Country Listing

Somalia Table of Contents


Postwar Status of the Armed Forces

In the early 1980s, the Somali armed forces had to adjust to the realities of their defeat in the Ogaden War. Somali manpower had doubled during the conflict, but the Ethiopian army had destroyed a significant amount of Somali equipment. Shortages of military hardware, inadequate maintenance, and lack of spare parts for what remained of Soviet-supplied equipment limited the effectiveness of all units. Better relations between Somalia and the United States resolved some of these problems. Between 1983 and 1986, United States military assistance to Somalia averaged US$36 to US$40 million per year (see Foreign Military Assistance , this ch.). This aid was insufficient, however, to restore the Somali armed forces to their pre-Ogaden War effectiveness.

As insurgent activity intensified during the late 1980s and the Somali government failed to develop additional sources of large-scale military assistance, the armed forces slowly deteriorated. By 1990 the Somali military was in a state of collapse. After Siad Barre fled Mogadishu in January 1991, the SNA and all related military and security services ceased to exist. Most of their military equipment fell into the hands of insurgents, clan militiamen, or bandits. The status of former military and security personnel varied. Some fled abroad to countries such as Kenya or Ethiopia; others returned to civilian life or became insurgents, bandits, or clan militia members. A small number remained loyal to Siad Barre, who took refuge in southern Somalia and then launched a military campaign to regain power. The campaign failed, however, and Siad Barre sought exile in Nigeria, where he remained in early 1992.