The Western Somali Liberation Front

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By 1975 the UF came to be so strongly controlled, organized and equipped by Mogadishu, that it was considered “an arm of the Somali army” (Gilkes 1994b:722). In January 1976, the movement was split for logistical and propaganda reasons into the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) and the Abo-Somali Liberation Front (ASLF) (Compagnon 1995:378). Aiming to keep militancy on either side of the Somali-Ethiopian border at bay, Barre not only restricted the WSLF’s activities (Gilkes 1994b:722), but even avoided mentioning their existence to the Somali population (Markakis 1987:227; Lockyer 2006:5). At the time, Barre sent envoys to Addis Ababa to negotiate autonomy for the Ogadeen (Lewis 2002:232). However, the respective regional and international-level negotiations failed, Barre Somali president purposed himself of the Somali guerrillas (Laitin 1979b:112). Throughout 1976, the WSLF developed into “one of the largest and most capable insurgent movements in Africa” (Lockyer 2006:6), starting to move west in early 1977 (Ahmed I. Samatar 1988:133;Markakis 1998:31).…show more content…
Only then, on July 13th, 1977, did Barre officially commit his regular troops to the war (Nkaisserry 1997:15), reinforcing some 6,000-15,000 WSLF fighters with 35,000 soldiers (Lockyer 2006:9, referring to Marcus 1994:196f.; Matthies 1987:241f.).Thus, “the Somali dreams of national re- unification with one of the lost territories was about to be realized” (Nkaisserry
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