Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July 2014, 13:56 GMT

Somalia. Things Fall Apart

Publisher United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Publication Date 1 January 1993
Cite as United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Somalia. Things Fall Apart, 1 January 1993, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a607b.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
Comments The July 27, 1990 Regulations, "Aliens and Nationality: Asylum and Withholding of Deportation Procedures," mandated the creation of a new corps of Asylum Officers to provide an initial, nonadversarial adjudication of asylum claims. Asylum Officers use asylum law, interviews with asylum applicants, and relevant information on country conditions to determine the merits of individual claims for asylum. The Resource Information Center was created to assist Asylum Officers domestically, and Immigration Officers determining refugee status overseas, by collecting and disseminating credible and objective information on human rights conditions. As specified in the Regulations (8 CFR 208.12), such information may be obtained from the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and "other credible sources, such as international organizations, private voluntary organizations, or academic institutions." Resource Information Center Papers are one of the means by which information reflecting a wide range of credible sources is summarized for easy access by Asylum and Immigration Officers. The views expressed in Resource Information Center papers do not necessarily represent official U.S. Government opinion, nor do they reflect U.S. foreign policy concerns. This paper was written on the basis of publicly available information, analyses, and comment. All sources are cited. This paper cannot be, and does not purport to be, either exhaustive with regard to the country surveyed, or conclusive as to the merits of any claim to refugee status or asylum. Updates to this paper may be made from time to time. NOTE: This paper has been particularly written to address the information needs and issues of concern to U.S. Asylum Officers and other Immigration Officers. As such, it may not be exhaustive in its coverage of human rights issues within the country. To facilitate timely access, certain information may be repeated in several sections of this paper.
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

PREFACE

The attached report on Somalia was written in April 1992. Information in this report on the background of the current conflict and on clan rivalries are still substantially accurate. However, there are several events which must be discussed at least briefly to bring this report up to date.

Somaliland

Conditions in northern Somalia, the self-proclaimed Somaliland, are substantially better than in southern Somalia. However, sporadic ethnic clashes from May through October 1992, and limited control by the government over the various ethnic militias which control sections of Somaliland's major towns, Berbera and Hargeisa, indicate that problems would worsen in the future.[1]

Somalia

Publicity surrounding the American military operation in Somalia publicized the factionalized clan-based fighting throughout southern Somalia. Since the attached report was written, two factions have appeared to have gained military strength. One is a faction of the Ogadeni Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) led by Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess and allied with General Aideed, which gained territory in the south-west around Kismayu. The other is an alliance between General Mohamed Sa'id Hirsi Morgan, son-in-law of former leader Mohamed Siad Barre, and a faction of the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) led by General Adan Abdullahi `Gebiyu,' which has gained territory in southern Somalia.[2]

Although a tentative agreement on a settlement process was started in Somali after the start of the American military operation, most observers are not optimistic about its immediate chances for success. The United States limited its operation to clearing routes for relief supplies, not to disarm any of the ethnic militias. Ethnic clashes have continued throughout the American military operation, and are unlikely to stop when operations are turned over to the more limited United Nations peacekeeping forces.[3]

SUMMARY

The government of President Siad Barre was overthrown in January 1991. Several guerrilla groups that fought against Siad Barre's regime gained control over different parts of the country. In subsequent months, factionalism within these groups, lack of control by these groups over armed forces within their regions, and the emergence of new military and political groups challenging existing spheres of influence have created a situation in which few if any regions of Somalia are free from ethnic and political hostility. As a result of the fighting to overthrow Siad Barre, and the subsequent hostilities, there are an estimated 1.5 million Somali refugees in the Horn of Africa and Kenya.[4]

Since the January 1991 coup, the United Somali Congress (USC) has maintained primary control over central Somalia, including the capital, Mogadishu. However, in November 1991, a series of cease-fire agreements between two factions of the USC, one led by USC President General Mahamed Farah Aideed and one by interim Somali President Ali Mahdi Mohammed, degenerated into widespread factional fighting in Mogadishu. Between November 1991 and March 1992 an estimated 14,000 people died in Mogadishu.[5]

Even should peace be restored in the capital, fighting between the USC and other ethnic-based military forces throughout southern Somalia may continue to be a problem. While a July 1991 conference in the neighboring country of Djibouti brought a shaky truce between the USC and its main rival in southern Somali, the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), the Somali National Front, a coalition of forces loyal to deposed President Siad Barre, continues fighting in southwestern Somalia. Moveover, the SPM subsequently repudiated the July 1991 agreement, while General Aideed's faction of the USC never fully supported the agreement.[6]

