Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yuusuf Indhacade oo ka hadlay hubkii Shabaab ka heshay Siinka dheer

Yuusuf Indhacade oo ka hadlay hubkii Shabaab ka heshay Siinka dheer

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Yuusuf Maxamed Siyaad (Yuusuf Indhacadde) ayaa maanta markii ugu horaysay waxa uu ka hadlay hub la sheegay inay shabaabku dhowaan ka heleen misna kala baxeen guri ku yaallay deegaanka Siinka dheer ee dhaca wadada isku xirta magaalada Muqdisho iyo degmada Afgooye ee gobolka Shabeelaha hoose.
Hubkani oo ahaa sida uu sheegay Afhayeenka howlgalada Al-Shabaab Cabdilcasiis Abuu Mascab hub ay helaan kii ugu badnaa abid ayaa lahaanshihiisa waxa uu dhaliyay muran xoog leh oo dhex mara dhinacyada mar uu soo hadal qaaday hubka la helay Xasan Daahir Awees ayaa ku sheegay inay hubkan leeyihiin beelo Islaam ah waa sida uu hadalka u dhigaye halka ay dad badan oo weliba ay ku jiraan qaar xogogaal ahina ay tibaaxayaan in hubkani uu lahaaYuusuf Maxamed Siyaad (Yuusuf Indhacadde) uuna halkaasi ku qarsaday xili uu ahaa gudoomiyaha Xisbul Islaam garab ka mid ah oo markii danbana ku biiray dowlada Labada Shariif halka warar kalena ay tibaaxayaan in hubkani ay lahaayeen rag ka tirsan beesha Cayr oo iyagu ku midaysnaa magaca Xisbul Islaam.
Dhanka kale Yuusuf Maxamed Siyaad (Yuusuf Indhacadde) oo hadlay dhankiisa ayaa waxa uu sheegay in hubkii dhowaan laga helay guri ku yaalla deegaanka Siinka dheer aanay lahayn ururkii Xisbul Islaam oo uu kamid ahaan jiray.
Balse waxa uu tilmaamay in hubkaasi ay lahaayeen rag katirsan Al Shabaab oo meesha ku qarsaday waxaana uu tilmaamay in xaq darradii ay shabaab galeen hadda dhexdooda kasoo baxday sida uu hadalka u dhigayYuusuf Maxamed Siyaad (Yuusuf Indhacadde) .
Si kastoo loo dhigaba waxaan shaki ku jirin in hubkaasi lahaanshihiisa aanu ka fogayn Beesha Cayr oo iyadu gobolka Shabeelaha hoose xoog ku haysatay in mudo ah inta ayan Shabaab gebi ahaanba kala wareegin gobolka.

Australia's Jacka farms into Somaliland oil block

Australia's Jacka farms into Somaliland oil block

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

HARGEISA (Reuters) - Australian oil explorer Jacka Resources has entered into an agreement with Petrosoma Limited to take a 50 percent equity stake in an oil block in a breakaway enclave of Somalia, Jacka said on Monday.
It said the 22,000 square kilometre Habra Garhajis block -formerly known as block 26 - in southwestern Somaliland was expected to be similar in geology to basins in Yemen and Uganda where billions of barrels of oil reserves have been discovered.
Somaliland declared independence in 1991 and has enjoyed relative stability compared to the rest of lawless Somalia, which has been mired in conflict for two decades. However, although it has held a series of peaceful general elections, it remains unrecognised internationally.
"Jacka's management have held the belief for a long time that Somaliland holds great potential," Jacka's Chairman Scott Spencer said in a statement.
Under the terms of the agreement, Jacka will be the operator, the company said in a statement. The Habra Garhajis block comprises the whole of concession SL6 and parts of SL7 and 10.
Jacka will conduct a gravity survey and a minimum 500 kms of 2D seismic tests, it said.
In November, Somaliland's government said London-listed company Ophir Energy, Asante Oil and Prime Resources had signed deals under which they would have 18 months to explore, conduct seismic tests and identify wells.
Only 21 wells have been drilled in Somaliland, making it under explored even by the frontier standards of the region, where the oil and gas industries are in their infancy.
Kenya announced last week its first ever oil strike, although more drilling is needed to assess commercial viability. (Reporting by Mark Anderson; Editing by Richard Lough).
Source: Reuters

