The complex was the residence of the first president of Somalia, Aden Abdullah Osman Daar of the Somali Youth League (SYL); and of Siad Barre, president until his ouster in 1991. The compound was subsequently captured by the forces of Mohamed Farrah Aidid's United Somali Congress (USC) after a fierce battle for control of the capital.
By the time a United Nations relief mission, UNOSOM I, was launched to quell the fighting in Mogadishu, a Somali reconciliation conference had taken place in Djibouti. At this meeting, Ali Mahdi Mohamed was elected President by Somali politicians and clan leaders. However, political player and warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid rejected Ali Mohamed's selection by the conference and refused to submit to his rule. This resulted in four months of continued fighting between Mohamed and Aidid, the latter declaring himself Interim President. Aidid took control of Villa Somalia while both warlords fought for control of the city.
In 2006, Villa Somalia was held for eight weeks by clan forces loyal to Hussein Mohamed Farrah, following the Second Battle of Mogadishu. In late July, the compound was turned over to the Islamic Courts Union. ICU leader Abdirahman Janaqaw announced the complex would host an Islamic Sharia court. The Islamists held onto Villa Somalia until the complex was taken over on December 28, 2006, by forces loyal to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which is governed by the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) of Somalia. The ICU had previously fled the capital due to an impending TFG and Ethiopian attack.
On January 1, 2007, in a move towards disarmament and reconciliation, the government announced a weapons turn-in. All collected arms were to be registered at Villa Somalia; Villa Baidoa was also mentioned as an arms collection point. An amnesty to Islamists was also extended.
On January 8, 2007, as the Battle of Ras Kamboni raged, TFG President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed entered Mogadishu for the first time since being elected. It was announced that the government would be relocated to Villa Somalia from its interim location at Baidoa.
The palace is presently the residence of the current president of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
- Geo Links
- "At least 20 members of Somalia's parliament hand in resignations". Associated Press. 2006-07-26. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
- A Journalist in Mogadishu
- US Department of the Army: Analysis of Somalia, December 1993
- "Somali pro-govt militias seize buildings in capital". Reuters. 2006-12-28. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
- Islamic militants in Somalia flee after stronghold falls Associated Press
- Somali government to disarm the civilian population in three days Shabelle Media Network
- "Somalia president visits Mogadishu after Ethiopian victory". Garowe Online. 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2007-01-08.[dead link]