Somalia 1993 Battle of Mogadishu

The Battle of Mogadishu (also referred to as the Battle of the Black Sea) or for Somalis: the Day of the Rangers (Somali: Maalintii Rangers) was part of Operation Gothic Serpent and was fought on October 3 and 4, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, between forces of the United States supported by UNOSOM II and Somali militia fighters loyal to the self-proclaimed president-to-be Mohamed Farrah Aidid who had support from armed civilian fighters. The battle is referred to as the First Battle of Mogadishu to distinguish it from the Second Battle of Mogadishu in 2006.


Task Force Ranger which consisted of an assault force made up of US Army Delta Force, Ranger teams, an air element provided by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, four Navy SEAL operators from SEAL Team Six and members of the Air Force Pararescue/Air Force Combat Controllerss under the command of Major General William F. Garrison executed an operation that involved traveling from their compound on the outskirts of the city to the center with the aim of capturing the leaders of the Habr Gidr clan, headed by warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The assault force consisted of nineteen aircraft, twelve vehicles (including nine Humvees), and 160 men.

During the operation, two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by RPGs and three others were damaged. Some of the wounded survivors were able to evacuate back to the compound, but others remained near the crash sites and were isolated. An urban battle ensued throughout the night.

Early the next morning, a combined task force was sent to rescue the trapped soldiers. It contained soldiers from Pakistan Army, Malaysian Army and the U.S. 10th Mountain Division. They assembled some hundred vehicles, including Pakistani tanks (M48s) and Malaysian Condor armoured personnel carriers and were supported by U.S. MH-6 Little Bird and MH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. This task force reached the first crash site and rescued the survivors. The second crash site had been overrun by hostile Somalis during the night. Delta snipers Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart volunteered to hold them off until ground forces arrived. A Somali mob with thousands of combatants eventually overran the two operatives. The lone surviving American from that site, pilot Mike Durant, had been taken prisoner but was later released.

The exact number of Somali casualties is unknown, but estimates range from several hundred to over a thousand militiamen and others killed, with injuries to another 3,000-4,000. The International Committee of the Red Cross estimated 200 Somali civilians killed and several hundred wounded in the fighting, with reports that some civilians attacked the Americans. The book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War estimates more than 700 Somali militiamen dead and more than 1,000 wounded, but the Somali National Alliance in a Frontline documentary on American television acknowledged only 133 killed in the whole battle. The Somali casualties were reported in The Washington Post as 312 killed and 814 wounded. The Pentagon initially reported five American soldiers were killed, but the toll was actually 19 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded (another American soldier, Delta operator SFC Matt Rierson, was killed in a mortar attack two days later). Among UN forces, one Malaysian soldier and one Pakistani died; seven Malaysians and two Pakistanis were wounded. At the time, the battle was the bloodiest involving US troops since the Vietnam war and remained so until the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004.

On July 24, 1996 Mohamed Farrah Aidid was wounded during a firefight between his militia and forces loyal to warlords and former Aidid allies Ali Mahdi Muhammad and Osman Ali Atto. Aidid suffered a fatal heart attack on August 1, 1996, either during or after surgery to treat his wounds. The following day General Garrison retired.


In January 1991, the President of Somalia, Mohammed Siad Barre, was overthrown by a coalition of opposing clans called the United Somali Congress. After this revolution, the coalition divided into two groups. One was led by Ali Mahdi Muhammad, who became president, while the other was led by Mohammed Farrah Aidid. In total, there were four opposing groups-the United Somali Congress (USC), Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), and Somali Democratic Movement (SDM)--that continued to fight over the domination of Somalia. In June 1991, a ceasefire was agreed to, but failed to hold. A fifth group, the Somali National Movement (SNM), had already seceded from the northwest portion of Somalia in June. The SNM renamed it the Somaliland Republic, with its leader Abdel-Rahman Ahmed Ali as president.

In September 1991, severe fighting broke out in Mogadishu, which continued in the following months and spread throughout the country, with over 20,000 people killed or injured by the end of the year. These wars led to the destruction of the agriculture of Somalia, which in turn led to starvation in large parts of the country. The international community began to send food supplies to halt the starvation, but vast amounts of food were hijacked and brought to local clan leaders, who routinely exchanged it with other countries for weapons. An estimated 80 percent of the food was stolen. These factors led to even more starvation, from which an estimated 300,000 people died and another 1.5 million people suffered between 1991 and 1992. In July 1992, after a ceasefire between the opposing clan factions, the United Nations (UN) sent 50 military observers to watch the distribution of the food.

