In January 1991, Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, was consumed by the bloodiest battles of a three-year civil war as government troops tried to fight off a rebel attack. By the end, the rebels had won, and most of Mogadishu lay in ruins, with about fifty thousand people reported to have died. President Mohammed Siad Barre fled Mogadishu disguised in women’s clothing. Thus, after twenty one years, ended one of Africa’s longest uninterrupted military dictatorships.
For a moment many people thought the worst was over. Ali Mandi Mohammed, a businessman associated with the United Somali Congress (USC), at that point the dominant rebel group, was named interim president. But Mandi’s presidency was stillborn when other rebel groups refused to join or recognize his government....
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