Mohamed Siad BarreExiled Somali leaderMaj. Gen. Mohamed...


January 03, 1995

Mohamed Siad Barre

Exiled Somali leader

Maj. Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre, who was overthrown as president of Somalia in 1991 after ruling that impoverished African country for more than 20 years, died on Monday in exile in Lagos, Nigeria.

"He [General Barre] has been diabetic, and we took him to the hospital this morning where he died," his son, Diriye Barre, said yesterday.

Earlier in the Somali capital Mogadishu, U.N. spokesman George Bennett said General Barre died from a heart attack Sunday.

General Barre, who seized power in a 1969 coup, was toppled in January 1991 by forces loyal to faction leader Gen. Mohamed Farah Aidid, and the man who declared himself president after Mr. Barre left, Ali Mahdi Mohammed.

General Barre fled from Mogadishu but held onto southwestern parts of the country which his son-in-law and former defense minister Mohamed Said Hersi, also known as "Morgan," controlled.

When he was overwhelmed, he fled to Nairobi, Kenya, in May 1992 but left for Nigeria two weeks later after Kenyan opposition groups complained the government was paying General Barre's bills at a luxury hotel.

Heavy fighting broke out in Mogadishu between supporters of General Aidid and Mr. Ali Mahdi after Mr. Barre's defeat that split the city in two, killed 30,000 people, and led to a famine that killed 10 times that number.

A U.S.-led multinational task force landed on the beaches of Mogadishu in December 1992, to stop the fighting and open up food corridors to hundreds of thousands of starving Somalis.

General Barre, aged about 84, is survived by two wives and 19 children, scattered around the world.

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