The UN operation in Somalia (Unosom) was set up to monitor a ceasefire in Mogadishu, and facilitate humanitarian aid to people trapped by civil war and famine. At first, 50 unarmed observers were sent to Somalia to monitor the ceasefire. They were followed with 3,500 troops to protect UN personnel and aid convoys.
But Somali warlords had little respect for the blue helmets of the UN. They shelled Unosom forces, detained staff, hijacked vehicles, and looted convoys and warehouses. As the situation deteriorated, the Security Council accepted a US offer to lead "Operation Restore Hope", which was authorised to "use all necessary means" to create a secure environment. Another 28,000 military and police personnel arrived, but the violence continued and casualties mounted.
When the bodies of dead US soldiers were paraded through the streets of Mogadishu and a US helicopter was shot down, Washington decided to withdraw its troops. A year later, in 1995, the UN also withdrew, confessing failure.