Population. – The most recent international estimates attribute to Somalia a population of about 9.2 million residents, corresponding to an average density of 14.4 residents / km 2. Massive waves of population transfers have made calculations difficult. Since the mid-1970s, recurrent dry seasons have mainly affected the northern regions, inducing many Somalis to seek better living conditions in the south of the country. In the following decade, the long conflict that bloodied neighboring Ethiopia generated a flow of nearly one million refugees who sought refuge within the borders of Somalia. Then, at the beginning of the nineties, while the Ethiopian refugees were gradually returning to their homeland, the outbreak of the civil war in Somalia caused new mass exodus: it is estimated that about one sixth of the population has abandoned their usual home, sometimes seeking escape. abroad.
The demographic increase, supported by a birth rate still estimated at 50ı, remains in the order of 3% per year, even if the succession of famines and war events maintain high levels of mortality. Despite government efforts, illiteracy affects 88% of adults. The active population, estimated at around 3 million units, is about 3/4 employed in agriculture, while the nascent industry employs less than 10% of the workforce. The share of the urban population is just over 36%: the capital Mogadishu remains the only large city, with about one million residents. (1987 estimate), while 400,000 residents are attributed to the main center of the North, Hargeisa, and 200,000 of them boast the ports of Chisimaio and Berbera. For Somalia 2011, please check internetsailors.com.
History. – After the defeat suffered in the Ogaden war against Ethiopia, the Somalia had to face various diplomatic difficulties. The tension with Ethiopia remained high. Mogadishu continued to support the guerrillas of the Western Somalia Liberation Front in Ogaden; in retaliation Addìs Ababa supported the two dissident movements operating in Somalia: the Somali Democratic Salvation Front (FSDS) and the Somali National Movement (MNS). There were also Somali-Ethiopian direct military clashes, such as in June 1982, when Ethiopian troops entered the Somali region of Mudugh. The Ethiopian air attack against the town of Borama was also very serious, which in January 1984 caused 63 deaths. Only from 1986 was there a gradual detente between the two countries. The turning point began in January in Djibouti with a summit meeting between the two heads of state: M. Siad Barre and Mangestù Haylamāryām. It was then decided to set up a joint commission for the solution of the Ogaden crisis. This body between 1986 and 1987 held several sessions, but all of them inconclusive. Only after a new meeting between Siad Barre and Mangestù, also held in Djibouti, did the bilateral commission manage to draft a text of understanding in April 1988. The two countries agreed on the resumption of diplomatic relations, the withdrawal of troops from the borders and the exchange of prisoners of war. Furthermore, the two sides undertook to avoid the use and threat of force. Previously, Somalia had improved relations with Kenya, the other country traditionally hostile to pansomal irredentism promoted by Mogadishu, with the meeting between Siad Barre and Kenyan President Arap Moi held in Nairobi in June 1981 on the margins of the OAU annual assembly. The gradual realignment of the Somalia with the West also continued, which had already begun in 1977 with the expulsion from the country of the Soviet advisers. The ties between Somalia and the United States became increasingly close, which in August 1980 obtained the use of the Berbera air-naval base in exchange for a massive program of supplies and assistance to the Somali armed forces. which had already been started in 1977 with the expulsion from the country of the Soviet advisers. The ties between Somalia and the United States became increasingly close, which in August 1980 obtained the use of the Berbera air-naval base in exchange for a massive program of supplies and assistance to the Somali armed forces. which had already been started in 1977 with the expulsion from the country of the Soviet advisers. The ties between Somalia and the United States became increasingly close, which in August 1980 obtained the use of the Berbera air-naval base in exchange for a massive program of supplies and assistance to the Somali armed forces.
Once the Somali situation stabilized in the regional context, the socio-economic conditions of the country remained very serious. In particular, the plight of refugees – mostly Somalis – who had left Ethiopia due to drought to seek refuge from hunger in Somalia was enormous. In April 1985 their number was estimated at around 850,000 units, with a daily rate of arrivals of about 700 people. International aid prevented the exodus from turning into a catastrophe, but achieved less than expected success due to the bad use made by the government authorities, accused by the opposition of corruption and incompetence. Taking advantage of the growing social malaise, the oppositions had meanwhile strengthened to the point of threatening the institutional stabilization initiated by the regime in 1979 with the launch of a new constitution, which provided for the election of a legislative assembly in the context of single-partyism centered on the Party. socialist of the Somali revolution. Furthermore, the not young age of President Siad Barre tended to trigger a dull succession struggle within the same government circles characterized by some subversive attempts such as the one reported in June 1987, for which four officers were arrested. But the final blow to the regime was the strengthening of the guerrilla warfare by the FSDS in the center of the country and the MNS in the North, while around the capital and in the South there were two other opposition movements, respectively the United Somali Congress (CSU) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (MPS). A confirmation of the very serious crisis facing the country came in July 1989 when the killing of the bishop of Mogadishu, the Italian Somalia Colombo, was followed by a real popular uprising in the streets of the capital, which the army brutally crushed causing hundreds of victims.
