Mohamed Farrah Aidid
Mohamed Farrah Aidid
محمد فرح عيديد
|Born||December 15, 1934|
Mudug, Italian Somaliland
|Died||August 1, 1996 (aged 61)|
|Political party||United Somali Congress/Somali National Alliance (USC/SNA)|
|Alma mater||M. V. Frunze Military Academy|
Mohamed Farrah Hassan Aidid (Somali: Maxamed Faarax Xasan Caydiid, Arabic: محمد فرح حسن عيديد; December 15, 1934 – August 2, 1996) was a Somali warlord and militia 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 capital Mogadishu during the Somali Civil War that broke out in the early 1990s.
In 1992, Aidid attacked United Nations troops, causing him to be named one of the main targets of the Unified Task Force. After UN peacekeepers withdrew in 1995, 18 American soldiers were killed by Aidid's forces, which also attacked peacekeepers, incited violence, and committed crimes against humanity at Aidid's behest.
Aideed was a highly qualified officer and quirky person who was selected to study advanced post graduate military science at the M. V. 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 General 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 along with Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed. Aidid was eventually released from prison six years afterwards to take part in the 1977–78 war against Ethiopia over the disputed Ogaden region.
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, the gradual breakup of the Somali Armed Forces, and the toppling of Barre's government on 26 January 1991. 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 neutral.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 733 and UN Security Council Resolution 746 led to the creation of the UNOSOM I after the dissolution of the central government. United Nations Security Council Resolution 794 was unanimously passed on December 3, 1992, which approved a coalition 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 Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM II) primarily in the south.
Crimes of USC
Upon capturing Mogadishu from the Somali National Army, USC militia men set on a rampage in what was described as a clan cleansing, according to eye witnesses and survivor reports, USC militia men would systematically target Somalis based on their clans. Individuals were hunted down, tortured, mutilated, and expressing joy at being able to gang-rape their female relatives in front of them. From what was supposed to be a take over of the capital city, now became to what was motivated as a deep personal, clan based hatred and resentment. Extreme brutality such as torture, rape, looting of properties were all part of the clan cleansing campaign. 
Gang rape was a terrorizing factor and a systematic approach in driving out populations, this was heavily carried out by the USC, there are accounts of eight girls who were abducted from their homes the night before, had been cut with knives and raped all night. They were left and found the following morning at 5.30am where the girls could barely move.
The harrowing rape cases that were reported led the militia leader Aidid to issue a public apology, in a video that was posted shows Aidid apologizing for some of the mass rapes carried out by his militia men. This apology can be seen as acceptance and acknowledgement of the crimes his militiamen committed on the Somali People.
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 destabilize the south."
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 returned to 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.
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