The Rise of Axmed Ibrahim Garaad

The Rise of Axmed Ibrahim Garaad

Iimaam Axmed Ibrahim Garaad is nowadays known by many names.   In the Fatuux al-Xabasha he is given the laqab of al-Ghaazi or The Conqueror, an appropriate laqab for a book that is literally about his conquest of much of Ethiopia.  The Christians of the Ethiopian highlands give him the epithet Gran or Left-Handed, which is a translation of his Somali naaneys of Gureey.

Axmed was born the second son of the Garaad Ibrahim, Garaad of Hubat, a small principality that was part of the Sultanate of Adal  (see the abtirsi of Garaad Ibrahim).  His cousin Abuun Cadaadshe (see abtirsi) was Garaad of Karanle, and was briefly Sultan of Adal.

Axmed lived in a time of great uncertainty.   The king of Adal, Suldaan Maxamed Caashar (see abtirsi), desired to live in peace after nearly a century of devastating warfare with Abyssinia, but Amir Maxfuuz of Harar was determined to make war with Abyssinia and constantly sent his soldiers to recapture territories lost to the Abyssinian kings.  This led to war in 1516 between Adal and Abyssinia and Neegusaa Naagaast ’Aanbaasa Saagaad Dawit  (Leebnaa Deengeel) invaded and destroyed the armies of Amir Maxfuuz and Suldaan Maxamed.  Amir Maxfuuz fought a suicidal rearguard action allowing the Suldaan to escape back to Adal.  Portuguese warships attacked and savaged the virtually undefended town of Zeila.

The devastating loss had great political implications, as the Suldaan was murdered soon afterwards, and Adal descended into civil war.  Three men claimed the throne; Amir Maxamed Abuubakar Maxfuuz (the grandson of Amir Maxfuuz and Amir of Harar), Garaad Abuun Cadaadshe, the Garaad of Karanle, and the “rightful” heir of Suldaan Maxamed Cashar, Abuubakar Suldaan Maxamed.

The first to seize the throne was Maxamed Abuubakar Maxfuuz, but he was defeated and killed by Garaad Abuun Cadaadshe, who then seized the throne for himself.  Garaad Abuun Cadaadshe was himself defeated and killed by Abuubakar Suldaan Maxamed.  The vengeful then-Iimaam Axmed Ibrahim avenged his cousin’s death and killed Abuubakar, but instead of continuing the cycle he decided instead to put Abuubakar’s brother Cumardiin Maxamed on the throne as puppet king.  Iimaam Axmed Ibrahim was already married to Bati del-Wambara Maxfuuz, the daughter of the former Amir of Harar, so Iimaam Axmed Ibrahim managed to bring peace to the nation by uniting all three warring factions together under his leadership

When Himyar Ruled the Banaadir

When Himyar Ruled the Banaadir

Muqdisho is a very old city, older than most people even realize.  The first dynasty to rule Muqdisho was the Tubba’ dynasty of the Himyar kingdom, with the king “Ascad Karb“.  Ascad Karb is most likely As’ad Abu-Karib ibn Malik-karib, a king of Yemen who ruled between 418 and 433 CE and a convert to Judaism by Yathrib’s Jewish community following a military campaign there, this dates the foundation of the old town of Xamar Weyne to roughly 420-430 CE.

The area of Banaadir (the traditional region including Muqdisho, Baraawe, Marka and other coastal cities) is described in the Greek document the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (written around the year 460 CE) as part of “Azania“, a region subject to Charibael of the Homerites (who can be identified with ‘Amir Sharahbil Ya’fir ibn As’ad Abu Karib, the son of the aforementioned king), so the Muqdisho tradition is backed up with documentary evidence.  Sharahbil was a Christian, as was his branch of the Tubba’ family, and the religious differences in the country of Himyar would seal the doom of the nation.

