History of Somalia: General Aideed

History of Somalia: General Aideed Last updated on Sunday 25th April 2010

Somali warlord Mohammad Farrah Aideed, best known for his exploits against United Nations and United States troops, led a successful attack on the Somali town of Baidoa on 17 September 1995.

Baidoa is about 250km from Mogadishu. News reports said that about 21 international aid workers were being held by Aideed's forces. After refusing to release the hostages for several days, the last of the hostages were released on 22 September. Unfortunately, aid workers who were taken hostage on 17 September were members of groups working in Somalia despite the lack of international protection. Aideed's action in Baidoa, which included the destruction of relief agencies' equipment, helped in bringing to an end any future aid operations.

Ali Mahdi denounced Aidid's action in Baidoa, and he threatened to declare all-out war against Aideed unless his forces gave up Baidoa. He carried out his threat and declared war on 19 September. Very little action against Aideed's positions in the town was observed. The rivalry of the two men and their supporters has caused a constant battle for control of Mogadishu. Both of them have been declared president, but Somalia has no internationally recognized government.

Since UN forces withdrew in March 1996, Aideed had taken several steps to strengthen his hold on power. His attack on Baidoa was calculated to extend his circle of influence in Somalia, which was limited mainly to areas around Mogadishu. Aideed was also accused of printing money with which to pay his soldiers. In one of his pronouncements, aid agencies were required to register with the government and pay a registration fee.

Aideed died from gunshot wounds in August 1996 and was succeeded by his son Hussein. Osman Hassan Ali, Farah’s former right-hand man, emerged as a new force but in association with Ali Mahdi.

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