1992 Aidid concluded an armistice with other clan leaders, and in June of the same year he had signed the “ Somali National Alliance ” (SNA). The United Nations had meanwhile stationed almost 30,000 soldiers in Somalia as part of the UNOSOM mission to secure the food supplies to the population affected by famine . However, the chances of peaceful cooperation with the United Nations were ruined when fighters from Aidid's clan killed 23 Pakistani UN soldiers on June 5, 1993. Aidid and his SNA resolutely opposed the UNOSOM, which he described as a "colonialist" undertaking and which he feared would reduce his influence. There was further heavy fighting between his troops and the international force, which also hampered food deliveries. The US then saw Aidid as the main culprit for the civil war and famine in Somalia and even offered a $ 25,000 bounty for those who could give clues about his capture.

In parts of the Somali population, however, Aidid also received support for his resistance to the international troops by addressing nationalist sentiments and denouncing unpopular practices such as the US air strikes on Mogadishu. He stylized himself as a hero of an anti-colonial liberation struggle.

On October 3, 1993, a group of US rangers and Delta Force units attempted to arrest Aidid's top political adviser and one of its ministers in Mogadishu. The operation, called Gothic Serpent , did not go according to plan, however, and 18 Americans, a Malaysian UN soldier and around 1,000 Somalis died in bloody street fighting. These events were described as " Battle of Mogadishu known" and action movie Black Hawk Down by Ridley Scott filmed.

In the aftermath of these events, the focus of the United Nations and the United States in Somalia on the capture of AIDS was questioned, as it had strengthened its political and military role. On November 16, 1993, the United Nations Security Council formally ended the search for Aidid by suspending UN Resolution 885 “Arrest warrants against persons who may have been involved in the attacks (on UN troops)”. With this, the focus was again on political reconciliation and not military action.

According to the UNOSOM

When the UN soldiers left Somalia in 1995, Aidid declared himself president of the country. However, his government was never recognized internationally. He remained an important political and military figure in Somalia until his death. 1995–1996 he fought in the so-called "banana war" against Osman Ali Atto for the lucrative banana exports in the city of Merka .

Aidid died on August 1, 1996. He probably died from a gunshot wound a week earlier in a gun battle with opposition forces. General William F. Garrison , who was responsible for the failed Operation Gothic Serpent in Mogadishu, resigned from office a day later.

After Aidid's death, his son Hussein Mohammed Farah (born 1962) was appointed successor by the Habar Gidir clan.


  • Michael Birnbaum: Somalia hot spot - The land of terror and anarchy , Munich 2002. ISBN 3-453-86109-4

Other sources

  1. ^ [Weber, Mathias: The UN mission in Somalia, p. 86]
  2. Time Magazine, June 28 1993: Wanted: Warlord No. 1
  3. ^ New York Times, December 18, 1993: US Envoy Says Crackdown Strengthened Aidid's Faction
  4. ^ New York Times, Nov. 17, 1993: Search for Aidid officially ended