Mogadishu, Mar 10 – The former president of Somalia between 1991 and 1997, Ali Mahdi Muhammad, died today in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, at the age of 82, as reported on Twitter by the spokesman for the Ministry of Justice. Somali information, Isamel Mukhtaar Omar.
Mukhtaar Omar limited himself to confirming the death without giving more details about the causes of the death of the former president, but local media specified that Mahdi Muhammad had been hospitalized for three days in a medical center in the Kenyan capital.
The deceased came to power after, on January 26, 1991, guerrilla groups under the command of tribal leaders known as “warlords” overthrew Mohamed Siad Barre, the pro-socialist dictator who had ruled Somalia since October 1969.
After ousting the president, Ali Mahdi Muhammad headed an interim government made up of a group of Somali politicians with the backing of some regional authorities.
A civil war broke out in the country, however, when his administration was challenged by another tribal leader, Mohamed Farrah Aidid, leaving Somalia without an effective government and in a state of war and chaos that endures to this day.
In an interview with EFE in 2011, Ali Mahdi rejected claims that he was the one who sparked the prolonged civil war in his country.
“I was legally elected by the delegates of the first reconciliation conference held in (neighboring) Djibouti. Aideed was not at that meeting, he was still fighting in the south of the country, and when he found out that I had been appointed he declared the war, “he said then.
The confrontation between Ali Mahdi and Aideed, whose militias were the ones that expelled Siad Barré from Mogadishu, changed the character of the conflict, which changed from a war of liberation to clashes between clans and condemned the Somali people to uncertainty, leaving them in the hands of Islamist militias and warlords.