In northern Somalia, the Somali National Movement (SNM), which wrested control of the region from Siad Barre after years of fighting, announced its secession from the Republic of Somalia. The SNM, under the leadership of Abdurahman Ahmed Ali "Tur," has re-adopted its former British colonial borders and is calling itself Somaliland.[7] In the months following the fall of the Siad Barre government, three groups have emerged in opposition to the SNM's plans for secession: the United Somali Front and the Somali Democratic Association in the northeast of Somalia, and the United Somali Party on the internal border between Somaliland and Somalia.[8]

BACKGROUND: THE SIAD BARRE REGIME AND ETHNIC HOSTILITY

Siad Barre's Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (SRSP) ruled Somalia from 1969 until January 1991.[9] Siad Barre attained power through a military coup. Although he later civilianized his regime, taking the title of President, he decreed that Somalia be a one-party state.[10] Organized political opposition was not permitted, and Siad Barre's response to dissent became increasingly brutal. According to The Christian Science Monitor, Barre's "reign of terror [was] cited by international human rights groups as one of the cruelest on the continent."[11] Africa Watch stated that abuses by the Somali Armed Forces under Barre included "aerial bombardment of civilian targets, secret detention in squalid conditions, the burning of villages, the indiscriminate use of landmines, the deliberate destruction of reservoirs and the killing of livestock, the lifeline of the rural population."[12] Amnesty International has reported 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."[13]

While clan and sub-clan identification is strong in Somalia, Somalia has one major ethnic group (Somalis), one language (Somali) and one religion (Sunni Islam).[14] Intermarriage between Somalia's six clans and various sub-clans has traditionally been encouraged.[15] Any explanation of the current level of hostilities between Somalia's clans and sub-clans must take into account Siad Barre's deliberately divisive tactics for maintaining power. Siad Barre's government was dominated by members of his own Marehan clan, a sub-clan of the Darod clan.[16] (Marehan should not be confused with the Majarteen clan. The Majarteen clan, although also within the Darod clan, was targeted by the Siad Barre government for repression.) Many top officials in the Siad Barre government were not simply kinsmen, but were close relatives: this included two top military commanders, his son (General Maslah Mohamed Barre) and son-in-law (General Mohamed Sa'id Hirsi Morgan).[17]

Human Rights Watch and the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights state that, "the monopoly that the relatives and clan members of the President had over education, health, employment and business opportunities has bred deep-rooted grievances and has had an important political effect in alienating other clans,"[18] some of which, in turn, set up political and/or guerrilla groups to depose his "harshly authoritarian and exclusionary rule...."[19]

As the groups which had organized some of the most effective opposition to the Siad Barre government, Majarteen sub-clan members of the Darod clan, Hawiye, and Isaaks were among the principal targets of government repression. However, other groups which opposed the Siad Barre regime also suffered. Because Siad Barre retaliated against political dissent by punishing whole clans or sub-clans – with aerial bombings of cities, for instance – ethnic divisions were sharply exacerbated. As shifting coalitions in the wake of Siad Barre's fall demonstrate, however, clan and sub-clan hostilities are more a response to regional and political considerations than immutable historical fault lines.[20]

ATTEMPTS TO FORM A CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

Mogadishu Captured by USC

The Siad Barre government fell in January 1991, with the taking of the national capital, Mogadishu, by military units of the United Somali Congress (USC). President Siad Barre is believed to have fled with loyal troops to Garba Harre, in the Gedo region, in southwestern Somalia. Some top government officials and their families have emerged as refugees in Kenya. Others have joined the anti-USC coalition group, the Somali National Front, and are fighting from southwestern Somalia.[21]

The July 1991 Coalition Conference

Immediately following the overthrow of the Siad Barre regime, the USC, which then controlled the central part of the country, including the capital, invited representatives of two other groups controlling regions of the country, the Somali National Movement (SNM) in the north, and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) in the south, to join in a unity conference in Mogadishu. Two conferences were held in neighboring Djibouti in July 1991. Participants in the second conference included six of Somalia's political groups (see map and genealogical charts on pages 21 and 22): the United Somali Congress (USC); its main rival in southern Somalia, the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM);[22] the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF); the Somali Democratic Movement (SDM); the Somali Democratic Association (SDA) and the United Somali Front (USF).[23]

Factions formed among conference participants. The USC, which is primarily Hawiye in membership, formed an alliance with the SDM. The SDM, comprised of people from the Rahwein/Baldoa sub-clan of the Saab grouping, controls territory contiguous to the USC. The SDA (Gadabursi) and the USF (Issa) are both from the northeastern region of Somaliland. Both called for retention of a unified Somalia, a position which the USC endorses but does not have the military capacity to enforce. The SSDF (Majarteen sub-clan of the Darod) and SPM (Ogadeni sub-clan of the Darod) also represented factional interests. The SPM controls major sections of southern Somalia, including the south Somali coastal town of Kisimayo. It had been fighting USC forces under the control of General Aideed, who favored postponing talks until such territories could be brought under USC control.

