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Mohammed Siad Barre (Somali: Maxamed Siyaad Barre, Osmanya script: 𐒑𐒖𐒄𐒖𐒑𐒗𐒆 𐒈𐒘𐒕𐒛𐒆 𐒁𐒖𐒇𐒇𐒗, Arabic: محمد زياد بري Muhammad Siad Bariy; 6 October 1909 – 2 January 1995) was a Somali military officer, politician and revolutionary who served as the head of state of Somalia from 21 October 1969 to 26 January 1991.
Mohammed Siad Barre
Maxamed Siyaad Barre
|3rd President of Somalia|
21 October 1969 – 26 January 1991
|First Vice Presidents|
|Preceded by||Abdirashid Shermarke|
|Succeeded by||Ali Mahdi Muhammad|
|General Secretary of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party|
26 June 1976 – 26 January 1991
|Preceded by||Post established|
|Succeeded by||Post abolished|
|2nd Commander in Chief of the Somali Armed Forces|
20 April 1965 – 25 November 1969
|Preceded by||Daud Abdulle Hirsi|
|Succeeded by||Mohammad Ali Samatar|
Mohamed Siad Barre
(1909-10-06)6 October 1909
Shilabo, Ethiopian Empire
|Died||2 January 1995(1995-01-02) (aged 85)|
|Political party||Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party|
|Branch/service||Somali National Army|
|Years of service||1935–1991|
Barre, a major general of the gendarmerie by profession, became President of Somalia after the 1969 coup d'état that overthrew the Somali Republic following the assassination of President Abdirashid Shermarke. The Supreme Revolutionary Council military junta under Barre reconstituted Somalia as a one-party Marxist–Leninist communist state, renamed the country the Somali Democratic Republic and adopted scientific socialism (with support from the Soviet Union).
Barre's early rule was characterised by attempts at widespread modernization, nationalization of banks and industry, promotion of cooperative farms, a new writing system for the Somali language, and anti-tribalism. The Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party became Somalia's vanguard party in 1976, and Barre started the Ogaden War against Ethiopia on a platform of Somali nationalism and pan-Somalism. Barre's popularity was highest during the seven months between September 1977 and March 1978 when Barre captured virtually the entirety of the Somali region. It declined from the late-1970s following Somalia's defeat in the Ogaden War, triggering the Somali Rebellion and severing ties with the Soviet Union. Somalia then allied itself with the Western powers and especially the United States for the remainder of the Cold War, although it maintained its Marxist–Leninist regime and also drew close to China.
Opposition grew in the 1980s due to his increasingly dictatorial rule, growth of tribal politics, abuses of the National Security Service including the Isaaq genocide, and the sharp decline of Somalia's economy. In 1991, Barre’s government collapsed as the Somali Rebellion successfully ejected him from power, leading to the Somali Civil War and a massive power vacuum in its wake. Barre was forced into exile in Nigeria, where he died in 1995 on the way to the hospital after suffering a heart attack.