Operation Provide Relief began in August 1992, when the U.S. President George H.W. Bush announced that U.S. military transports would support the multinational UN relief effort in Somalia. Ten C-130s and 400 people were deployed to Mombasa, Kenya during Operation Provide Relief, airlifting aid to remote areas in Somalia and reducing reliance on truck convoys. One member of the 86th Supply Squadron, USAFE's only contribution to the operation, was deployed with the ground support contingent. The Air Force C-130s delivered 48,000 tons of food and medical supplies in six months to international humanitarian organizations trying to help the over three million starving people in the country.

When this proved inadequate to stop the massive death and displacement of the Somali people (500,000 dead and 1.5 million refugees or displaced), the U.S launched a major coalition operation to assist and protect humanitarian activities in December 1992. This operation, called Operation Restore Hope, saw the United States assuming the unified command in accordance with Resolution 794 (1992). The U.S. Marine Corps landed with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Mogadishu and, with elements of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines and 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines, secured nearly one-third of the city, the port, and airport facilities within two weeks time, with the intent to facilitate airlifted humanitarian supplies. Elements of the 2nd Battalion; HMLA-369 (Helicopter Marine Light Assault-369 of Marine Aircraft Group-39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Camp Pendleton); 9th Marines; and 1st Battalion, 7th Marines quickly secured routes to Baidoa, Balidogle and Kismayo, then were reinforced by the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion and the US Army's 10th Mountain Division.

Mission shift

On March 3, 1993, the U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali submitted to the U.N. Security Council his recommendations for effecting the transition from UNITAF to UNOSOM II. He indicated that since the adoption of Council Resolution 794 (1992) in December 1992, the presence and operations of UNITAF had created a positive impact on the security situation in Somalia and on the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance (UNITAF deployed some 37,000 personnel over forty percent of southern and central Somalia). However, there was still no effective government, police, or national army with the result of serious security threats to U.N. personnel. To that end, the U.N. Security Council authorized UNOSOM II to establish a secure environment throughout Somalia, to achieve national reconciliation so as to create a democratic state.

At the Conference on National Reconciliation in Somalia, held on March 15, 1993, in Addis Ababa, all fifteen Somali parties agreed to the terms set out to restore peace and democracy. Yet, by May it became clear that, although a signatory to the March Agreement, General Mohammed Farrah Aidid's faction would not cooperate in the Agreement's implementation.

Aidid began to broadcast anti-UN propaganda on Radio Mogadishu after believing he was purposefully being marginalized by the UN in an attempt to "rebuild Somalia". Lieutenant General Cevik Bir ordered the radio station shut down, in an attempt to quash the beginning of what could turn into a rebellion. Civilian spies throughout United Nations Operation Somalia II (UNOSOM II) headquarters likely led to the uncovering of the UN's plan. Aidid ordered SNA militia to attack a Pakistani force on 5 June 1993 that had been tasked with the inspection of an arms cache located at the radio station, possibly out of fear that this was a task force sent to shut down the broadcast. The result was 24 dead, and 57 wounded Pakistani troops, as well as 1 wounded Italian and 3 wounded American soldiers. On 6 June 1993, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 837, declaring total war on Aidid and his forces.

Attack on safe house

On July 12, 1993, a United States-led operation was launched on what was believed to be a safe house where Aidid was hiding in Mogadishu. During the 17-minute combat operation, U.S. Cobra attack helicopters fired 16 TOW missiles and thousands of 20-millimeter cannon rounds into the compound, killing 60 people. However, the number of Somalis killed in the attack was disputed. Abdi Qeybdiid, Aidid's interior minister, claimed 763 dead, including women and children who had been in the building (safe house). The reports Jonathan Howe got after the attack placed the number of dead at 20, all men. The International Committee of the Red Cross set the number of dead at 54. As it happened, General Aidid was nowhere in sight.