The Somali National Movement, which controls most of Somaliland (northern Somalia) and has opted for independence from southern Somalia, refused to participate at the conference. It did, however, send an observer to the talks. The Somali National Front, a coalition of forces allied with Siad Barre's troops, did not participate in the conference.

At the conference, it was decided that the provisional government led by the USC would continue to rule, resurrecting Somalia's democratic constitution of 1961. Free and fair elections were to be held within two years. Positions within the government were to be apportioned on an ethnic/regional basis through existing political groups, with the interim president from the USC. In late September a cabinet of 83 ministers and assistant ministers was announced, representing all ethnic groups. However, nearly half of the posts were allotted to the Hawiye clan. In an effort to entice the SNM to remain a part of Somalia, it was decreed that the new prime minister would be from the north of Somalia (Omar Arteh Ghalib). Participants at the conference endorsed a call for an "all out war" against Siad Barre and his remaining supporters.[24]

Although participants at the conference agreed in principle to Somalia's future form of government, continued military confrontations between conference participants and factional fighting within the USC raise doubts about the ability of participants to enforce the July 1991 agreement. As of April 1992, there is no coherent governing structure in southern Somalia.[25]

FACTIONAL FIGHTING WITHIN THE UNITED SOMALI CONGRESS

Accession to Power

Established in 1989, the USC, based primarily in the Hawiye clan, was formed in response to a continuing campaign by government forces to confiscate goods and livestock belonging to Hawiye civilians.[26] The USC was a latecomer in a long war by various Somali groups to bring down the Siad Barre government.[27] After ousting Barre in January 1991, the USC named Ali Mahdi Mohamed, a USC official, interim president of Somalia. This decision was then endorsed by other members of the governing coalition at the July 1991 conference in Djibouti.[28]

Occupation of the capital by the USC did not improve conditions for residents. In the first months following the ouster of Siad Barre, city residents were without basic services such as water, electricity and fuel. Even before November 1991, Mogadishu was completely looted and vandalized by armed gangs roaming the streets.[29] There were even rumors that some top ex-officials of the Siad Barre government eventually reappeared in posts in the USC government in Mogadishu.[30]

Factionalism within the USC

During August and September 1991, fighting continued in Mogadishu between two factions within the USC. Deaths from gunshot wounds rose as high as 70-100 per day in Mogadishu during late August and early September 1991. The situation degenerated still further in late November 1991, when General Aideed's faction escalated attempts to force interim Somali President Ali Mahdi from power. The fighting is clan based: General Aideed is a member of the Sa'ad [Habr Gidir] sub-clan of the Hawiye, while President Ali Mahdi Mohamed is from the Abgal sub-clan.[31] The tensions between the two subclans originate in part over rival claims to the presidency of Somalia, in part over differing understandings of who bore the brunt of fighting against Siad Barre's forces, and in part in disagreement over how to deal with rival Somali clan-based armies. General Aideed reportedly disapproves of President Ali Mahdi Mohamed's policy since June 1991 of co-operating with the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) and the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF). General Aideed prefers to defeat these groups militarily, while President Ali Mahdi Mohamed preferred political co-optation. While other sub-clans of the Hawiye have attempted to play a neutral mediating role between the two rival factions, violations of their territory and direct attacks have forced some to choose sides. According to a February 1992 Africa Watch report, President Ali Mahdi is now confined to a small area in the north of the capital, Mogadishu, while General Aideed controls the southern part of the city and has access to the airport and the southern part of the city's port.[32] Most of the central area of Mogadishu is contested territory.[33] Africa Confidential states that "there are a half-dozen Hawiye sub-clans which operate more or less independently of each other and of the USC leadership."[34]

According to the State Department, neither President Ali Mahdi nor General Aideed has shown any respect for human rights or any willingness to minimize civilian deaths in conducting war in the capital. Both sides train heavy artillery on neighborhoods where members of rival clans live, a tactic that has resulted in high civilian deaths. The State Department maintains that the disproportionate number of women and children killed in combat suggests a pattern of clan-motivated revenge. Neither army is paid, nor subject to much discipline, a situation that inevitably has led to a high incidence of looting, and severe mistreatment of civilian populations, including killings, rapes, and robberies.[35] The death toll in the period from November 1991 to March 1992 rose to an estimated 14,000.[36]

