Factions in the Somali Civil War

Factions in the Somali Civil War

Over the course of the Somali Civil War, there have been many revolutionary movements and militia groups run by competing warlords which have held "de facto" control over vast areas of the country.

Factions Founded Prior to the Fall of Siad Barre (through 1991)

Somali National Movement (SNM)

*Leaders: Ahmad Mahammad Culaid, Ahmad Ismaaiil Abdi, Abdulqaadir Kosar Abdi, Ahmad Mahammad Mahamuud "Silanyo"
Abdi Rahman "Tuur", first President of Somaliland.

*Area of Operations: Northern Somalia (Somaliland)
*Tribal Affiliation: Isaaq
*Founded: 1981

Isaaq tribe members had founded the movement in 1981 as emigres to London with the express purpose of overthrowing the Barre regime. They eventually moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and gained the support of the Ethiopian government. [http://www.somalilandnet.com/snm.shtml Somali National Movement] Somaliland Net]

On January 2, 1982 operating near Berbera, the group attacked Mandera Prison to free political prisoners while simultaneously raiding Cadaadle armory.

Between 1985 and 1987, the SNM conducted many attacks on government facilities and troops based out of camps in Ethiopia.

By 1988, the SNM moved out of their camps in Ethiopia and began operating in northern Somalia, the area now known as Somaliland. [http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/World-Leaders-2003/Somalia-THE-FALL-OF-SIAD-BARRE-AND-DESCENT-INTO-CIVIL-WAR.html The Fall of Siad Barre and the Descent into Civil War] Nations Encyclopedia] They even temporarily occupied the provincial capitals of Burao and Hargeysa. [http://www.somalilandnet.com/snm.shtml Somali National Movement] Somaliland Net]

They captured government Toyota Land Cruisers turned them into technicals by mounting 12.7 mm and 14.5 mm machineguns, 106 mm recoilless rifles, and BM-21 rocket launchers. They also operated various antiaircraft guns, such as the ZU-23-2.

By 1991, they had taken control of Hargeysa, Berbera, Burao, and Erigavo. On May 18, 1991, they declared the Republic of Somaliland.

Somali Patriot Movement (SPM)

*Leaders: Colonel Bashir Bililiqo, Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess, General Adan Abdillahi Nur ('Gabyow'), General Mohammed Said Hersi "Morgan"
*Area of Operations: southern Somalia
*Tribal Affiliation: Ogaden (SPM 'Ogadeni') and non-Ogaden (known as SPM 'Harti')
*Founded: 1989

Begun by a group of disaffected Ogadeni officers.

A key accomplishment was the seizure of Balli-Dogle air base in the days prior to Barre's flight from Mogadishu. [http://www.civicwebs.com/cwvlib/africa/somalia/1994/lib_movments/lib_movements.htm The Liberation Movements of Somalia] Jack L. Davies, 27 August 1994 ]

United Somali Congress (USC)

*Leaders: Dr. Omar M. Hassan, Hussein Ahmed Mohamed, Abdi Hilowle Hassan, Hassan Mohamud Moheddin, Hassan Omar Mohamed (Founders, 1989); Dr. Ismael Jimaale (Mogadishu section founder, 1989); General Mohamed Farrah Aidid (Habar Gidir clan), Ali Mahdi Mohamed (Abgaal clan), Mohamed Qanyare Afrah (November 1991)
*Area of Operations: central Somalia
*Tribal Affiliation: Hawiye (Murasade and Abgal clans)
*Founded: February 1, 1989 in Rome

On January 26, 1991, the USC stormed the Presidential palace in Mogadishu, taking control of the capital and forcing Siad Barre into exile.

In November 1991, factionalism between Gen. Aidid and Ali Mahdi Mahammad caused a split in the USC. Mohamed Qanyare Afrah was chosen to be the Chairman of the smaller, breakaway "USC Madhi" faction. This leadership position was not recognized by Gen. Aidid.

Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF)

*Leaders: Dr. Hassan Ali Mireh (1986-1988), Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, General Mohamed Abshir Musa, Ali Mohammed Ghedi, Mohammed Abshir Waldo (General Secretary)
*Area of Operations: 1988: Mudug region in central Somalia and Nugaal and Bari regions in southern Somalia; 1991: northeast Somalia (Puntland)
*Tribal Affiliation: Majerteen and Darood clans
*Founded: October 1981 in South Yemen by the merger of the Somali Salvation Front (SSF), Somali Workers Party (SWP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Somalia (DFLS). Preceded by the Democratic Front for Salvation of Somalia (DFSS) founded in 1979.

Took part in a 1982 Ethiopian border offensive against Somalia.

The SSDF tried to ally with the SNM in 1983, but they failed to agree to a common strategy. [http://www.somalilandnet.com/snm.shtml Somali National Movement] Somaliland Net]

Somali Democratic Movement (SDM)

*Leaders: Abdulkadir Mohamed Adan ("Zobo" -- "Lame in One Leg") (founder); Colonel Mohamed Nur Alio (Pro-Aidid faction); Abdi Muse Mayo (Pro-Mahdi faction)
*Area of Operations: Baidoa
*Tribal Affiliation: Rahanwayn
*Founded: 1989 in Dubai and Rome

Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI)

* Leaders: Hassan Dahir Aweys, Hassan Abdullah Hersi al-Turki
* Area of Operations: Southwest (Ras Kamboni, Luuq)
* Religious Affiliations:Sunni Islam
* Founded: Late 1980s.

