Somalia HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARMED FORCES
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
Street scene, Mogadishu
Mogadishu scene reflecting damage from civil war, 1991
Donkey carts passing United Nations refugee relief truck damaged in crossfire, 1991
War-damaged houses in Hargeysa, a major city in northern Somalia, 1991
Since independence, the Somali military establishment had undergone several changes. From the early 1960s to 1977, the period when good relations existed between Somalia and the Soviet Union, the Somali military had the largest armored and mechanized forces in sub-Saharan Africa, and the SAF and the Somali navy were among the region's best. However, the outbreak of the 1977- 78 Ogaden War and the withdrawal of Soviet military advisers and technicians had a crippling effect on the Somali military. After the emergence of the United States-Somalia alliance, Mogadishu reorganized the army so that it would be based on infantry, rather than on mechanized forces. As part of this restructuring, the military's overall personnel strength grew from about 23,000- -the size of the military during the Ogaden War--to approximately 50,000 in 1981, and about 65,000 in early 1990. But by late 1990, the Somali military establishment was in a state of disintegration. In large part because of dismay at Somalia's increasingly poor human rights record, foreign military assistance had been reduced to a minimum. Desertions and battlefield defeats had caused a decline in the military's personnel strength to about 10,000. By the time insurgent forces took the capital in January 1991, the Somali military had ceased to exist as a fighting force.
NOTE: The information regarding Somalia on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Somalia HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARMED FORCES information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Somalia HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARMED FORCES should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.