Former Somalia president Ali Mahdi Muhammad, 82, has died at a Nairobi hospital after contracting Covid-19, Somalia Information ministry spokesperson Ismael Omar has confirmed.
Reports indicate that he had been hospitalized at a Kenyan health facility for at least three days.
The deceased served as the President of Somalia from January 1991 to January 1997. He came to power after guerrilla groups under the command of tribal leaders known as “warlords” overthrew pro-socialist dictator, Mohamed Siad Barre.
A civil war broke out in the East African country, and his administration challenged by another tribal leader, Mohamed Farah Aideed. The war left Somalia without an effective government and in a state of war.
In an interview with EFE in 2011, Muhammad dismissed claims that he was the cause of the prolonged war.
“I was legally elected by the delegates of the first reconciliation conference held in (neighboring) Djibouti. Aideed was not at that meeting, he was still fighting in the south of the country, and when he found out that I had been appointed he declared the war,” he said.
Muhammad was opposed by Gen Aidid but was re-elected during a conference in Djibouti in July 1991.
He served as head of state until the election of Abdiqasim Salad in August 2000.