U.S Marines storm Mogadishu, Somalia 1992
On this day in 1992, 1,800 United States Marines arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, to spearhead a multinational force aimed at restoring order in the conflict-ridden country.
Following centuries of colonial rule by countries including Portugal, Britain and Italy, Mogadishu became the capital of an independent Somalia in 1960. Less than 10 years later, a military group led by Major General Muhammad Siad Barre seized power and declared Somalia a socialist state. A drought in the mid-1970s combined with an unsuccessful rebellion by ethnic Somalis in a neighboring province of Ethiopia to deprive many of food and shelter. By 1981, close to 2 million of the country’s inhabitants were homeless. Though a peace accord was signed with Ethiopia in 1988, fighting increased between rival clans within Somalia, and in January 1991 Barre was forced to flee the capital. Over the next 23 months, Somalia’s civil war killed some 50,000 people; another 300,000 died of starvation as United Nations peacekeeping forces struggled in vain to restore order and provide relief amid the chaos of war.
In early December 1992, outgoing U.S. President George H.W. Bush sent the contingent of Marines to Mogadishu as part of a mission dubbed Operation Restore Hope. Backed by the U.S. troops, international aid workers were soon able to restore food distribution and other humanitarian aid operations. Sporadic violence continued, including the murder of 24 U.N. soldiers from Pakistan in 1993. As a result, the U.N. authorized the arrest of General Mohammed Farah Aidid, leader of one of the rebel clans. On October 3, 1993, during an attempt to make the arrest, rebels shot down two of the U.S. Army’s Black Hawk helicopters and killed 18 American soldiers.
As horrified TV viewers watched images of the bloodshed—-including footage of Aidid’s supporters dragging the body of one dead soldier through the streets of Mogadishu, cheering—-President Bill Clinton immediately gave the order for all American soldiers to withdraw from Somalia by March 31, 1994. Other Western nations followed suit. When the last U.N. peacekeepers left in 1995, ending a mission that had cost more than $2 billion, Mogadishu still lacked a functioning government. A ceasefire accord signed in Kenya in 2002 failed to put a stop to the violence, and though a new parliament was convened in 2004, rival factions in various regions of Somalia continue to struggle for control of the troubled nation.
(More Events on This Day in History)
- 1775 Patriots gain control of Virginia
- 1921 GM engineers discover that leaded gas reduces “knock” in auto engines
- 1861 Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War created
- 1950 Harry Gold sent to prison for his role in atomic espionage
- 1981 Policeman Daniel Faulkner found dead
- 2003 Cold spell leads to tragedy in Iran
- 1958 John Birch Society founded
- 1987 Intifada begins on Gaza Strip
- 1990 Walesa elected president of Poland
- 1992 Separation of Charles and Diana announced
- 1983 Pacino stars in Scarface
- 1854 “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson is published
- 1972 “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy tops the U.S. pop charts
- 1835 The Texan Army captures San Antonio
- 1967 Johnson discusses daughters
- 1965 Reds trade Frank Robinson to Orioles
- 1965 Newspaper reports on bombing over North Vietnam
- 1971 Paris peace talks break down
World War I
- 1917 Jerusalem surrenders to British troops
World War II
- 1940 Brits launch offensive against Italians in North Africa