Somali warlordsReading Time: 5 minutes
Following the Somali Civil War, in the absence of an effective central government, significant areas of the country have been ruled by Somali Warlords (Somali:dagaal oogayaal).
mmediately following the 1991 break-down of law and order in the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, many criminal minded individuals and groups sought to profit from the ensuing chaos. Army bases and police stations were ransacked. Militias stole all they could carry in guns and ammunitions.
List of Somali Warlords:
Some of the most well-known of the Somali warlords who caused havoc in the capital Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia for more than a decade include but not limited to:
# Gen. Mohamed Farah Aidid – Maxamed Faarax Caydiid
# businessman Ali Mahdi Mohamed – Cali Mahdi Maxamed
# Osman Ali Atto – Cismaan Cali Caato
# Abdi Hasan Awale Qeybdiid – Cabdi Xasan Cawaale Qeybdiid
# civil servent Musa Sudi Yalahow – Muuse Suudi Yalaxoow
# student Hussein Mohamed Aidid – Xuseen Maxamed Caydiid
# army Col. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed – Cabdullaahi Yuusuf Axmed
# businessman Mohamed Qanyare Afrah – Maxamed Qanyare Afrax
# student Omar Muhamoud Finish – Cumar Maxamduud Finish
# army Col. Barre Adan Shire Hirale – Barre Aadan Shire Hiiraale
# army Gen. Omar Haji Masale – Cumar Xaaji Masale
# army Col. Ahmed Omar Jes- Axmed Cumar Jees
# army Col. Hasan Muhammad Nur Shatigadud – Xasan Maxamed Nuur Shaatigaduud
# army Col. Mohamud “Adde” Muse – Maxamuud Cadde Musue
# Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade – Maxamed Ibraahim Xaabsade
# army Gen. Adan Abdullahi Nur Gabiyow – Aadan Cabdullaahi Nuur Gabiyow
# army Gen. Mohammed Said Hersi Morgan – Maxamed Saciid Xirsi Moorgan
# Sheikh Adan Madobe – Sheekh Aadan Madoobe
# civil servent Yusuf Mohammed said Inda’ade – Yuusuf Siyaad Indhacade
# army officer Mohamed Omar Habeb – Maxamed (Maxamed Dheere)Cumar Xabeeb
# army officer Botan Ise Alin – Bootaan Ciise Caalin
# Aden Mohamed Nur Saran-Sor – Adam Maxamed Xirsi Saransoor
Above are the partial list of those who are agreed upon by most Somalis to be some of the root cause for the perpetual civil war in Somalia from early 1991 to presdent day. The warlords in Somalia are some of the most ruthless people on earth.
General Aidid and Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed longed for ruling Somalia by force. They were the typical African faction leaders who wished to be president one way or another. On the other hand, Col. Barre Hirale, and Said Hirsi Morgan came to the scene as defenders of the terroteries belonging to their tribal factions. The rest of the major warlods all they care is how to make money and anyone who stood in their way met certain death. Warlords are also known in Somali as Qabqablayaal.
Any of the Somali warlods were either civil servants, businessmen or army generals immediately before the civil war in Somalia broke out early 1991.
Qualifications To Be A Warlord
In the eyes of the oppressed, some of the qualifications to be a warlord among other things, is to have:
# dangerously armed malitia who are loyal to their warlord leader
# a warlord normally posess heavy guns mounted on pickup trucks
# a warlord always has a warehouse full of military supplies including fuel and heavy weapons
# a warlord occupies a known section of town/region, another words, he has his own fiefdom
# and finally, a warlord and his militia are willing to kill thousands of their fellow citizens.
Each of the Somali warlords here have been at one point in their lives or still posess some of the above qualifications to be a warlord. One extremely hated act of these warlords were the roadblocks they used to milk money out of transport trucks.
Supporters of Warlords
Such men like Bashir Raage Shirar and Abdirashid Ilqayto were generally seen as financial supporters of some of the warlords. This act in itself, gave the warlords a firm ground to sustain their warlord positions. Money from business people were used to buy weapons and drugs like khat for fighting men. Always the the list is incomplete for there has been no active gathering of warlords and their activities including crimes they have commited against civilians and the unarmed groups.
