History of Somalia: Operation Restore Hope

History of Somalia: Operation Restore Hope Last updated on Wednesday 28th April 2010

In December 1992, a UN peacekeeping force led by about 2,000 United States Marines was sent to restore order, while international agencies attempted the difficult task of resuming food distribution and other humanitarian aid. This intervention was historical. It was the first time the United Nations had ever intervened without permission in the affairs of an independent nation.

Over the next two years about 50,000 people were killed in factional fighting, and an estimated 300,000 died of starvation because it was impossible to transport relief supplies through the war-ravaged country.

Violence continued in the country and peacekeeping forces became involuntarily involved. A number of UN soldiers were killed and, under international pressure critical of its operations, the UN force was withdrawn in 1994.

In mid-1994, the last of the US troops left Somalia, having failed in their task. Warring Somali clan leaders had been unable to find any common ground for agreement and international relief organizations were forced to suspend operations because of widespread looting.

As soon as the aid agencies began pulling out, Somali law and order broke down and the warlords resumed their fractional fighting. A massive hunt was for the warlord General Aideed was launched, and several American casualties were incurred.

Eventually, former US President Bill Clinton abandoned the hunt for Aideed and looked for a political solution. However, Somalia, although it had received some food to alleviate the famine, in effect remained without a government.

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