Dahir Aweys was part of AIAI leadership which took over large parts of Somalia immediately following the collapse of the Somali Central Government. From 1991 to 1998, AIAI's Gedo Region branch led by former Somali High Court Judge Mohamed Haji Yusuf maintained formidable forces. Gedo district seats of Lugh, Balad Hawo and Burdubo were all run by IAIA forces. Lugh was entirely governed by AIAI. At the time, there were other regional military authority Somali National Front (SNF) running parts of Gedo. Dahir Aweys settled in Lower Shabelle when some disputes came of light in Lugh's Al-Itahad leadership.
On 18 September 1996, the Ethiopian army invaded Lugh and forced out most of the AIAI forces. The following two years, the war front changed into what was later to become the Mountains War of Gedo. And the war this time was between SNF and AIAI. The Ethiopian regime just armed SNF militias. Ethiopians gave SNF an estimated 800 to 1000 small arms and around a dozen heavy weapons. The Gedo war ended when both sides agreed on a truce, and general peace with a peace conference held in El Ade on December 1998 was concluded.
AIAI was destroyed later in the 1990s by a force led by Abdullahi Yusuf and funded by Ethiopia.