STATUS OF OTHER SOUTHERN SOMALIA CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS

The five political groups (the SPM, SSDF, and SDM from southern Somalia, and the SDA and USF from Somaliland) which signed the July 1991 Djibouti Accords with the USC remained, at last report, loyal to President Ali Mahdi Mohamed. They are, however, no more able than President Ali Mahdi to control General Aideed's decisions for his faction of the USC military. Fighting between the USC and SPM in September 1991 led the SPM to appeal to the United Nations and the Organization of Africa Unity to intervene to halt fighting between its troops and those of the USC in the region south of Mogadishu and in the center of Somalia.[37]

The SPM is controlled by the Ogadeni sub-clan of the Darod clan, and the SSDF by the Majarteen sub-clan of the Darods. Although from the same clan as Siad Barre, both fought against his regime. Since the USC gained power in Mogadishu in January 1991, the USC and SPM have been involved in sporadic, often fierce clashes. Neither the July conference in Djibouti nor subsequent meetings between the USC, SDM, SPM and SSDF produced an effective cease-fire. During the worst of the fighting in September 1991, there were rumors that the SPM and SSDF could form a coalition with other Darod factions currently loyal to Siad Barre and attempt to wrest the Somali capital, Mogadishu, out of USC control. Unless Ali Mahdi or another political leader who favors a political coalition with other ethnic militaries gains control of Mogadishu, a peaceful solution to the current crisis is unlikely.[38]

Somali Patriotic Movement

The SPM was formed in 1989 when southern army garrisons, primarily of the Ogadeni clan (a sub-clan of the Darod), mutinied and went into opposition.[39] Presently, the SPM controls major sections of southern Somalia, including the south Somali coastal town of Kisimayo. The SPM initially rejected the USC's claim to represent Somalia, and fought against the USC until the reconciliation conferences held in Djibouti in July of 1991.[40] The SPM has been unable to secure a truce with the USC troops under the control of General Aideed. SPM leaders have accused USC troops of deliberately killing civilian members of the Darod clan during the fighting in the south. As mentioned above, although the SPM participated in the July 1991 conference, it later withdrew support from the agreement. There is a possibility that if hostilities between the USC and SPM escalate, the SPM could leave the coalition government and join forces with Siad Barre's Somali National Front, taking the other Darod group, the SSDF, with it.[41]

Somali Salvation Democratic Front

The Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) also known as the Democratic Front for the Salvation of Somalia (DFSS), was organized during a conference held in 1982 by three dissident groups: the Somali Salvation Front (SSF), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Somalia (DFLS), and the Somali Workers' Party (SWP). As such, it was one of the first groups to declare its opposition to the Siad Barre government.[42] A party congress in March 1983 adopted a constitution and a political program that called for the overthrow of the Siad Barre regime, removal of U.S. bases from Somalia, and the establishment of genuine peace and cooperation based on the brotherhood of the Horn of Africa. The SSDF draws support from the Majarteen sub-clan of the Darod clan in the northeast of Somalia.[43]43()

As of September 1991, the SSDF reportedly controlled most of the territory in the northeastern portion of Somalia. The SSDF has allegedly been supplied with arms from Libya.[44] As mentioned in sections above, the SPM and SSDF, as the two Darod representatives within the governing coalition, have experienced hostilities with the USC which are likely to escalate if General Aideed gains control over the USC.

The Somali Democratic Movement

The Somali Democratic Movement is a small group of Rahwein/Baldoa of the Saab clan, closely allied with the USC, which had no military presence in Somalia until after Siad Barre's overthrow. It presently controls a small section of territory that buffers the USC from Siad Barre's Somali National Front.[45]

SOMALILAND: THE SOMALI NATIONAL MOVEMENT FACES OPPOSITION

Somali National Movement

Formation of the SNM and Exile Years, 1981 - 1988

The SNM 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 Siad Barre regime. The SNM gathered its main base of support from members of the Isaak clan, who joined and supported the movement in response to years of systematic discrimination by the Siad Barre government.[46] The SNM also has members from among other clan groups, including the Hawiye.[47]

In 1982, the SNM moved its headquarters to Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government provided the SNM with substantial support until April 1988, when Ethiopia and Somalia signed a peace treaty under which the two countries agreed to discontinue their support for the insurgent groups operating within their respective territories.()

