Majeerteen Coup Attempt in Somalia 1978

[ 1978 ]

Siad Barre apparently resented the [Majeerteen] clan's prominence, and as early as 1970 was singling out the Majeerteen lineages for alleged opposition to his reform efforts. As a clan, the Majeerteen probably did not oppose Siad Barre at the outset. However, his insensitive rhetoric and discriminatory appointment and promotion policies had the effect, by the mid-1970s, of alienating the heads of the leading Majeerteen lineages, the very persons whose attitudes were decisive in determining the clan's political orientation.

Majeerteen officers were the primary organizers of an unsuccessful coup in April 1978, following the army's humiliating defeat in the Ogaden War. An estimated 500 rebel soldiers were killed in fighting with forces loyal to Siad Barre, and subsequently seventeen officers, all but one of them Majeerteen, were executed...

In the aftermath of the Ogaden debacle, a group of disgruntled army officers attempted a coup d'état against the regime in April 1978. Their leader was Colonel Mahammad Shaykh Usmaan, a member of the Majeerteen clan. The coup failed and seventeen alleged ringleaders, including Usmaan, were summarily executed. All but one of the executed were of the Majeerteen clan... During their preeminence in the civilian regimes, the Majeerteen had alienated other clans. Thus, when Siad Barre sent the Red Berets against the Majeerteen in Mudug Region, other clans declined to support them.

The Red Berets systematically smashed the small reservoirs in the area around Galcaio so as to deny water to the Umar Mahamuud Majeerteen sublineages and their herds. In May and June 1979, more than 2,000 Umar Mahamuud, the Majeerteen sublineage of Colonel Ahmad, died of thirst in the waterless area northeast of Galcaio, Garoowe, and Jerriiban. In Galcaio, members of the Victory Pioneers, the urban militia notorious for harassing civilians, raped large numbers of Majeerteen women. In addition, the clan lost an estimated 50,000 camels, 10,000 cattle, and 100,000 sheep and goats.

Related Conflicts

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