The operation would lead to the deaths of four journalists Dan Eldon, Hos Maina, Hansi Kraus and Anthony Macharia who were killed by angry Mogadishu mobs when they arrived to cover the incident, which presaged the Battle of Mogadishu.

Some believe that this American attack was a turning point in unifying Somalis against U.S. efforts in Somalia, including former moderates and those opposed to the Habar Gidir.

Task Force Ranger

On August 8, 1993, Aidid's militia detonated a remote controlled bomb against an American military vehicle, first killed four American soldiers and then, two weeks later, injured seven more. In response, President Bill Clinton approved the proposal to deploy a special task force composed of 400 US Army Rangers and Delta-force Commandos. This unit, named Task Force Ranger, consisted of 160 elite US troops.

On 22 August, Task Force Ranger was deployed to Somalia under the command of Major General William F. Garrison, commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) at the time.

The force consisted of:
B Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
C Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D)
A deployment package of 16 helicopters and personnel from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (160th SOAR), which included MH-60 Black Hawks and AH/MH-6 Little Birds.
Navy SEALs from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU)
Air Force Pararescuemen and Combat Controllers from the 24th Special Tactics Squadron.


On October 3, 1993, Task Force Ranger, U.S. Special Operations Forces composed mainly of Bravo Company 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (better known as "Delta Force") operators, and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) ("The Night Stalkers"), attempted to capture Aidid's foreign minister Omar Salad Elmi and his top political advisor, Mohamed Hassan Awale.

The plan was that Delta Force operators would assault the target building (using MH-6 Little Bird helicopters) and secure the targets inside the building while four Ranger chalks (under the command of Capt. Michael D. Steele) would fast rope down from hovering MH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. The Rangers would then create a four-corner defensive perimeter around the target building while a column of nine Humvees and three five-ton trucks (under the command of Lt. Col. Danny McKnight) would arrive at the target building to take the entire assault team and their prisoners back to base. The entire operation was estimated to take no longer than 30 minutes.

The ground-extraction convoy was supposed to reach the captive targets a few minutes after the beginning of the operation. However, it ran into delays. Somali citizens and local militia formed barricades along the streets of Mogadishu with rocks and burning tires, blocking the convoy from reaching the Rangers and their captives. Aidid militiamen with megaphones shouting, "Kasoobaxa guryaha oo iska celsa cadowga!" ("Come out and defend your homes!").

During the first moments of the operation, Ranger PFC Todd Blackburn fell while fast-roping from his Black Hawk while it was hovering 70 feet (21 m) above the streets. The cause of him falling from the chopper was never really known. The most logical theory was that he simply slipped when the helicopter was forced to take evasive maneuvers to avoid an incoming RPG fired from a nearby rooftop, although, according to Bowden, video does not show the helicopter moving. Blackburn suffered an injury to his head and back of his neck and required evacuation by Sgt. Jeff Struecker's column of three Humvees. While racing PFC Todd Blackburn back to base, Sgt. Dominick Pilla, assigned to Sgt. Struecker's Humvee, was killed instantly when a bullet entered his head. Sgt. Struecker's Humvee column reached the base and safety.

Minutes later, one of the Black Hawk helicopters, callsign Super 6-1 piloted by CW3 Cliff "Elvis" Wolcott, was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade. Both pilots of Super 6-1 were killed, and two of the crew chiefs were severely wounded. SSG Daniel Busch (a Delta Force sniper) survived the crash and managed to hold off the militia until he was evacuated by an MH-6 Little Bird helicopter, callsign Star 4-1. While he was defending the downed helicopter, however, he was shot 4 times and later died of his wounds.

A Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) team, led by TSgt Scott Fales of the Air Force PJs, were able to fast rope down to the crash site of Super 6-1 despite an RPG hit that crippled their helicopter, Super 6-8. This helicopter did make it back to base, despite the damage. Fales and his team found both the pilots dead and two wounded inside the crashed helicopter. Under intense fire, the team moved the wounded men to a nearby collection point, where they built a make-shift shelter using Kevlar armor plates salvaged from the wreckage of Super 6-1.

There was confusion between the ground convoy and the assault team. The assault team and the ground convoy waited for twenty minutes to receive their orders to move out. Both units were under the mistaken impression that they were to be first contacted by the other. During the wait, a second Black Hawk helicopter, callsign Super 6-4 and piloted by CW3 Michael Durant, was shot down by an RPG.