Himyar was in this time the strongest state in Arabia, and they would remain a strong state for nearly a century, but on the death of ‘Amir Sharahbil’s son Ma’adi’Karib Yan’um ibn Sharahbil in 516, Himyar faced religious turmoil as Christians and Jews fought murderous battles.  A Jewish zealot and member of the Tubba’ dynasty named Yusuf Asar Yathar (better known as Dhu Nuways) seized the throne in 518 attacked and butchered the Christians of Najran (the martyrs of Najran are mentioned in the Qu’ran in Surat al-Buruj).  The slaughter shocked the Christian nations of the time, and the Christian Emperor of Aksum, Negusa Negast Kaleb Ella Atzbeha invaded Himyar in 522 and conquered their lands in Yemen in 525.  Other lands under the Tubba’ dynasty were not conquered and fought a long resistance against the kingdom of Aksum.

One member of the Tubba’ dynasty, Sharah’il Ya’abul (known as “Dhu Yazan“) petitioned the king of the Sassanid dynasty of Iran to help him drive the Aksumites from Yemen, and Shahenshah Khosrau was only too happy to oblige.  An Iranian army under General Vahriz invaded Yemen in 577 and were victorious, but the Himyarites were only successful in replacing one occupier with another, as the Sassanids ruled in all but name.    His son Sayf Abu Murrah ibn Dhu Yazan would succeed him in 587 but he was murdered by the Sassanids in 608 and Yemen was annexed into the Sassanid Empire.

It is possible that a branch of the Tubba’ dynasty then established itself in Muqdisho.  There are mentions of Shingani being founded by a “Shingan ibn Hami ibn Ma’adi-Karib”, who could have been either the aforementioned Ma’adi-Karib or another Ma’adi-Karib who was another son of Sharahbil.

Islam arrived in Muqdisho shortly after the Hijra, and became a city within the Ummayad Caliphate 77 years after the Hijra or 696 CE, thus definitively bringing to a close the Himyar Era.


JIDWAAQ absame
by Garaad salah on Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:05 pm
Jidwaaq Absame
1 Barre (Bartire)
2 Roobe ( Abasguul)
3 Shahrudin (Yabare)
1 Quwaaxde
2 Tiimocase
3 Tuurcase
1Yacquub Quwaaxde
2 Wadi Quwaaxde
3.Yusuf Quwaxde
1 Sacaad Yacqub
2 Laagmadoobe Yacqub
3 Laagcase Yacqub
4 Yonis Yacqub
Habar sacad
1 Samatar Sacaad
2 Hassan Sacaad
3 Ahmed Sacaad
4 Adan sacaad
Samaatar Sacaad
1 Adan Sacad
2 Ahmed Sacad
3 Ibrahimsacaad
Adan Sacaad
1 Ahmed Adan
2 Ali Adan
3 Hirsi Adan
Ahmed Adan
1 MOhamud AHMED
1 Guleed MOhamud
2 Omar MOhamud
3 Hirsi Mohamud
Garaad Guled Mohamud
1 Garaad Abdulle Guled
2 Hussein Garaad Guleed
3 Noor Garaad Guleed
4 Yusuf GaraadGuleed
5 Ahmed Garaad Guleed
Garaad Abdulle Garaad Guleed
1 Garaad MOhamed Garaad Abdulle
2 Amiin Garaad Abdulle
3 Diini Garaad Abdulle
4 Ibrahim Garaad Abdulle
5 Hassan Garaad Abdulle
Garaad Mohamed Garaad Abdulle
1 Garaad Ali Garaad MOhamed Garad Abdulle
2 Abdi Garaad Mohamed Garad Abdulle
3 Hussein Garaad MOhamed Garaad Abdulle
4 Omar Garaad Mohamed Garaad Abdulle
5 Mohamud Garad MOhamed Garad Abdulle
Garaad Ali Garad MOhamed Garaad Abdulle
1 Garaad Mohamud Garaad Ali Garaad MOhamed
1 Garaad Cilmi Garaad Mohamud
2 Hassan Garaad MOhamud
3 Caalin Garaad Mohamud
4 Faraah Garaad MOhamud
5 Omar Garaad MOhamud
6 Noor Garad MOhamud
7 Ibrahim Garad Mohamud
8 Hussein Garaad Mohamed
Garaad Cilmi Garaad Mohamud
1 Garaad Hussein Garaad Cilmi
2 Hassan Garaad Cilmi
3 Ahmed Garaad Cilmi
4 Farah Garaad Cilmi
5 Rooble Garaad Cilmi
6 Xuble Garaad Cilmi
7 Adan Garaad Cilmi
8 samaan Garaad Cilmi
Garaad Hussein Garaad Cilmi Garaad Mohamud
1 Garaad Ahmed Garaad Hussein
2 Adaan Garaad Hussein
3 Abdullahi Garaad Hussein
4 Ali Garaad Hussein
5 Abdi Garaad Hussein
6 Bulle Garaad Hussein
7 Noor Garaad Hussein
 Garaad Ahmed Garaad Hussein
1 Garaad salah Garaad Ahmed Garaad Hussein
2 Abdi Garaad Ahmed Garaad Hussein
3 Idris Garaad Ahmed Garad Hussein
4 Ali Garaad Ahmed Garad Hussein
5 Omar Garaad Ahmed Garaad Hussein
6 Noor Garaad Ahmed Garaad Hussein
Garaad salah Posts: 1Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:19 pm