War in Northern Somalia, 1988 - 1990

On May 28, 1988, the SNM launched a major offensive in northwest Somalia.[48] The government responded with a counterattack in an attempt to destroy the SNM and its alleged supporters. An aerial bombing campaign destroyed northern, primarily Isaak, towns and government troops rounded up and executed civilians, most of them Isaaks. Robert Gersony's report, "Why Somalis Flee," prepared for the U.S. State Department, estimates that "at least 5,000 unarmed civilian Isaaks were purposefully murdered by the Somali Armed Forces between May [1988] and March 1989, in the absence of resistance and in contexts which presented no immediate danger to these forces." Africa Watch estimated that between 50,000 and 60,000 Somali civilians were killed from the outbreak of the war in May 1988, through December 1990. The majority were Isaak civilians.[49] Over 460,000 Somalis fled to eastern Ethiopia and Djibouti as a result of the fighting in this region.[50]

SNM Gains Control of Somaliland

In January 1991, when the government army disengaged from the region after President Siad Barre fled the capital, the SNM captured most of northern Somalia.)( At this time, the SNM launched an attack on the Gadabursi clan, allegedly because the Gadabursi had been long-time supporters of Siad Barre. This fighting generated an additional 200,000 Somali refugees in Ethiopia. )(In May 1991, the SNM created its own state, the Somaliland Republic, consisting of the northwest section of Somalia under its control.[51] Abdurahman Ahmed Ali "Tur," leader of the SNM, was named head of the interim government in Somaliland.[52] Despite repeated attempts by the USC over the last nine months to negotiate with the SNM, the SNM maintains that its secessionist position is irreversible.[53]

According to several reports, the leadership of the SNM did not necessarily support secession. The SNM's official position since its inception in 1981 was that its sole aim was to rid the country of Siad Barre, not to dissolve the 1960 union. Although some factions within the SNM favored secession, observers had not expected the pro-secession factions to prevail. 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. Tensions within the SNM may manifest themselves in other ways in the near future. In December 1991, two army units of the SNM clashed in army barracks in the northern port of Berbera. Reasons for the fighting were not known.[54]

Northern Somali Opposition to Independent Somaliland

The USF And The SDA

Since the SNM came to power in the north, three groups have emerged in opposition to the SNM in Somaliland. Two, the United Somali Front (USF) and the Somali Democratic Association (SDA), are in the northwestern border of Somalia. The USF borders on Djibouti (the USF is predominantly Issa, a group which straddles the border with Djibouti). The SDA is comprised primarily of Gadabursi, a group which the SNM attacked for its alleged collaboration with the Siad Barre government against the SNM before 1991.[55] Both the SDA and the USF participated in the Djibouti talks in July 1991, and the SDA rejects secession as a purely SNM initiative.[56]

The USP

In addition to the SDA and the USF, a third opposition party, the United Somali Party (USP) has formed on the internal border between Somaliland and Somalia. This group reportedly includes Gadabursi, members of the Dolbahante sub-clan of the Darod clan, and other Darods. The USP is named after an anti-Isaak alliance formed between 1959 and the merger of British and Italian Somalia in 1960. At present, none of these three groups appears to have the military strength to challenge the SNM. They are unlikely to receive much support from the USC and other coalition members as long as the situation in the south remains unstable.[57]

SIAD BARRE LOYALISTS: THE SOMALI NATIONAL FRONT

The Somali National Front (SNF) is a predominantly Marehan coalition of groups operating on the northern part of Somalia's border with Kenya. It is reportedly comprised of Siad Barre supporters. The United Somali People's Front (USPF), led by Hashi Egal, a Marehan, is alleged to be within this coalition. Many Siad Barre supporters, including 19 former cabinet ministers and 32 senior military officials (including Siad Barre's son General Maslah Mohamed Barre) are now in Kenya. The USC government of Somalia alleges that the Kenyan government is supporting and even arming the SNF's military efforts.[58]

The presence of the SNF in this area has seriously disrupted local civilian residents in both Kenya and Somalia. Somali citizens living on the border with Kenya demonstrated in early July 1991 against attacks by forces loyal to Siad Barre (which they believed included SPM forces) and demanded government protection. In late July 1991, the USC and SDM issued a joint communique charging that the SNF was fighting in southwestern Somalia. They charged that the SPM and SSDF, with whom they had recently signed a peace treaty, were collaborating with the SNF. Although the six signatories of the Djibouti conference treaty continued to issue joint statements through November 1991, reports persisted that the SPM and SSDF were fighting with the SNF.[59]

There are reported to be serious tensions between the Somali refugees in Kenya, and the local ethnic Somali population. The abundance of weapons among the refugee population has also been a problem: in one incident eleven armed Somalis ambushed a Kenyan bus, killing a policeman and the bus conductor. It is felt by some that the level of tension with the local population could lead to reprisals.[60]

OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN SOMALIA AND SOMALILAND

Because of the widespread fighting throughout Somalia, there is little information available about human rights abuses that are not directly related to the war. The State Department reported that most prisoners in Somalia's jails, both political and criminal, were released with Siad Barre's overthrow. There is no information available on the size or treatment of the prison population in Somalia after June 1991, but the SNM in Somaliland is reported to be holding prisoners of war. The number of arbitrary arrests and detentions appears to have decreased throughout Somalia and Somaliland, but probably primarily because local security forces are weak and disorganized. The judicial system has collapsed in both Somalia and Somaliland, and no replacement has yet emerged. The SNM in Somaliland has suggested that it may be adopting Islamic law, Shari'a, as its legal code. The State Department reports ongoing incidents of rape on a massive scale, disappearances, and a widespread practice of one clan taking hostages from a rival clan in an attempt to prevent the rival clan from bombing or attacking that clan's neighborhood.[61]

OVERALL CURRENT SITUATION

Despite the political accords reached in Djibouti in July 1991, and a subsequent joint statement by the signatories of the Djibouti agreement, the situation in Somalia has deteriorated over the past year. Should General Aideed's faction of the USC gain ascendancy, the situation in southern Somalia is likely to worsen as General Aideed attempts to capture territory from other groups within the governing coalition. With the possible exception of Isaaks in the heartland of SNM controlled territory in Somaliland, there is no region of the country where military forces have gained sufficient control to ensure protection of residents from attacks by the armies of the other political/military groupings.

At present, leaders of the major political groupings, particularly the USC, have only tenuous control over their armies. They cannot ensure that peace treaties they have signed will hold. Warlords and small armed militias continue to attack civilians from other clans, sub-clans, and even family groups within sub-clans, because of perceived grievances from the Siad Barre or post-coup eras. The military forces of most of the nine major groups do not have sufficient control over their territories to protect residents within their own territories from these attacks, particularly in rural areas. While the relative ease with which coalitions of ethnic forces are formed and broken, and the relative lack of loyalty between sub-clans of the same clan may in the long run permit reconciliation between fighting factions, in the short run it affords civilians almost no protection against endemic ethnically and politically motivated violence.



[1] "The Horn of Africa: Recasting the Nation State," Africa Confidential, Vol. 34, No. 1, 8 January 1993, p. 2. "Somalia: Beyond the Pax Americana," Africa Confidential, Vol. 33, No. 25, 18 December 1992, p. 2.

[2] "The Horn of Africa: Recasting the Nation State," Africa Confidential, Vol. 34, No. 1, 8 January 1993, p. 2. "Somalia: Beyond the Pax Americana," Africa Confidential, Vol. 33, No. 25, 18 December 1992, p. 2.

[3] "The Horn of Africa: Recasting the Nation State," Africa Confidential, Vol. 34, No. 1, 8 January 1993, p. 2. "Somalia: Beyond the Pax Americana," Africa Confidential, Vol. 33, No. 25, 18 December 1992, p. 2. "Somalia: No Sign of Reconciliation," Indian Ocean Newsletter, No. 557, 9 January 1993, p. 3.

[4] Moyiga Nduru, "Somalia: Relief Aid Urgently Needed for Refugees, Report Says," InterPress Service, 23 August 1991 (as reported in the Immigration and Refugee Board Documentation Center [IRBDC] Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 8, Week of August 20-26, 1991).

[5] Africa Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, "Somalia: No Mercy in Mogadishu" (New York: The Africa Watch Committee, 26 March 1992), p. 3.

[6] "Somalia USC and SDM Report Fighting In Central and Southwest Regions," British Broadcasting Corporation, 26 July 1991, report #ME/1134/B/1 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 4, Week of July 23-29, 1991). "Somalia Southerners Demonstrate in Mogadishu against SPM," British Broadcasting Corporation, 17 July 1991, report #ME/1126/B/1 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 3, Week of July 16-22, 1991). "Somali Faction Leader Reported 480 Deaths in Renewed Fighting," Reuters, 24 August 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 8, Week of August 20-26, 1991). Rake, "Fresh Start," New African, September 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 10, Week of September 3-9, 1991). "Somali Leader Reported to be Ousted by Rival," Washington Post, 19 November 1991, p. A29. "U.N. Envoy Discounts Prompt Somali Truce," Washington Post, 6 January 1992, p. A15. Jane Perlez, "As Fighting in Somalia Rages On, African Neighbor Seeks a Truce," New York Times, 6 January 1991, p. A2.

