Mohammed Said Hersi Morgan

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General Morgan
General Morgan2.jpg
Minister of Defense
In office
1990 – 26 January 1991
President Siad Barre
Personal details
Nationality Somali
Political party Somali Patriotic Movement
Relations Siad Barre (father-in-law)
Religion Islam
Military service
Allegiance  Somali Democratic Republic

Mohammed Said Hersi Morgan (Somali: Maxamed Siciid Xirsi Moorgan;[1] Arabic: محمد سعيد هيرسي مورغان‎‎) is a Somali military and faction leader. He was the son-in-law of Siad Barre and Minister of Defense of Somalia.[2] Said Hersi. His military campaign in Southern Somalia in 1992 was one of the main causes of the famine in Somalia.[3]


Siad Barre Government[edit]

Mohammed Said Hersi received his military training in both Italy and the USA. As a colonel he was commander of the Mogadishu sector, where the elite units of the Armed Forces were stationed (ca. 1980).[4] He then went on to become commander of the Red Berets,[5] responsible for the suppression of the revolt of the Majerteen united in the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) in 1982. From 1986 to 1988, as a general, he was the military commander of the 26th Sector (the region of Somaliland) and in September 1990 he was appointed as minister of defense and substitute head of state.

In 1988, operations conducted by the Barre government against Somali National Movement (SNM) rebels in the northern part of the country led to the death and imprisonment of thousands of Somali civilians by the Somali National Army.[6][7][8] Hersi Morgan was in charge of these operations, and thus became known as the "Butcher of Hargeisa."[9]

Somali Civil War[edit]

Mohammed Said Hersi led the shelling and bombing of Hargeisa in response to the city being taken over by the SNM. The shelling and subsequent battles that took place in the North of Somalia led the deaths of an estimated 50 - 60,000 people.

After the fall of the government on 26 January 1991 Mohammed Said Hersi together with Siad Barre fled from Mogadishu to the South-West of the country. In Gedo he regrouped the army. Together with Barre's son General Maslah, Mohammed Said Hersi went abroad through Kenya on an arms purchasing mission. According to a report of the Minority Rights Group based in Britain[10] they purchased $27 Million worth of arms and petroleum at various black markets. Mohammed Said Hersi became the chairman of the newly founded Somali National Front (SNF); the remains of the Somali National Army functioned as its militia. The SNF made two efforts (one in April 1991 and the other in April 1992) to recapture the capital Mogadishu. Both efforts failed. The SNF was vanquished by the USC and pushed back to the Kenyan border. It later survived in a diminished form in and around Kismayo. Mohammed Said Hersi then tried to unite the Marehan with the other Darod (Ogaden and Majeerteen) to conquer the region around Kismayo. Siad Barre fled to Kenya in April 1992.[11] On January 8, 1993 Mohammed Said Hersi was one of the signatories of agreement reached at the UN-sponsored Informal Preparatory Meeting on National Reconciliation, and the March 1993 Conference on National Reconciliation in Somalia, both in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.[12][13] However, fighting continued in the country unabated.

In December 1993, Mohammed Said Hersi's troops captured Kismayo, and awaited the departure of Belgian UN peacekeepers who were stationed there. His troops had taken advantage of the UN's preoccupation with Mohamed Farah Aidid and had rearmed and regrouped.[14] Mohammed Said Hersi remained in control of Kismayo until 1999. In that period Hersi Morgan cooperated with his former enemies, the Majerteen of the SSDF. Operating from Kismayo, Mohammed Said Hersi was also active in the Kenyan border area. His militia rarely fought those Siyad Hussein, Col. Omar Jess, Ahmed Hashi which also operated in this region; instead they devoted most of their energies to preying upon IDPs and refugees. The area around Dobley refugee camp earned a reputation as one of the most dangerous and violent places in the entire region; women gathering firewood in the bush were routinely raped by predatory militiamen, aid convoys were looted, and refugees subjected to extortion and shakedowns.[15]

After the SNF had split up between Marehan and other factions Hersi had lost his position as leader of that faction. He then joined the Somali Patriot Movement (SPM), which consisted of Darod tribe militias, the Rahanweyn Resistance Army, and the South Somali National Movement (SSNM). Hersi Morgan was head of the self-created entity Jubaland between September 3, 1998—June 11, 1999. However he lost the territory to the Juba Valley Alliance (JVA) under Ahmed Warsame in 1999 and only briefly recaptured Kismayo on 6-7 Aug 2001. The town remained in the hands of the JVA until 2006.