My sources give the descendants of Telemoge as:
Telemoge - Sinwaaq - Cabudwaaq - Sinwaaq - Aw Mahadle - Cabdiqariim - Yaxye - Nagaaye
The database gives the following lists (number of entry in brackets):
Talamuge (417) - Cabdi - Sunwaaq - Siin Waaq - Cabudwaaq (422) - Siin Waaq - Aw Mahadle - Cadbikariin - Yaxye (426) - Nagaaye
Tolomoge (3653) - Cabudwaaq (3672) - Yaxye (3679)

Here is the Telemoge family tree according to documents I found in the Kenya National Archives (approximately 1930-1950). The names were given in English spelling, those that I could recognize I changed into Somali spelling, the others I left. You might generally have to double-check the spelling.
1. Telemoge
1.1. Samwodel
1.1.1. Ibrahim Cabdalla
1.1.2. Maxamed
1.2. Sinwaaq
1.2.1. Cabudwaaq Sinwaaq Aw Mahadle Isaaq Haruun Samatar Cali Cabdi Guleed Ways Koshin Maxamed Yaquub Ibrahim Muusa Cabdi Qariim Yaxye Mahad Jala Nagaaye Qasim Adan Cali Maxamed Gadid Suleyman Ibrahim Mahad
1.2.2. Samajali Cabdalla Samatar Yussuf Ochur

Here is what the Kenya National Archives give as the Awlyahan Bahaale Genealogy. I don't quite know how it fits in with what you have in your database (and which is more accurate). But maybe you will figure out how to incorporate a few of the names and connections. The spellings, again, are "pre-Somali-script" and quite inaccurate.
1. Awlyahan
1.1. Tur Adi
1.1.1. Hawis
1.1.2. Songat
1.1.3. Aboukir
1.2. Jibrail
1.2.1. Aboukir Ali Afwa Khassim
1.2.2. Mumin Hassan Wafatta Aden Kheir Afgab

For Maqaabul Barwaaq Tegelwaaq Ogaadeen I have found two genealogies in the Kenyan Archives. They match for the most part, but there are a few differences that I can't fit together. The first one is nice and short:
1. Sacad
1.1. Hassan
1.2. Ibrahim
2. Makahiil
2.1. Mohamed (Habr Eli)
2.1.1. Gumcadle
2.1.2. Garwayn
2.2. Mohamed
2.2.1. Ibrahim
2.3. Yussuf
2.3.1. Samatalis
The second one is quite elaborate:
1. Sacad
1.1. Hassan
1.1.1. Indagud
1.1.2. Yussuf
1.1.3. Abdallah
1.1.4. Ugad
1.2. Ibrahim
1.2.1. Abdiraxman Yussuf Ahmed Ali Hussein Tibril
1.2.2. Deiryere
2. Hatti Abdiraxman (Makahiil)
2.1. Muhammed
2.1.1. Hussein Mohamed Ismail Yunis Ismail Adan Abuker Dukit Muusa Abukir Qaasim Abukir Muhammed Muusa Talharer Cusman Suliman Qaasim Harun
2.2. Muhammed
2.2.1. Ibrahim Eli Abdallah Wasrmogi Mohamed Sarmani Makahiil Negeyah Yunis Kuul Ismail (Afweyne) Adan Ibrahim Muusa Hussein Omar Hussein Omar Hassan Abdallah Edidera Waksemeya Beyd
2.3. Yussuf
2.3.1. Muhammed Tamar Samatar Khayr Koshin
2.3.2. Maxad Roob
2.4. Hassan
2.4.1. Sacad Nuukh Adan Zamani Hassan Ubaxleh Mohammed Muusa
1.4.2. Abuker
Jilo Posts: 11Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:30 amLocation: Nairobi, Kenya


