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Conflict in Somalia

Somali people were soon ruled within four different areas by Britain, France, Italy and Ethiopia. Somalis achieved independence from Italy and Britain in 1960 and formed the Somali Republic.

In October 1969, the Somali president was assassinated and a military coup put Major General Mohammed Siad Barre in power. Siad Barre wanted all Somalis to be part of Somalia. This led to a war with Ethiopia over the disputed area of Ogaden in 1977, but Somalia lost the war.

In the late 1980s, clans in Somalia began to fight with the army, in an attempt to overthrow Siad Barre's regime. A destructive civil war began in 1990, focused on the capital of Mogadishu, which was the scene of intense fighting.

In 1991 the United Somali Congress and the Somali Patriotic Movement succeeded in ousting Siad Barre. The civil war left more than 8000 people dead and hundreds of thousands of refugees.

In 1993, the United Nations began a humanitarian effort in Somalia to alleviate famine conditions, but had to withdraw two years later because of attacks by warlords.

Today, numerous warlords and factions are still fighting for control of Mogadishu and some other regions. There is still no national government in Somalia.