Somalia Fast Facts
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Here's a look at what you need to know about Somalia, an impoverished, war-torn eastern African country.
Somalia borders the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
1960 - The country of Somalia is created after former British and Italian colonies gain independence.
About Somalia: (CIA World Fact Book)
Land Area: 637,657 sq km (slightly smaller than Texas)
Population: 10,251,568 (July 2013 est.)
Median age: 17.7 years
Ethnic Groups: Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including 30,000 Arabs)
Religion: Sunni Muslim (Islam)
GDP: $5.896 billion (2010 est.)
GDP per capita: $600 (2010 est.)
July 1, 1960 - The new country of Somalia is formed
through the union of newly independent territories British Somaliland
and Italian Somaliland.
1969 - Mohamed Siad Barre leads a bloodless coup and becomes dictator.
1977-1978 - Somalia
invades the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. Ethiopia rebels and weakens
Somalia's forces. The two countries have fought on and off since 1960.
1988 - Somalia and Ethiopia sign a peace treaty.
January 1991 - President Barre is forced into exile after the United Somali Congress (USC) overthrows his military regime in Mogadishu.
December 1992 -
Faction leader Ali Mahdi Mohammed and warlord General Mohammed Farah
Aidid sign a cease-fire brokered by U.S. envoy Robert Oakley.
December 1992 -
Operation Restore Hope is launched by U.N. coalition forces and led by
the United States in an attempt to restore enough order to ensure food
distribution to the Somali people.
June 5, 1993 - General Aidid's forces attack and kill 24 U.N. troops from Pakistan.
September 25, 1993 - An American Black Hawk UH-60 helicopter is shot down over Mogadishu, and three soldiers on board are killed.
October 3-4, 1993 - The
Battle of Mogadishu: Two Black Hawk UH-60 helicopters are shot down
during a raid on Aidid's high-level staff at Mogadishu's Olympic Hotel.
Eighteen American soldiers are killed, and more than 70 are wounded.
Pilot Michael Durant is captured. Hundreds of Somalis are also killed.
October 9, 1993 - Aidid calls for a cease-fire with U.N. forces.
October 14, 1993 - Michael Durant is freed.
January 1994 - Elder clansmen agree to a new cease-fire. Aidid and Mohammed do not attend the talks.
March 25, 1994 - U.S. troops complete their withdrawal after a 15-month mission.
March 2, 1995 - The last of the U.N. peacekeepers are evacuated.
June 27, 2005 - Pirates hijack the MV Semlow, a ship carrying UN food aid, and hold the vessel for 100 days.
October 12, 2005 - Another U.N. ship carrying aid, the MV Miltzow, is hijacked and held for 30+ hours.
October 2005 - Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi calls on neighboring countries to send warships to patrol Somalia's coast.
November 27, 2005 - Pirates free a Ukrainian cargo ship seized 40 days prior off the coast of Somalia.
April 4, 2006 - The
South Korean ship Dongwon-ho 628 is seized off the coast of Somalia.
Four months later, the crew is released after a ransom is allegedly
April 2006 - Somalia grants the U.S. Navy permission to patrol coastal waters.
February 25, 2007 - Pirates hijack the MV Rozen, a cargo ship delivering U.N. food aid to Somalia. The ship and crew are released after 40 days.
2008 - The U.S. designates Al-Shabaab, a militant group in Somalia linked to al Qaeda, a foreign terrorist organization.
June 2008 - The U.N. Security Council unanimously votes to allow countries to send warships into Somalia's waters to combat piracy.
September 25, 2008 - The
Ukrainian ship, the MV Faina, is attacked. Its cargo consists of 33
T-72 tanks, rocket launchers, and small arms. The ship is released in
February after pirates claim they have received a $3.2 million ransom
November 2008 -
The Saudi supertanker Sirius Star is hijacked. The ship is released in
January 2009 after pirates claim to have received $3 million in ransom.
April 8, 2009 - Somali
pirates hijack the U.S.-flagged cargo ship Maersk Alabama. The captain,
Richard Phillips, offers himself as a hostage in order to protect his
April 12, 2009 - Phillips is rescued when U.S. Navy SEAL snipers fatally shoot three pirates and take the fourth into custody.
June 19, 2011 - Somali
Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo resigns. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali
is appointed as an interim leader until a new prime minister can be
July 20, 2011 - The United Nations declares a famine in the southern Somalia regions of Bakool and Lower Shabelle.
July 22, 2011 - Terrorist
group Al-Shabaab reverses an earlier pledge to allow aid agencies to
provide food in famine-stricken areas of southern Somalia.
August 2, 2011 -
The United States updates guidance so humanitarian organizations will
not be penalized for aid inadvertently falling into the hands of
terrorist group Al-Shabaab.
August 8, 2011 - U.S President Barack Obama announces $105 million in emergency funding for Somalia.
August 11, 2011 - The United States announces another $17 million in emergency aid for Somalia.
September 5, 2011 - The
U.N.'s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) releases a
report saying a total of 4 million people in Somalia need humanitarian
aid and 750,000 people are in danger of "imminent starvation."
September 16, 2011 -
The U.N. Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation announces
that Somalia has the highest mortality rate for children under five, in
October 4, 2011 -
More than 70 people are killed and 150 injured when a truck filled with
explosives drives into a government complex in Mogadishu. Most of the
victims are students and their parents who were registering for a
Turkish education program. Al-Shabaab claims responsibility.
June 7, 2012 - The
United States offers $7 million for information on the whereabouts of
seven key members of the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based
terror group behind bombings and attacks in the region.
September 10, 2012 - Somali
parliament members select Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the new president.
The vote marks a milestone for the nation, which has not had a stable
central government since Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown 21
January 11, 2013 -
French forces attempt to rescue a French intelligence commando held
hostage in Somalia by Al-Shabaab. The raid leaves a French soldier dead,
another soldier missing and 17 Islamist fighters dead. French President
Francois Hollande later acknowledges that the operation "did not
succeed" and resulted in the "sacrifice" of two French soldiers and
"maybe the assassination" of hostage Denis Allex, a member of the DGSE,
France's equivalent of the CIA. Al-Shabaab claims the hostage is alive
and later declares that it has killed the hostage in retribution for the
January 17, 2013 - For the first time in more than two decades, the United States grants official recognition to the Somali government.
May 2, 2013 - A report,
jointly commissioned by the United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization and the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network,
shows that 258,000 Somalis died in the famine between October 2010 and
April 2012. Half of the famine victims were children younger than five.
June 19, 2013 -
An attack on the U.N. headquarters in Mogadishu leaves at least 14
people dead and 15 others wounded. Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for