Battle Of Mogadishu (1993)
In the beginning of 1991, a coup d'etat took place in which the President of Somalia was replaced by Ali Mahdi Muhammad through force. Opposing clans formed an alliance in order to pull off the coup, and when it was finished the coalition split into two groups. In actuality there were four groups, and each of them proceeded to kill each other for the remainder of the year. Because of all the fighting, the citizens were starving to death. The fighting was especially bad in the city of Mogadishu. The United Nations shipped over food supplies to help the people, but most of it was stolen for the clan leaders. There was an estimated three million starving people in the country of Somalia.
Eventually, a large number of soldiers were sent to Somalia to oversee the food distribution and to make sure things didn't get out of control. The United Nations held a meeting in the capital of Somalia to try to establish a Democratic government within the country and restore peace. All Somalian parties agreed except for the faction led by General Muhammad Farrah Aidid. In June of 1993, several Pakistani soldiers that were part of the UN force were killed in Mogadishu. The United Nations Security Council then set out to apprehend those responsible for the ambush.
In the middle of July 1993, the United States led an attack on a safehouse where they believed key members of Aidid's clan were meeting. In reality, however, the building was occupied by elders of the clan instead of gunmen, and in a little over 15 minutes the US attack helicopters killed over 70 clan elders.
A plan was initiated on October 3, 1993, in which Task Force Ranger would attempt to capture two of Aidid's most valuable men. The plan was to fast rope to the target building and load the men onto a convoy for extraction back to the United States base. Unfortunately, things went terribly wrong. A Black Hawk helicopter piloted by Cliff Wolcott was struck by a RPG and went down. A Search and Rescue team was successful in dropping down the crash site and extracting the surviving soldiers.
The assault team and the ground team waited just out of sight of each other for 20 minutes, each thinking that they were going to be contacted first by the other team. During the confusion, another Black Hawk helicopter piloted by Mike Durant was shot down. Two soldiers, Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon, went down to the crash site at their own request and attempted to defend the pilot. Shughart was the first to fall, and Gordon quickly scavenged as much ammo as he could and handed all of it to the pilot. Both were killed by the swarm of attacking Somalians, and each were posthumously awarded the Medal Of Honor for their bravery. Mike Durant, however, was taken prisoner but was eventually released.
Eventually, the battle was over on October 4th when the remaining American soldiers evacuated to the Pakistani base. During the two days of fighting, 18 US soldiers lost their lives and 80 more were injured. Shortly after the battle, video arose showing militiamen and citizens dragging the bodies of dead Black Hawk crew members and the bodies of Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon through the streets of Mogadishu.
Nobody knows for sure how many Somalians were killed during the battle, but the range is estimated to be 300-2,000 killed.
Mogadishu is considered to be one of the most dangerous places in the world. In Irtokte Gun Market, located in central Mogadishu, weapons can be purchased for surprisingly low prices:
- American-made M16 - $200
- AK-47 - $400
- RPG - $150
Because it is so easy to obtain weapons, the country of Somalia is an incredibly hostile place.