Most of the assault team went to the first crash site for a rescue operation. Upon reaching the site, about 90 Rangers and Delta Force operators found themselves under siege from heavy militia fire. Despite air support, the assault team was effectively trapped for the night. With a growing number of wounded needing shelter, they occupied several nearby houses and confined the occupants for the duration of the battle. Outside, a stiff breeze stirred up blinding, brown clouds of dust.

At the second crash site, two 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force) snipers, SFC Randy Shughart and MSG Gary Gordon, were inserted by the Black Hawk Super 6-2. Their first two requests to be inserted were turned down by Command, but they were finally granted permission upon their third request, protecting the crash site from the approaching mob and inflicting heavy casualties on the Somalis. When Gary Gordon was eventually killed, Randy Shughart then picked up Gordon's CAR-15 and gave it to Michael Durant. Shugart went back around the nose of the chopper and held off the mob for about ten more minutes, before he was killed. The Somali mob then overran the crash site and killed all but one of the helicopter crew: pilot CW3 Michael Durant. He was nearly beaten to death but was saved when members of Aidid's militia came to take him prisoner.

For requesting to help defend their comrades in the face of overwhelming odds, SFC Shughart and MSG Gordon were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the first ones to be awarded since the Vietnam War.

Repeated attempts by the Somalis to mass forces and overrun the American positions in a series of firefights near the first crash site were neutralized by aggressive small arms fire and by strafing runs and rocket attacks from AH-6J Little Bird helicopter gunships of the Nightstalkers, the only air unit equipped for and trained for night fighting. The Somali National Alliance militia casualties were reported as 700 killed and about 1,000 wounded. Other Somali leaders put their losses at 312 killed and 814 wounded.

A relief convoy with elements from the Task Force 2-14 Infantry, 10th Mountain Division, accompanied by Malaysian and Pakistani UN forces, arrived at the first crash site at around 02:00. No contingency planning or coordination with UN forces had been arranged prior to the operation; consequently, the recovery of the surrounded U.S. soldiers was significantly complicated and delayed. Determined to protect all members of the rescue convoy, Gen. Garrison made sure that the convoy would roll out in force. When the convoy finally pushed into the city, it consisted of more than 100 vehicles including Malaysian forces' German made Condor APCs, four Pakistani tanks, American Humvees and several five-ton flatbed trucks. This two-mile-long column was supported by several other Black Hawks and Cobra assault helicopters stationed with the 10th Mountain Division. Meanwhile, the "Little Birds" of Task Force Ranger continued their defense of the downed crew and rescuers of Super 6-1. The American assault force sustained heavy casualties, including several killed, and a Malaysian soldier was killed when an RPG hit his Condor vehicle. Seven Malaysians and two Pakistanis were wounded.

The battle was over by 6:30 AM on Monday, October 4. American forces were finally evacuated to the UN base by the armored convoy. While leaving the crash site, a group of Rangers and Delta Force operators realized that there was no room left in the vehicles for them and were forced to walk out of the city on foot to a rendezvous point on National Street. This has been commonly referred to as the "Mogadishu Mile". U.S. forces suffered one casualty during the mile, Sergeant Randal J. Ramaglia, after he was hit by a bullet in the back, and successfully evacuated.

In all, 18 U.S. soldiers were killed in action during the battle and another 73 were wounded in action. After the battle, the bodies of several U.S. casualties of the conflict (crewmembers of the Black Hawk "Super 6-4" and their protectors, Delta Force soldiers SFC Shughart and MSG Gordon) were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu by crowds of local civilians and SNA forces. The Malaysian forces lost one soldier and had seven injured, while the Pakistanis suffered two injured. Casualties on the Somali side were heavy, with estimates on fatalities ranging from 315 to over 2,000 combatants. The Somali casualties were a mixture of militiamen and local civilians. Somali civilians suffered heavy casualties due to the dense urban character of that portion of Mogadishu. Two days later, a mortar round fell on the U.S. compound, killing one U.S. soldier, SFC Matt Rierson, and injuring another twelve. A-team on special mission to Durant's downed Blackhawk helicopter had 2 wounded, Boxerman and James on October 6.

