Fall of Barre government (1986–91)
In May 1986, Barre suffered serious injuries in an automobile accident near Mogadishu, when the car that was transporting him smashed into the back of a bus during a heavy rainstorm. He was treated in a hospital in Saudi Arabia for head injuries, broken ribs and shock over a period of a month. Lieutenant General Mohamed Ali Samatar, then Vice President, subsequently served as de facto head of state for the next several months. Although Barre managed to recover enough to present himself as the sole presidential candidate for re-election over a term of seven years on December 23, 1986, his poor health and advanced age led to speculation about who would succeed him in power. Possible contenders included his son-in-law General Ahmed Suleiman Abdille, who was at the time the Minister of the Interior, in addition to Samatar.
In an effort to hold on to power, Barre's ruling Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) became increasingly totalitarian and arbitrary. This caused opposition to his government to grow. Barre in turn tried to quell the unrest by abandoning appeals to nationalism, relying more and more on his own inner circle, and exploiting historical clan animosities. By the mid-1980s, more resistance movements supported by Ethiopia's communist Derg administration had sprung up across the country. Barre responded by ordering punitive measures against those he perceived as locally supporting the guerrillas, especially in the northern regions. The clampdown included bombing of cities, with the northwestern administrative center of Hargeisa, a Somali National Movement (SNM) stronghold, among the targeted areas in 1988.
In 1990, as fighting intensified, Somalia's first President Aden Abdullah Osman Daar and about 100 other Somali politicians signed a manifesto advocating reconciliation. A number of the signatories were subsequently arrested. Barre's heavy-handed tactics further strengthened the appeal of the various rebel movements, although these groups' only common goal was the overthrow of his government. It also played a major role in developing piracy in Somalia.