Open main menu

The Somali National Movement (Somali: Dhaqdhaqaaqa wadaniga soomaliyeed, Arabic: الحركة الوطنية الصوماليه‎) was a 1980s–1990s Somali rebel group. The Somali National Movement was organized in London, England, on April 6, 1981 by Hasan Adan Wadadi, a former Somali diplomat, who stated that the group's purpose was to overthrow the Siaad Barre regime.[3] The SNM gathered its main base of support from members of the Isaaq clan, who formed and supported the movement in response to years of systematic discrimination by the Siaad Barre government.The SNM at first did not necessarily support secession, The USC's announcement of a provisional government in February 1991 angered the SNM who maintained that they had not been consulted. Pressure for secession evidently came from the SNM's followers, who were devastated by the loss of lives and the destruction of northern cities by the Siad Barre government. In Hargeisa, for instance, only 5% of the city's buildings remain standing.[4]

Somali National Movement (SNM)
Participant in Somali Civil War
Flag of Somaliland until 1996.svg
LeadersAhmed Mohamed Gulaid
(Oct 1981– Jan 1982)

Sheikh Yusuf Ali Sheikh Madar

(Jan 1982– Nov 1983)

Colonel Abdiqadir Kosar Abdi

(Nov 1983– Aug 1984)

Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud

(Aug 1984– Apr 1989);

Abdirahman Ahmed Ali Tuur

(Apr 1990– May 1991)[1]
HeadquartersDire Dawa, Hargeisa
Area of operations Somalia
Became Somaliland
AlliesUnited Somali Congress
Opponent(s)Somali National Army



Saudi ArabiaEdit

In 1977, a group of Somali expats in Saudi Arabia hailing from the Isaaq clan begun to collect funds for the aim of launching a newspaper covering Somali affairs. Led by Mohamed Haashi Abdi, the grassroots group has grown into Semi-political party unofficially refereed to as Somali Islamic Democratic party (later Somali National movement) Representing intellectuals, businessmen and prominent figures of the expat community in Saudi Arabia. By the end of 1979, the group had strong foothold in local Somali communities in Riyadh, Dhahran, Khobar and especially Jeddah where they set meetings every 3 months discussing deteriorating situation in Somali Democratic Republic post Ogaden War.

United KingdomEdit

The "Saudi group" reached out to the larger Somali population in United Kingdom. The said communities composed primarily of students, activists, intellectuals and semen communities, particularly Somalis in London, Cardiff, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool played greater role in raising funds and spreading awareness of the human rights violation under Mohamed Siad Barre regime.

Due to political and logistical obstacles in Saudi Arabia, the Somali Islamic Democratic party decide to move its headquarters to London and along with Somali London Association, Somali Welfare Association, Somali National party (as well as members of the Somali Student Union,) to converge and lunch Somali National Movement in 1981.[5]

Somali Civil WarEdit

The SNM succeeded in overrunning several government outposts in Northern Somalia. The SNM-USC-SPM unification agreement failed to last after Siaad Barre fled Mogadishu. On January 26, 1991, the USC formed an interim government, which the SNM refused to recognize. On May 18, 1991, the SNM declared the northwestern Somali regions independent, establishing the Republic of Somaliland. The USC interim government opposed this declaration, arguing instead for a unified Somalia. Apart from these political disagreements, fighting broke out between and within the USC and SPM.


The SNM was extremely influential in the establishment of Somaliland, a self-declared sovereign republic in the former Somali Republic..[6] Many former SNM members are the key in the formation of the government and constitution.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Tekle, ed. by Amare (1994). Eritrea and Ethiopia : from conflict to cooperation (1. print. ed.). Lawrenceville (N.J.): the Red sea paper. p. 150. ISBN 0932415970.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Helen Chapin Metz, Somalia: a country study, Volume 550, Issues 86-993, (The Division: 1993), p.xxviii.
  4. ^ Lacey, Marc (June 5, 2006). "The Signs Say Somaliland, but the World Says Somalia". New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  5. ^ Ioan M., Lewis (1994). Blood and bone : the call of kinship in Somali society. Lawrenceville, N.J.: Red Sea Press. pp. 181–194. ISBN 9780932415929.
  6. ^ The UK Prime Minister's Office Reply To The "Somaliland E-Petition"