[7] To avoid confusion, the territory controlled primarily by the SNM within the former British colonial borders in northern Somalia will be referred to in this paper as Somaliland. The remainder of Somalia, within the former Italian colonial borders of southern Somalia, will be referred to as Somalia. This distinction does not imply an endorsement or recognition of the SNM's secessionist claims.

[8] "Part of Somalia Declares its Independence," Washington Post, 20 May 1991. "The North Declares Independence," New African, July 1991, (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 5, Week of July 30 - August 5, 1991). "Drifting Apart," Africa Events, June 1991, (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 1, Week of July 2-8, 1991).

[9] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights for 1990, (Washington: Government Printing Office, February 1991), p. 344.

[10] Somalia: A Country Study, Area Handbook Series, (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1982), p. 181.

[11] Robert M. Press, "Somalia Tries to Pick Up the Postwar Pieces," The Christian Science Monitor, 19 February 1991.

[12] Africa Watch, Somalia: A Government at War with Its Own People, The Africa Watch Committee, January 1990, p. 2.

[13] Amnesty International, Torture in the Eighties, (Bristol, England: Pitman Press, 1984) p. 127. For discussions of extrajudicial executions by the Somali government, see also Critique: Review of the Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1989, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, New York, July 1990, p. 195, and Amnesty International Report 1991, Amnesty International, New York, 1990, pp. 201-202. See also A Government At War With Its Own People, pp. 43 - 124 passim.

[14] Robert M. Press, "Rebel Clashes Forestall Peace In Newly Liberated Somalia," The Christian Science Monitor, 5 April 1991. Somalia: Country Profile, (Ottawa, Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board Documentation Center, March 1990), p. 38.

[15] Lee V. Cassanelli, The Shaping of Somali Society, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982), pp. 17-19.

[16] Somalia: Country Profile, p. 16.

[17] "The North Declares Independence." "Barre's Somali Supporters Cause Trouble in Kenya," New African, July 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 5, Week of July 30 - August 5, 1991).

[18] Quoted in Somalia: Country Profile, p. 39.

[19] John Prendergast, "Somalia's Silent Slaughter," America, 24 March 1990. Somalia: Country Profile, p. 16.

[20] Somalia: Country Profile, p. 16. Africa Watch, "Somalia: A Fight To The Death?" (New York: The Africa Watch Committee, 13 February 1992), Vol. 4, No. 2., p. 5.

[21] Alan Rake, "Somalia's Slow Agony Continues," New African, London, May 1991, p. 10.

[22] According to Africa Watch, the SPM later repudiated their representation at the conferences. Africa Watch, "Somalia: A Fight To The Death?" (New York: The Africa Watch Committee, 13 February 1992), Vol. 4, No. 2, p. 5.

[23] Rake, "Fresh Start."

[24] Jane Perlez, "Two Months After Ousting Despot, Somalia Faces Life as an Abandoned Pawn," New York Times, 4 April 1991. "Somalia: Still Fighting," Africa Confidential, 9 August 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 7, Week of August 13 - August 19, 1991). Aidan Hartley, "Somalia Forms New Government As Fighting Propels Nation to Chaos," Reuters, 2 October 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 14, Week of October 1-7, 1991). Alan Rake, "Somalia: Fresh Start." Omar Arteh Ghalib's current status is not clear. It was reported in "Somalia: Shaky power situation prevails," Indian Ocean Newsletter, 31 August 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 10, Week of September 3-9, 1991) that Omar Arteh Ghalib had resigned on 21 August 1991. The subsequent report from Reuters, on 2 October 1991, seems to indicate that he was still acting in the capacity of Prime Minister.

[25] "Somali Leader Reported To Be Ousted By Rival," p. A29. "U.N. Envoy Discounts Prompt Somali Truce," p. A15. Perlez, "As Fighting in Somalia Rages On..." p. A2.

[26] Prendergast, "Somalia's Silent Slaughter."

[27] "Rendezvous at Djibouti," Africa Events, July 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 2, Week of July 9-15, 1991).

[28] Press, "Rebel Clashes..."

[29] Rake, "Fresh Start."

[30] Rake, "Fresh Start."

[31] "Fighting Reported in Areas of Mogadishu," Paris, AFP, 18 June 1991 (as reported in the Foreign Broadcast Information Service [FBIS] Daily Report: Sub-Saharan Africa, 19 June 1991, p. 2). Africa Watch refers to General Aideed's sub-clan as the Habr Gidir, while AFP refers to it as the Sa'ad.

[32] Didrikke Schanche, "Fighting Rages in Mogadishu, Casualties Heavy," Associated Press, 7 September 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 11, Week of September 10-16, 1991). Africa Watch, "Somalia: A Fight To The Death?" (New York: The Africa Watch Committee, 13 February 1992), Vol. 4, No. 2.