In May 1990, 114 personalities from different political backgrounds drafted a Manifesto proposing a national conciliation conference in view of general elections. After that, the situation dramatically precipitated when nuclei of the CSU began to advance towards Mogadishu. The attempts of Siad Barre to recover consensus at the last minute with the appointment of a new prime minister and the dissolution of the special tribunals resulted in vain. The attempts at a negotiated solution implemented by Italy and Egypt which, at the end of 1990, unsuccessfully tried to hold a conference in Cairo extended to all the protagonists of the Somali crisis gave no better outcome. On January 26, 1991, Siad Barre was left only to abandon Mogadishu immediately occupied by the forces of the CSU, whose leader Ali Mahdi Mohammed assumed the presidency of the Republic.
The overthrow of Siad Barre (who died in exile in Nigeria on January 2, 1995) did not bring about the expected pacification, as the other armed movements did not recognize the new government promoted by the CSU. In a climate of growing confusion, on 21 July 1991, in Djibouti, the CSU and five other groups agreed on the restoration of the appropriately amended 1960 Constitution, as well as on the initiation of a series of transitional measures aimed at restoring peace and security in all of Somalia. It was also decided to confirm Ali Mahdi as President of the Republic for two years. Gen. Mohammed Farah Aidid, former head of the military wing and then president of the same CSU, but a member of a fraction of the Hawiya clan (that of the Habr Ghedir), always a rival of the Abgal to which Ali Mahdi belonged. Bloody fighting took place in Mogadishu, which at the end of 1991 forced Ali Mahdi to abandon the presidential palace itself. Meanwhile in the North on May 18, 1991 the most influential local leaders had gathered and under the auspices of the MNS – absent from the aforementioned conference of Djibouti – they had proclaimed the secession from the Somalia and the independence of what had been Somaliland in colonial times British.
The Somalia, devoid of any central power and having reached the very limit of subsistence, now seemed the victim of an unstoppable process of disintegration that was consumed along the bloody lines of conflict between clans. In this climate, the United Nations multiplied its efforts to stop the fighting, especially in the capital. A truce was in fact signed on March 3, 1992: Mogadishu was practically divided into two sectors, the northern one controlled by Ali Mahdi and the southern one by Aidid who, in the following August, formed the Somali National Alliance (ANS) extended to various groups including the aforementioned MPS. In the meantime, hopes for a peaceful solution to the Somali crisis were wrecked amid continuous clashes and violence that made even the country increasingly precarious. work of international assistance to the countless victims of the conflict. In this context, following an orientation repeatedly expressed by its secretary B. Boutros Ghali, the UN sent a certain number of UNOSOM troops (United Nations Operation in Somalia) as an intermediary force, the first step towards the implementation of Operation Restore Hope with which, on 9 December 1992, 28,000 US soldiers landed in Mogadishu. The American contingent in the following May was then framed in a larger multinational force, sponsored by the UN and called UNOSOM 2, which was attended by contingents from 35 countries including Italy, which sent 3000 men of the Folgore brigade and a certain number of carabinieri. The activity of UNOSOM 2 proved to be extremely difficult and contradictory. At first it seemed to follow the will to impose itself militarily on the contenders, and in particular sought a confrontation with Aidid who thus ended up being implicitly promoted to the representative of Somali nationalism humiliated by foreign intervention. The incidents and clashes became daily. In July 1993 the the killing of three Italian soldiers led the government of Rome to openly criticize the policy of confrontation with Aidid pursued by the United States and to support a dialogue initiative aimed at all Somali forces, including Aidid’s supporters. A turning point in US policy in the direction hoped for by Italy actually occurred in the following October, when President B. Clinton announced that by March 1994 all US forces would withdraw from Somalia. At the same time Aidid was diplomatically rehabilitated and invited to take part in the pacification of the country. The US disengagement took place within the announced timeframe, and was followed by that of all other Western contingents. This did not mean the end of the activity of UNOSOM 2 which, managed by forces from different Afro-Asian countries (Bangla Desh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, etc.), he continued his mandate until March 1995, but without being able to guarantee the return of the Somalia to a minimum of coexistence civil. Meanwhile, on 24 March 1994, almost simultaneously with the American withdrawal from the Somalia, in Nairobi a summit between the “ Group of the Twelve ”, the group of forces headed by Ali Mahdi, and Aidid’s ANS ended with a common declaration of conciliation which aroused as unexpected as unfounded hopes, since none of the various problems remained open (criteria for the election of the president, vice-presidents, the head of government, a legislative assembly).