Through Unknown African Countries: the First Expedition from Somaliland to Lake Rudolf

Through Unknown African Countries: the First Expedition from Somaliland to Lake Rudolf


  • A. Donaldson Smith was an American medical doctor and amateur big-game hunter who, in 1894-95, undertook an 18-month expedition from Berbera, Somalia (then British Somaliland) to Lake Turkana (then Lake Rudolf) in Kenya. He explored the headwaters of the Shabeelle River in Ethiopia and, on his return journey, descended the Tana River to the Kenyan coast. This book is his account of the expedition. Its appendices contain detailed descriptions and illustrations of the fishes, spiders and scorpions, moths, geological specimens, fossils, plants, and ethnographic objects collected on the expedition. Also included are maps of the expedition’s route, glossaries of words collected from several African tribes, and his correspondence with Emperor Menelek, from whom he sought permission to travel through southern Ethiopia. Lake Turkana National Park in Kenya is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Message from President Hassan Gouled Aptidon to the Nation on the Occasion of May 8th, 1977: Peace-Unity-Fraternity

Title: Message from President Hassan Gouled Aptidon to the Nation on the Occasion of May 8th, 1977: Peace-Unity-Fraternity

This booklet, published in Paris in March 1977, contains text excerpted from a declaration, signed by Hassan Gouled Aptidon (1916-2006), president of Djibouti’s leading political movement, the Ligue populaire africaine pour l'Ind├ępendance (Popular African League for Independence). The declaration was aimed at the people of Djibouti on the eve of the historic referendum for independence from France, which took place in May 1977. Hassan Gouled Aptidon was one of Djibouti’s chief negotiators for independence during roundtable talks in Paris in 1977. He became the country’s first president, a position that he held until his retirement in 1999. The Republic of Djibouti is the former French Somaliland, which in 1967 became the French Territory of the Afars and Issas. It is located in the Horn of Africa, and is bordered by Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

The Royal Bimaal Sultanat of Merca

The Biimaal ( Gaadsan, Ismiin, Da’ud and Sa’ad) are a Somali ethnic group of about 1 million people who live mainly in the province of lower Shabelle, lower Jubba, Bakool and Gedo, large numbers also live in Kenya and Ethiopia. Their language, is Somalia, is a Hamatic language; more specifically, similar to the Arabic. The Biimaal Kingdom played a major role in Somali History during the 18th and 19th centuries. Under Italian colony, Biimaal people opposed against the invaders and severely fought against Italian troops. During that time thousands Biimalis lost their life to stop invaders to touch our soil. Today, they are the most numerous ethnic group in Somalia, settling the most populated area from Mogadishu to kismayo and as mentioned above in Gedo and Bakool region. However, they are not armed, not even ready to involve in this civil war. Origins The Biimaal were originally a major clan in what is today lower Shabelle, lower Jubba, Bakool and Gedo, founded. 1400-1900 Biimaal kingdoms were having a good trading with Arabs particularly Omanian and Yemenis. In the interpretation of Biimaal name is means Bin malik, which other cajami people named him Biimaal. Some people assume that the meaning of the name is water user, which is not close to the fact because Biimal has other Arabic name as I mentioned above. At that time, the land of Biimaal was occupied by many other tribes and clans during the civil war. Daarood tribes had migrated down Jubbaland in early time when they fled from the droughts in their lands and settled Biimalis lands and because the previous Darood president they planted their roots in biimalis land. Habargidir of Hawiye subclan also decided to claim lower shabelle, trying to settling every small village, but the complication faced them was that if three hundred thousands people how you can displace two million people. That mission has failed In 1900-1907, the Italian leaders tried many times to negotiate a land deal with Bimal king. In 1905 about 2000 Bimalis and 1000 Italian soldiers were killed when they attempted to destroy these obstacles against Italian interests which caused many Italian lives before. Though many biimalis armies got killed they still dominated to protect Somali shore. After a long bloody battle, the Italian leader sleeked alliance with other Somali tribes which finally destroyed Bimalis forces.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Information on Somalia