[33] Africa Watch, "Somalia: A Fight To The Death?" (New York: The Africa Watch Committee, 13 February 1992), Vol. 4, No. 2.

[34] "Somalia: Still Fighting."

[35] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights for 1990, (Washington: Government Printing Office, February 1992), p. 344-345. Africa Watch, "Somalia: A Fight To The Death?" (New York: The Africa Watch Committee, 13 February 1992), p. 10-11.

[36] "Somalia: Nasty, Brutish, Split," The Economist, 13 September 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 10, Week of September 3-9, 1991). "Somalia's Doctors Struggle to Cope with Victims of Civil War," The Times (UK), 23 August 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 8, Week of August 20-26, 1991). "Somali Leader Reported To Be Ousted By Rival," p. A29. "U.N. Envoy Discounts Prompt Somali Truce," p. A15. Perlez, "As Fighting in Somalia Rages On..." p. A2.

[37] "Demonstrations reported in Mogadishu 21 March," FBIS, p. 6. "Somalia: Fighting Continues Around Kisimayo." "Factions Hold News Conference, Issue Peace Call," Somalia, Mogadishu Radio, 15 September 1991, (as reported in FBIS, Daily Report: Sub-Saharan Africa, 17 September 1991, p. 4). "Loyalist Forces Repulse Attacks Near Mogadishu," FBIS, p. 4. "Ali Mahdi Receives Backing From Guerrilla Groups," London, BBC, 16 September 1991, (as reported in FBIS, Daily Report: Sub-Saharan Africa 18 September 1991, p. 6).

[38] "Demonstrations reported in Mogadishu 21 March," Paris, AFP, 22 March 1991 (as reported in FBIS, Daily Report: Sub-Saharan Africa, 25 March 1991, p. 6). "Loyalist Forces Repulse Attacks Near Mogadishu," Paris, AFP, 13 April 1991 (as reported in FBIS, Daily Report: Sub-Saharan Africa, 15 April 1991, p. 4). "Somalia: Fighting Continues Around Kisimayo," Indian Ocean Newsletter, 7 September 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 11, week of September 10-16, 1991). "Somali Leader Reported To Be Ousted By Rival," p. A29. "Rendezvous in Djibouti."

[39] "Siad's Somalia," Horn of Africa Report, June 1990.

[40] Robert M. Press, "Sudanese Refugees Are Pressed By Restive Rebels and Government," The Christian Science Monitor, June 11, 1991.

[41] "Somalia: Fighting Continues Around Kisimayo."

[42] "Rendezvous at Djibouti."

[43] Somalia: Country Profile, p. 52.

[44] "Somalia: Shaky power situation prevails."

[45] "Rendezvous at Djibouti." Rake, "Somalia: Fresh Start."

[46] Somalia: Country Profile, p. 51.

[47] "The North Declares Independence."

[48] Ibid.

[49] Almami Cyllah and John Prendergast, "Genocide in the Horn of Africa," Washington Post, July 1, 1990, p. B7.

[50] Robert Gersony, Why Somalis Flee, Bureau of Refugee Programs, Department of State, August 1989, p. 61.

[51] Press, "Rebel Clashes . . ."

[52] "Part of Somalia Declares its Independence," Washington Post, 20 May 1991.

[53] "Republic of Somaliland Decision `Irreversible,'" Somalia, [Clandestine] Radio Hargeysa: Voice of the Republic of Somaliland in Somali, 3 June 1991 (as reported in FBIS, Daily Report: Sub-Saharan Africa, 5 June 1991, p. 9).

[54] "The North Declares Independence." "Drifting Apart." "Fighting Between Army Units Erupts in N. Somalian Port," Washington Post, 31 December 1991, p. A12.

[55] "The North Declares Independence."

[56] "Drifting Apart."

[57] "The North Declares Independence." "Somalia: SNM rejects Djibouti Conference," The Indian Ocean Newsletter, 22 June 1991 (as reported in the IRBDC Indexed Media Review, Vol. II, No. 1, Week of June 2-8, 1991).

[58] Rake, "Fresh Start."

[59] "Somalia Southerners Demonstrate in Mogadishu against SPM." "Somalia USC and SDM Report Fighting In Central and Southwest Regions." "Somalia: Shaky Power Situation Prevails."

[60] "Barre's Somali Supporters Cause Trouble in Kenya."

[61] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights for 1990, (Washington: Government Printing Office, February 1992), p. 344-345.

Search Refworld

Countries