Ali Madhi’s militia had control of the northern
part of Mogadishu while Aideed and his followers took control of the south,
including the critical areas around the airport and seaport. With
Somalia in a state of anarchy, the country gave way to lawlessness and
terror. Armed teenage gangs known as mooryaan, with no political
affiliation, looted the countryside. Members of Siad Barre’s
sub-clan, the Marehan, also became targets of violence. The ceaseless
fighting inhibited food production and distribution throughout the country,
putting several hundreds of thousands of Somali civilians at the risk of
| With the departure
of Barre, a fight for power broke out. The Hawiye clan formed a movement
called the United Somali Congress (USC). Muhammad Ali Madhi, head
of the USC, proclaimed himself as the interim president (27).
The plan of the USC was for Madhi to hold the presidency for two years,
after which democratic elections would be held. The new government,
however, was never organized, due to a split in the USC (28).
Ali Madhi belonged to the Abgal sub-clan of
the Hawiye. Madhi’s rival, General Muhammad Farah Aideed, of the
Hawiye sub-clan Habir Gedir, proclaimed himself as the new president of
Somalia. In their clash for power, the two warlords split Mogadishu
in half, killing many innocent civilians in the process (29).
“This conflict was a confused mixture of competition between
factions of the USC, a personal leadership struggle between Muhammad Farah
Aideed and Muhammad Ali Madhi, a fight between the two sub-clans, the Habir
Gedir and the Abgal, and a desperate struggle to win public office and
the financial benefits such positions promised”
Muhammad Ali Madhi
While the fighting went on in the south, the
Somali National Movement (SNM), a group composed mostly of Issaq clan members
that had fought against the repression of Siad Barre throughout the 1980’s,
took control of the country’s northern region. In May 1991, the SNM
declared independence for the region composing the colonial British Somaliland.
They named this new territory the Somaliland Republic (32).
“The SNM remembered past history when after independence in
1960, the southerners had taken the premiership and all the most important
ministries for their own. That time they had cooperated in the interests
of Somali unity: Some members of the SNM central committee wanted to continue
in the tradition of cooperation but others wanted to seize the opportunity
to break away” (33).
The new country set up a government composing
of an elected two-house Parliament and President, a functioning civil police,
a court system, and a municipal government (34).
This startled many of those living in the southern region of the country.
They felt that the goal of the SNM should have been to lead the entire
country toward a new political structure. Despite the fact that the
Somaliland claimed independence, it still has yet to receive international