Siad Barre

Siad Barre

Mohamed Siad Barre (Somali: Maxamed Siyaad Barre; Arabic: محمد سياد بري‎; October 6, 1919 – January 2, 1995) was the military dictator and President of the Somali Democratic Republic from 1969 to 1991. During his rule, he styled himself as Jaalle Siyaad ("Comrade Siad").

At the time of independence in 1960, Somalia was touted in the West as the model of a democracy in Africa. However, clanism and extended family loyalties and conflicts were social problems the civilian government failed to eradicate and eventually succumbed to itself.

The Barre-led military junta that came to power after a coup d'état in 1969 said it would adapt scientific socialism to the needs of Somalia. It drew heavily from the traditions of China. Volunteer labour harvested and planted crops, and built roads and hospitals. Almost all industry, banks and businesses were nationalised, and cooperative farms were promoted. The government forbade clanism and stressed loyalty to the central authorities. A new writing script for the Somali language was also adopted. To spread the new language and the methods and message of the revolution, secondary schools were closed in 1974 and 25,000 students from fourteen to sixteen years of age and an additional 3,000 military and civil service employees were sent to rural areas to educate their nomadic relatives.

After 20 years of military rule, Barre's Supreme Revolutionary Council was eventually forced from power in the early 1990s by a coalition of armed opposition groups. He died in political exile in 1995, but was returned to Somalia for burial in his home region.

Read more about Siad Barre:  Early Years, Seizure of Power, Presidency, Death, Honours, Quotes

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