Abdirashid Ali Shermarke

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Abdirashid Ali Shermarke
عبد الرشيد علي شارماركي
File:Abdirashid Ali Shermarke1.jpg
2nd President of Somalia
In office
June 10, 1967[1] – October 15, 1969[1]
Prime Minister Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal
Preceded by Aden Abdullah Osman Daar
Succeeded by Sheikh Mukhtar Mohamed Hussein
3rd Prime Minister of Somalia
In office
12 July 1960 – 14 June 1964
Preceded by Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal
Succeeded by Abdirizak Haji Hussein
Personal details
Born (1919-10-16)October 16, 1919[2]
Harardhere, Mudug
Died October 15, 1969(1969-10-15) (aged 49)[3]
Las Anod, Somalia
Nationality Somali
Political party Somali Youth League (SYL)
Alma mater Sapienza University of Rome
Religion Islam

Abdirashid Ali Shermarke (Somali: Cabdirashiid Cali Sharmaarke, Arabic: عبد الرشيد علي شارماركي‎‎) (October 16, 1919[2][4][5] – October 15, 1969) was Prime Minister of Somalia from July 12, 1960 to June 14, 1964, and President of Somalia from June 10, 1967 until his assassination on October 15, 1969.[1] He was the father of Somali Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke.

Early years

Shermarke was born in 1919 in the town of Harardhere in the north-central Mudug region of Somalia.[2][6] His family hailed from the Majeerteen clan.[7]

Raised in Mogadishu, Shermarke attended Qur'anic schools and completed his elementary education in 1936. He then embarked on a career as a trader and later as a civil servant in the Italian colonial administration.

In 1943, the year of its inauguration, Shermarke joined the incipient Somali Youth League political party. He entered the British administration's civil service the following year.

While still a civil servant, Shermarke completed his secondary education in 1953. He earned a scholarship to study at the Sapienza University of Rome, where he obtained a Ph.D. in Political Science.[8] In 1960, his son, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, who would later become Prime Minister of the Somali Transitional Federal Government, was born.

Political career

After returning from his studies abroad in Italy in 1959, Shermarke was elected to the Legislative Assembly.

When Somalia gained its independence on July 1, 1960, he was appointed by then-incumbent President Aden Abdullah Osman Daar as Prime Minister. Shermarke's duties as Prime Minister saw him travel abroad extensively in pursuit of a non-aligned and neutral foreign policy. He remained Prime Minister until March 1964, when the first general elections were held and which saw him re-elected as a member of Parliament.

In the 1967 presidential elections, Shermarke beat out Daar to become the second President of Somalia. He was sworn into office on June 10, 1967.


In 1968, Shermarke narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. A grenade exploded near the car that was transporting him back from the airport, but failed to kill him.[3]

On October 15, 1969, while paying an official visit to the northern town of Las Anod, Shermarke was shot dead by one of his own bodyguards.[3][9] On duty outside the guest-house where the president was staying, the officer fired an automatic rifle at close range, instantly killing Shermarke. Observers suggested that the assassination was inspired by personal rather than political motives.[3]

Shermarke's assassination was quickly followed by a military coup d'état on October 21, 1969 (the day after his funeral), in which the Somali Army seized power without encountering armed opposition — essentially a bloodless takeover. The putsch was spearheaded by Major General Muhammad Siad Barre, who at the time commanded the army.[9]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Somalia - Worldstatesmen.com
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Rulers.org profile - Abdirashid Ali Shermarke
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Colin Legum, John Drysdale, Africa contemporary record: annual survey and documents, Volume 2, (Africa Research Limited., 1970), p.B-174.
  4. Encyclopaedia Hispano-Americana, supplement 1969-1970, p.289.]
  5. Arab Observer, Issues 185-197, (University of California: 1964), p.32.
  6. In commemoration of the late Somali President Abdirashid Ali sharmarke
  7. Samatar, Said (1991). Somalia. MRG. p. 17. Retrieved 10 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Europa Publications Limited, p.970.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Moshe Y. Sachs, Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations, Volume 2, (Worldmark Press: 1988), p.290.


Political offices
Preceded by
Aden Abdullah Osman Daar
President of Somalia
Succeeded by
Sheikh Mukhtar Mohamed Hussein
Preceded by
Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal
Prime Minister of Somalia
Succeeded by
Abdirizak Haji Hussein