Transitional National Government[edit]

Hersi Morgan was present at the conclusion of the peace Talks in Kenya (2002–2004) in which a transitional Somali Transitional National Government (later to become the Transitional Federal Government) was formed. This conclusion, however, was put to risk in September 2004 by the withdrawal of Said Hersi Morgan, who prepared his forces to attack Kismayu, controlled by the JVA which had ousted him in 1999.[16]

Ambassador Kiplagat requested IGAD to impose sanctions against Hersi Morgan for withdrawing from the peace process. The JVA and other warlords began to mobilize forces to oppose him. In September there was some fighting at a distance from Kismayu and the local population fled, but within some days the conference facilitators had persuaded Hersi Morgan to return to Nairobi and re-join the reconciliation conference, although he was not selected as a member of parliament. According to Amnesty International "his presence at the peace talks, more than any of the other warlords, had highlighted the significance of the issue of impunity and its effect on human rights in the future."[17]

In May 2005 Said Hersi Morgan left Nairobi to pay a short visit with his militia in Mogadishu and talked to representatives of the USC.[18] The battle between the militia and the ICU for the control of the capital would start February 2006. Members of this same USC have been the victim of atrocities of troops of Said Hersi Morgan in 1992. In that year the SNF retook with assistance of the Kenyan military (in violation of a United Nations Security Council arms embargo), the Gedo region. In October 1992, the SNF captured the town of Bardera, committing atrocities against civilians who were thought to have supported the USC (solely on the basis of their clan identity) and greatly disrupting relief efforts.[19]

In 1991, when Said Hersi was minister of defense in the Barre government, there still were 54,000 soldiers under his command. Fourteen years later only 1,000 of those remain.[20]

Morgan's militia is currently based in the Ethiopian town of Gode, located in the southern Ogaden. The family of Mohammed Hersi Morgan lives in the United States.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sometimes referred to simply as "General Morgan" or "Colonel Morgan".
  2. ^ In January 1990, Africa Watch published a 268-page report on the war in northern Somalia, which had broken out in May 1988. By the beginning of 1990, an estimated 50,000 to 6,000 had been killed and nearly half a million had fled the country, the majority for Ethiopia. Entitled A Government at War with Its Own People: Testimonies About the Killings and the Conflict in the North, the report was based on research and interviews with newly arrived refugees in August 1989 in Djibouti and from June to October 1989 in England and Wales, where a sizeable refugee community had also gathered. The report provided eyewitness accounts of the human rights abuses that preceded the outbreak of war, and examined the conduct of the war by government forces and SNM insurgents.
    • The estimate of 40,000 killed is given in SOMALIA ASSESSMENT, Version 4, September 1999, Country Information and Policy Unit of the Immigration & Nationality Directorate, Home Office of the United Kingdom Government, Section OGADEN WAR & OPPOSITION TO BARRE, paragraph 3.13. [1]
  3. ^ Somalia: Fourteenth time lucky? by Richard Cornwell, Institute for Security Studies, Occasional Paper 87 (section the fall of Siyad Barre) April 2004
  4. ^ A letter to the editor of "Horn of Africa" journal published in U.S.A. (Vol. 2 No. 4) 1980-81, written by Ahmed A. Deria, Nairobi [2]
  5. ^ Somali War Lords
  6. ^ "Background: The Siad Barre Regime and Ethnic Hostility". U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services Country Reports. 
  7. ^ "Somalia "General Morgan commanded the 26th division." "General Morgan's division used landmines as weapons of terror."". Landmine Monitor Landmine Report1999. 
  8. ^ On July 14, 1988, the US House Subcommittee on Africa held a hearing after Barre's government troops' military operations in Somaliland (House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Su-Com on Africa, Reported Massacres and Indiscriminate Killings in Somalia, hearing, 100th Cong., 2nd sess., July 14, 1988.)
  9. ^ Analysis: Somalia's powerbrokers BBC
  10. ^ Samatar, Somalia: a Nation in Turmoil Aug, 1991. p. 21.
  11. ^ Bradbury, Mark, The Somali conflict: prospects for peace, p. 14 (Oxford, 1993).
  12. ^ The General Agreement signed in Addis Ababa on 8 January 1993 The United Nations and Somalia 1992-1996
  13. ^ Addis Ababa Agreement concluded at the first session of the Conference on National Reconciliation in Somalia, 27 March 1993 The United Nations and Somalia 1992-1996
  14. ^ Spinning Dunkirk: The Pentagon Quits Somalia Somalia News Update
  15. ^ US-Aid Kenya-Somalia Border Conflict Analysis, p. 39, August 2005 by Dr Ken Menkhaus (In 2003 Dobley became the victim of JVA atrocities, p. 41)
  16. ^ Somali warlord prepares assault on rival as peace talks falter The Independent, 8 September 2004
  17. ^ Somalia: Urgent need for effective human rights protection under the new transitional government Amnesty International (PDF)
  18. ^ Somalinet May 25, 2005 "General Morgan left Nairobi for Mogadishu"
  19. ^ Somalia
  20. ^ For the force levels of the Somali National Army, see: The Journal of Conflict Studies, Vol. XVI No. 2, Fall 1996, "The Horn of Africa: Conflict, Demilitarization and Reconstruction" , chapter DIMENSIONS OF MILITARIZATION, section: Growth in Force Levels and Expenditure by Baffour Agyeman-Duah. For the force level of the SNF, see PEACEKEEPING AND POLICING IN SOMALIA, PEACEKEEPING AND POLICING IN SOMALIA, by LYNN THOMAS and STEVE SPATARO, Chapter "Background", section "Capacity for Self-Governance": "Mohammed Said Hersi "Morgan" had a well-organized force of 1,000 former soldiers" (in:in R. B. Oakley, M. J. Dziedzic, and E. M. Goldberg, eds., Policing the New World Disorder: Peace Operations and Public Security (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 1998), ch. 6 pp. 175-214 [3])

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