(1936-) Somali soldier and politician. A one-time colleague of the Somali president, Siad Barre, in 1990 he established an anti-Barre paramilitary organization, the United Somali Congress (USC), which eventually drove the president from office 1991. Rivalry subsequently developed within the ruling coalition and Somalia was again plunged into civil war. During 1993, United Nations peacekeeping forces (principally US Marines) targetted Aidid as the principal villain in the conflict and conducted an abortive mission to capture him.
Aidid was made head of intelligence by President Siad Barre but fell from favor and was imprisoned for six years on charges of sedition. Released 1984, he was appointed ambassador to Turkey and later India. Despite his return to favor, he joined opposition to the president, becoming chairman of the United Somali Congress, which, from a base in Ethiopia, ousted the Barre regime 1991.
Rivalry developed between Aidid and Ali Mahdi Mohammed, a former ally and Somalia's self-proclaimed president, and the country was subsequently ravaged by a bitter struggle between them. After two years of civil war, Aidid and Mahdi signed a peace agreement March 1994. Aidid was ousted as factional leader 1995.