The most dangerous Somali warlords, were truly lords of destruction and mayhem. Mogadishu, one of the most breathtaking and scenery capital cities in Africa, was reduced to rubble. Aidid senior, Ali Mahdi Mohamed, Mohamed Qanyare Afrah, and Musa Sudi Yalahow each carved up a section of Mogadishu where they employed militias from their respective clans.
Col. Barre Shire Adan, also known as Barre Hiiraale, ruled Kismayo and Jubba regions for almost eight years. JVA, short for Jubba Valley Alliance of which Col. Barre was its leader, used the resources of this port city with nothing to show for to benefit the general population. He always casted himself as being different from most other warlords. His opponents saw him nothing but a warlord.
Mohamed Omar Habeb and Siyaad Yusuf Indhade ruled the regions of Middle Shabeelle and Lower Shabeelle, respectively. Mr. Habeb, better known as Mohamed Dheere, was famous for actively registering pregnant women in order for him to collect one million shillings for child delivery services, which he really had nothing to do in terms of facilities funding or staff salaries.
Abdirisaq Isaq Bihi (Cabdirisaaq Isaax Biixi) and Omar Haji Masale were on one side with SNF in Gedo region in the first half of nineties decade. Al Itahad Al-Islamia led by Hassan Dahir Aweys and SNF militias with various commands made many Gedo residents flee their homes and thousands died in the conflict which lasted from 1994 to 1998.
Similarly, Gen. Mohamud “Adde” Muse (Maxamuud Cadde Muuse) and Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed participated civil war activities in Puntland regions where death of civilians occurred from during 1998 to 2000. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and General Adde’s loyal militias faced-off in bid to govern Puntland.
Col. Hassan Mohamed Nur Shaatigadud and Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade made Baidoa residents hostage for much of the 1990s. The city changed hands several times.
International Help For The Mogadishu Warlords
The saddest moment for many Somalis occurred when international support, maily US support was bestowed upon the warlords who for 16 years, made Mogadishu uninhabitable place. The unexpected event took place in early 2006 when Mogadishu warlords joined forces to battle against Islamic Courts Union or ICU, who were welcomed by Mogadishu residents for the simple act of cleaning up criminal activities in the sections of Mogadishu were the ICU forces were based throughout the 13 districts of Banadir region. For several months, Mogadishu became a battleground for warlords and Islamic Courts Union.
The spring of 2006 was when dozen warlords came under one organization whose purpose was to fight agaist Islamic Courts Union, who where at the time gaining foot on the Somali political agenda. The united warlords created an umbarella called ARPCT, short for Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism. This alliance was seen as farce for most Somalis because, the very warlords, who caused many violnet acts across Somalia for much of the 90s decade and into the new century were given here an undeserving help by outside elements.
Around Mogadishu, the Courts were enjoying massive public support. In many parts of Somalia, thought, the ICU was seen as retooling of old folks who perpetrated insane wars a decade earlier as these were men from Al Itahad Al-Islamia (AIAI) at the helm of the ICU leadership.
At outset of the Somali civil war, saw the rise of religous based militias. The first Al Itahad Al-Islamia wars of wanting to govern Somalia took place in Gedo and Bari regions. Hassan Dahir Aweys and like minded men were at the command of AIAI operations in Lugh and Bosaso. Their armed movement lasted from 1991 to 1996.
A decade later, as Courts were gaining support throughout the spring of 2006, Mogadishu Warlords received moral support as well as financial support from the US government in the hope of fighting off terrorist organizations. This act backfired in the eyes of Mogadishu residents wanting to do with the warlords once and for all. The ICU militias succeeded sending all the Mogadishu warlords in exile. Later on, the ICU didn’t fair much to the general population of Somalia as they appeared to be power hungery. Hassan Dahir Aweys, the armed wing of the ICU movement was an army man decades early and his solution to Somalia’s problem was more wars and more death. There was no clear vision coming from any of the ICU top ranks, except the appearance of wanting peace at conferences in Kharoum and elsewhere. The situation they displaced on the ground in cities and towns throughout Somalia was different in the sense, the Courts wanted power to themselves and everyone else to go powerless inlcluding then the fledgling TFG based in Baidoa.
Somalia, a country with devastating civil war for 16 years were sent back for another decade. More killings and more internal displacement of people occurring, the ICU lost the trust of the people as well