UN Entities
United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS):

UNPOS was established on 15 April 1995 to advance the cause of peace and reconciliation through

contacts with Somali leaders, civic organizations and the States and organizations concerned.

Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009)

concerning Somalia and Eritrea:

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

ReliefWeb (OCHA) - Somalia:

Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) - Somalia:

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - Somalia:

Independent Expert appointed by the Secretary-General on the situation of

human rights in Somalia

Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and

Armed Conflict – Developments in Somalia

International Maritime Organization (IMO) - Piracy and armed robbery against

ships: :

UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Somalia:

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – Somalia:

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) - Somalia:

UN Office on Drugs and Crime - UNODC and piracy:

World Food Programme (WFP) – Somalia:

World Bank – Somalia:

UN Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) – Somalia Maps:

Security Council Meetings on Somalia

2012: 5 March, 22 February, 11 January

Meeting records, press releases and resolutions:

2011: 13 December , 22 November, 31 and 24 October, 30 and 14 September, 10

August, 29 July, 24 and 21 June, 11 May, 11 April, 17 and 10 March, 25 and 14 January

Meeting records, press releases and resolutions:

Earlier years:

Saturday, April 21, 2012




The History of the Gurgura People


Tribe is a general term used in various controversial ways. It can best be defined for the purpose of this brief analysis, in a general sense as a traditional political entity that organizes fragmented nomadic (pastoral) and sedentary (agricultural and urban) populations into large-scale alliances. Gurgura solidarity remained relatively durable (not as strong as the Issa, though) in contrast to the solidarity (tribal bonding), which was formed latter on, in larger scale alliances. What are the social ingredients that serve as the basis for a tribal solidarity? The family and kinship played an important role for a genuine sentiment of group feeling within the smaller branches of a tribal solidarity, such as the extended families or a coalition of related families. However, the basis for solidarity within a larger unit such as the Gurgura consists of the following unifying features, which include generally accepted popular figures, such as a hero, a wise or generous person, a religious leader or an ancestor. Any symbolic or historical attributes that have an effect of binding the group together such as the myth of a common remote ancestor are considered the basis of a tribal solidarity or confederation, and are thus, expressed in the name of a tribe. Tribe is, in this sense, regarded as a political organization from which tribal solidarities such as Gurgura drive a feeling of a common identity.

The name Gurgura before the Italian occupation of Ethiopia and during the expansion of Minilik's 'MalkaycC rule over the Dire Dawa region, entails a tribal confederation, consisting of seven sub-tribal groups or clans; namely: Ga'alwaaq, Kundhuble, Ba'iida, Cufattiile, Sannaya, Sancheele, and Nibiddor. These shared-descent groups within Gurgura tribal confederation can each further be subdivided into several branches, totaling approximately, twenty sub-lineage groups and sub-clans, categorized into two bonds of union known as 'Dar' and 'Dudub'. Accoiding to local legend recounted by traditional Gurgura Elders ; 'Manguddo'/'Odeyaar, Gurgura evolved as a social group, out of a recurrence of tribal solidarities into a tribal confederation during the period extending, perhaps, from the end of the Middle Ages to the end of the Ottoman Empire. Gurgura is a tribal solidarity based on a local custom and a traditional oral law known as 'Heera'/'Heer', in the absence of the nation-state.

