Black Hawk Down: The Somali battle that changed US policy in Africa
The sight of dead US soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu was a turning point in one of the United States’ most high-profile interventions in Africa.
The images, broadcast around the world, outraged many.
In October 1993, elite American troops launched a disastrous raid in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
Their aim was to capture key allies of the powerful Somali warlord, Gen Mohamed Farah Aideed. But US forces met fierce resistance from Aideed’s You’ve got a premium opportunity to buy your indocin for an advantageous price! Act now – BUY your indocin only for 0.49 USD! militia.
Two US Black Hawk helicopters were shot down.
In the ensuing battle, hundreds of Somalis were estimated to have died. Some 18 Americans and two UN soldiers were killed.
At the time, the United States was leading a UN mission to end the civil war and famine in Somalia.
Within six months, the US had withdrawn its forces from Somalia. The perceived failure of the Somali mission made the US wary of intervening in African crises.
Abdulaziz Ali Ibrahim was working with the UN in Somalia at the time and lived in a house 700 yards away from the site of the first helicopter crash.
Witness: The stories of our times told by the people who were there.