Factions Founded After the Fall of Siad Barre through the UN Interventions (1991-1995)

Republic of Somaliland

* Leaders: 1991–1993: Abdurahman Ali Tur; 1993–2002: Ibrahim Egal; 2002–present: Dahir Riyale Kahin
* Area of Operations: Somaliland
* Tribal Affiliation: Dir(Isaq, Gadabursi, Isse madobe)
* Founded: 18 May, 1991

The Isaaq-dominated northern Somaliland region of Somalia declared its independence in 1991, but has not been recognized by any country or international organization as a sovereign nation.

Somali National Alliance (SNA)

* Leaders: 1992-1996: Mohamed Farrah Aidid, Mohamed Nur Aliyou; 1996-2001: Hussein Mohamed Farah Aidid
* Area of Operations:Mogadishu
* Tribal affiliation:Habar Gidir
* Founded: June, 1992 - 2004

Its constituents included Mohamed Aidid's breakaway United Somali Congress faction, the Somali Patriotic Movement, Southern Somali National Movement, and other southern factions. His son, Hussein Aidid, assumed leadership upon his death. The SNA became the core of the SRRC in 2001.

Somali National Front (SNF)

* Leaders: General Siad Barre, General, Mohammed Said Samatar ('Gacaliye'), General Omar Hagi Masallah,Dr. Ali Nur Mukhtar, Ahmed Sheikh Ali " Buraale ". Col. Abdirizak Isak Bihi, Mohamud Sayid.
* Area of Operations: Gedo, Middle and Upper Jubba regions; occasional forays to outskirts of Mogadishu
* Tribal Affiliation: Marehan (Mareehaan)
* Founded: March 1991

Loyalists to Siad Barre, the remnants of his army forces founded the SNF militia after his ouster from office.

Their intent and goal was to recapture Mogadishu and reinstate the regime of Siad Barre, and to etablish regional state in Gedo, Middle and Lower Jubba.

Somali Democratic Alliance (SDA)

* Leaders: Mohamed Farah Abdullahi, Abdirahman Aw Ali and Jamac Rabile(SDA)
* Area of Operations: Borama, Somaliland
* Tribal Affiliation: Gadabursi
* Founded: 1991

Pro-Barre faction. Fought against other liberation movements during Barre's reign. Reconciled in 1991 with the SNM to form the Republic of Somaliland. Thereafter, sought the independence of Somaliland from the rest of Somalia.

United Somali Front (USF)

* Leaders: Abdurahman Dualeh Al;
* Area of Operations: northwestern Somaliland
* Tribal Affiliation: Issa
* Founded: prior to 1991 as a small liberation movement. "New" USF founded Summer 1991

The original USF joined with the SNM in the creation of the Republic of Somaliland.

The Issa clan is a Somali clan that spreads across northwest Somaliland and the nation of Djibouti. The "new" USF especially sought to represent the interests of the Djibouti-based Iise.

Somali Africans Muke Organization (SAMO)

(also called "Somali Asal Muki Organization")

* Leaders: Mohamed Ramadan Arbow
* Area of Operations: ???
* Tribal Affiliation: Bantu
* Founded: 1993

One of the few non-Somali entities. [ [http://www.somalibantu.com/SAMO.htm SAMO] ]

Somali National Democratic Union (SNDU)

* Leaders: [Ali Ismael Abdi] and [A/lahi Azari]
* Area of Operations: Galgadud, Mudug, Burtinle-Nugal
* Tribal Affiliation: Lelkaseh and Aurtoble clans
* Founded: 1991
* Museum : Museum is available at Mudug

Somali National Union (SNU)

* Leaders: Dr. Mohamed Ragis Mohamed
* Area of Operations:
* Tribal Affiliation: Reer Hamar; an Arabic, not ethnic Somali clan
* Founded: 1960s

A political party that was active in the 1960s but was forced into dissolution during the Barre regime. It revived after his downfall.

United Somali Party [USP]

* Leaders: Mohamed Abdi Hashi
* Area of Operations: Erigavo and Las Anod, Somaliland
* Tribal Affiliation: Dhulbahante, Warsangeli
* Founded: 1957 - 1969 (original group); 1991

The "new" USP had no affiliation to the original group founded in the 1950s. The new group that bore their name were generally pro-Siad, but key participants in the Reconciliation Conference of the Elders of the Republic of Somaliland at Borama in early 1993.

Factions Present at the 1993 Conference on National Reconciliation in Somalia

The 1993 Informal Preparatory Meeting on National Reconciliation and the Conference on National Reconciliation in Somalia saw the presence of no less than 15 separate factions, including the offshoot SNA branches of USC and SPM. It was a plethora of acronyms: SAMO, SDA, SDM, SNA, SNDU, SNF, SNU, SPM, SPM-(SNA), SSDF, SSNM-(SNA), USC-(SNA), USC, USF, USP. Aidid's four SNA-aligned factions comprised a powerful bloc.

The progressive tone of the proceedings was undercut by the actual lack of progress in the regions and on the streets of Mogadishu. In time, new factions emerged as the Somali Civil War entered a new phase: disintegration into independent and autonomous states.

Factions Created after the Departure of the UN Missions (1995 - Present)

Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA)

* 1995 - present

Jubaland under Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM)

* 1998 - 1999


* 1998 - present

Jubaland under Allied Somali Forces (ASF)

* 1999 - 2001

Jubaland under Juba Valley Alliance (JVA)

* 2001 - present

Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC)

* 2001 - 2004

Digil-Mirifle Supreme Governing Council (DMSGC)

* March - September 1995(See RRA entry)

Transitional Federal Government (TFG)

* 2004 - present

Southwestern Somalia

* 2005 - present

Islamic Courts Union (ICU)

* 2006 - present

Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT)

* 2006


* 2006 - present

Popular Resistance Movement in the Land of the Two Migrations

* 2007

ee also

*List of political parties in Somalia

*List of warlords in the Somali Civil War


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