Two weeks after the Battle of Mogadishu, General Garrison officially accepted responsibility. In a handwritten letter to President Clinton, Garrison took full responsibility for the outcome of the battle. He wrote that Task Force Ranger had adequate intelligence for the mission and that their objective (capturing targets from the Olympic Hotel) was met.

Order of Battle


Units involved in the battle: Task Force Ranger, including : C Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D) aka "Delta Force" Bravo Company, 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (The Night Stalkers) with MH-6J and AH-6 "Little Birds" and MH-60 A/L Black Hawks Combat Controllers and Pararescuemen from the USAF 24th Special Tactics Squadron Naval Special Warfare Development Group (Five Navy SEAL operators) CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln & Carrier Air Wing 11 Task Force-10th Mountain Division, including: 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 1st platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment 15th FF Battalion, of the Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army 19 Lancers of the Pakistan Army Included with the TF was the 977 MP Co. United Nations Forces 19th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment of the Malaysian Army 11th Regiment, Grup Gerak Khas (few GGK operators during rescue the Super 6-1 crews) 10th Battalion Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan Army, (less two companies who were held in reserve)

Somali Militias

The size and organizational structure of Somali forces are not known in detail. In all, between 2,000-4,000 regular militia members are believed to have participated, almost all of which belonged to Aidid's Somali National Alliance, drawing largely from the Habar Gedir clan. Ever since July 12, 1993, Habar Gedir had been at war with America.

The Somali National Alliance (SNA) was formed 14 August 1992. It began as the United Somali Congress under the lead of General Mohamad Farah Aidid. At the time of Operation Gothic Serpent, the SNA was composed of Col. Omar Gess' Somali Patriotic Movement, the Somali Democratic Movement, the combined Digil and Mirifleh clans, the Habr Gedir of the United Somali Congress headed by General Aidid, and the newly established Southern Somali National Movement. After formation, the SNA immediately staged an assault against the militia of the Hawadle Hawiye clan, who controlled the Mogadishu port area. As a result, the Hawadle Hawiye were pushed out of the area, and Aidid's forces took control.


Known casualties

Body recovery

Following the battle, the bodies of American soldiers were dragged through the streets and maimed. Through negotiation and threats to the Habr Gidr clan leaders by ambassador Robert B. Oakley, all bodies were eventually recovered. The bodies were returned in horrible condition, one with a severed head. Michael Durant was released after 11 days of captivity. On the beach near the base, a memorial was held for those who were killed in combat.


PFC Mat Aznan Awang, driver of a Malaysian Condor armoured personnel carrier, was killed when his vehicle was hit by an RPG on October 3. He was posthumously promoted to corporal, and awarded the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa medal.


A Pakistani soldier was killed and two Pakistanis were wounded.


Ambassador Robert B. Oakley, the U.S. special representative to Somalia, is quoted as saying: "My own personal estimate is that there must have been 1,500 to 2,000 Somalis killed and wounded that day, because that battle was a true battle. And the Americans and those who came to their rescue, were being shot at from all sides ... a deliberate war battle, if you will, on the part of the Somalis. And women and children were being used as shields and some cases women and children were actually firing weapons, and were coming from all sides. Sort of a rabbit warren of huts, houses, alleys, and twisting and turning streets, so those who were trying to defend themselves were shooting back in all directions. Helicopter gun ships were being used as well as all sorts of automatic weapons on the ground by the U.S. and the United Nations. The Somalis, by and large, were using automatic rifles and grenade launchers and it was a very nasty fight, as intense as almost any battle you would find."

However, Aidid himself claimed that only 315 - civilians and militia - were killed and 812 wounded. Captain Haad, in an interview on American public television, said 133 of the SNA militia were killed.

Miliaty Fallout

In a national security policy review session held in the White House on October 6, 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton directed the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral David E. Jeremiah, to stop all actions by U.S. forces against Aidid except those required in self-defense. He reappointed Ambassador Robert B. Oakley as special envoy to Somalia in an attempt to broker a peace settlement and then announced that all U.S. Forces would withdraw from Somalia no later than March 31, 1994. On December 15, 1993, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin stepped down, taking much of the blame for his decision to refuse requests for tanks and armored vehicles in support of the mission. A few hundred Marines remained offshore to assist with any noncombatant evacuation mission that might occur regarding the 1,000-plus U.S. civilians and military advisers remaining as part of the U.S. liaison mission.

The Ready Battalion of the 24th Infantry Division, 1-64 Armor, was sent from Fort Stewart, Georgia, to Mogadishu in the wake of this battle to secure the city and prevent a recurrence of hostilities. On December 16, 1993 Joint Task Force United Shield was approved by Clinton and launched on January 14, 1994. On February 7, 1994 the Fleet arrived and began the withdrawal of UNOSOM-II's forces. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 897, which redeployed military assets to cover the withdrawal of UN troops from Somalia. On March 6, 1994 all of the remaining U.N. troops were withdrawn, ending UNOSOM-II. On April 24, 1994, Boutros-Ghali admitted defeat and declared the UN Mission was over.

Policy changes and political implications

The mission in Somalia was seen by many as a failure. The Clinton administration in particular endured considerable criticism for the outcome of the operation. The main elements of the criticism surround the administration's decision to leave the region before completing the humanitarian and security objectives of the operation, as well as the perceived failure to recognize the threat Al-Qaida elements posed in the region as well as threat against United States security interests at home. Critics claim that Osama bin Laden and other members of Al-Qaida provided support and training to Mohammed Farrah Aidid forces. Osama bin Laden even denigrated the administration's decision to prematurely depart the region stating that it displayed "the weakness, feebleness and cowardliness of the US soldier".

The loss of American military personnel during the Black Hawk Down operation evoked public outcry. Television images of American soldiers being dragged through the streets by Somalis were too graphic for the American public to endure. The Clinton Administration responded by scaling down US humanitarian efforts in the region.

On September 26, 2006, in an interview on Fox News with Chris Wallace, former President Bill Clinton gave his version of events surrounding the mission in Somalia. Clinton defended his exit strategy for US forces and denied that the departure was premature. He said conservative Republicans had pushed him to leave the region before the objectives of the operation could be achieved: "...[Conservative Republicans] were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in 'Black Hawk down,' and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations."

Clinton's remarks would suggest the United States was not deterred from pursuing their humanitarian goals because of the loss of US forces during Black Hawk Down. In the same interview, President Clinton stated unequivocally that Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaida had absolutely nothing to do with the events of Black Hawk Down. He said the mission in Somalia was only about Mohammed Farrah Aidid and any claim to the contrary was "bull".

Links with Al-Qaeda

There have been allegations that Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda movement was involved in training and funding of Aidid's men. In his 2001 book, Holy War, Inc., CNN reporter Peter Bergen interviewed bin Laden who affirmed these allegations. According to Bergen, bin Laden asserted that fighters affiliated with his group were involved in killing American troops in Somalia in 1993, a claim he had earlier made to the Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. The Al-Qaeda fighters in Somalia are rumored to have included the organization's military chief, Mohammed Atef, later killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Four and a half years after the Battle of Mogadishu, in an interview in May 1998, bin Laden disparaged the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Somalia. He denied having orchestrated the attack on the US soldiers in Mogadishu but expressed delight at their deaths in battle against Somali fighters.

Published Accounts

In 1999, writer Mark Bowden published the book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, which chronicles the events that surrounded the battle. The book was based on his series of columns for The Philadelphia Inquirer about the battle and the men who fought.

Blackhawk Pilot Mike Durant told his story of being shot down and captured by a mob of Somalis in his 2003 book In the Company of Heroes.

In 2005, Staff Sergeant Matthew Eversmann, US Army Ranger, leader of Chalk 4 during the battle, compiled several different accounts into a book called The Battle of Mogadishu.

Howard Wasdin's SEAL Team Six (2011) includes a 90 page section about his time in Mogadishu including the Pasha CIA Safe House and multiple operations including the Battle of Mogadishu where he was severely wounded.


Bowden's book was adapted into the 2001 film Black Hawk Down, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Ridley Scott. Like the book, the film describes events surrounding the operation, but there are differences between the book and the movie, such as Rangers marking targets at night by throwing strobe lights at them, when in reality the Rangers marked their own positions and close air support targeted everything else.