While a considerable proportion of the Gugura are bilingual, the majority speaks afaari-Oromo. But almost one half of the total population speaks af-Somali, which is still regarded as the language that binds them together. Gurgura traditional elders called their two languages, afaan-Gurgura and af-Gurgura respectively, confirming a bilingual identity. There are some community elders who recount traditional stories, 'Sheekko' (folktales), whereby 'Afara-af was regarded as an ancestral language. Moreover, The Gurgura joined with tribal solidarities such as Oroino and Haleele forming a triad tribal confederation called 'Hole. Latter on, the Nole together with 'Ala', 'Oborra', and so on, formed a larger tribal/ethnic alliance called 'Afranqalou'. According to a local legend, Gurgura were identified as the oldest descendants among several tribes and nationalities of the same stock, related to a common ancestor such as the Issa, gadaboursi, Issaq, and so on, tracing their descent from a common lineage of an ancient family or clan called 'Dir' who is traditionally regarded as the first founder of the earliest clan. There had nevertheless, been a common belief, according to some legend that the 'ShehkHash' were the oldest of the 'Dif lineages. However, according to another popular legend it is also maintained that the Gur^.uia are descendants of an anonymous ancestor. The Gurgura, therefore, trace their respective lineage to a common ancestor, and their respective ethnological urn-ins to varying branches of a. Cushetic Language Family such as Aiar, Oromo, and Soniaii.

The Gurgura are recognized to be a coalesccnt group within a cluster of minority nationalities in Ethiopia. The Gurgura were regarded as an ancient small society comprised of nomadic and sedentary (agriculturalists and commercial) communities that built the first permanent settlements in the region of Dire Dawa city, or as it is sometimes also called Dare Dawa. Due to the fact, that the Gurgura permanent, as well as, nomadic settlements were neither extended across the republic of Djibouti boundaries, nor the North Somali borders, the Gurgura tended to habitually associate themselves with their neighboring communal societies distributed adjacent to their local regions within the boundaries of Ethiopia, i.e., Ethiopia's International Boundaries as recognized by the United Nations (UN) ant! the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

While, the Gurgura have historically maintained their shared local Somali language and much of the traditional ways of life with their neighboring Issa, Gadaboursi, arid Is sag on the one hand, they have also maintained their shared local Oromo language and the traditional life style and custom with their neighboring Haleele, Oromo, Ala, and Oborra on the other. According to some critics, the Gurgura and Issa have not been successful in achieving their respective social and economic aim for progress. Neither have they used the opportunity to develop any tangible or any politically useful alliance with each other, except in response to the usual crisis time solidarities, significantly during the earlier periods before the existence of any "modem state " in the area. However, a profound cultural bond and a wide range of undeniable mutual cooperation existed between the Issa and Gurgura. These practices of cooperation were, primarily, carried out through their respective tribal council of representcitives, each being headed by a tribal confederation leader 'Ugaaz'. With regards to the Issa and Gurgura nomadic pastorals, sharing grazing lands and engaging in a traditional territorial defense were considered important aspects of mutual cooperation.

The Gurgura as a nationality group have steadily proclaimed their identity including those with whom they are legitimately affiliated as a coherent social group. The historical role played by traditional Gurgura communities in bringing the cultural interactions between their neighboring af-Somali speaking cousins to the north and afaan-Oromo speaking cousins to the south, together placed them, with respect to the peripheries, in a natural position to blend into the subsequent adjacent communities.

The Gurgura people share in language, icligion. custom, and traditional rural tribal systems, but these traits might not have prevented their total absorption into another ethnic group, if they had not solidly occupied a territory, which is their own genuine homeland. The traditional territorial claims and historical locations with which they are identified include the area of the region surrounding Dire Dawa, the inner city, and much of its outskirts.

Deeganka Xeraale oo lagu tageray Shirka Cabudwaaq


Shirka dhacay Deeganka Xeraale oo lagu tageray Shirka Cabudwaaq
Ahlusunna Commandoes have just finished their year long training and are ready to combat the enemy. This particular camp located near the city of Xeraale. There are many camps around Central Somalia and now in Mogadishu. Graduates from Guriceel and Caabudwaaq camps are actively protecting the ummah already from the khawarij and other types of enemy. This should be a gift to the already panicing Wahabis and mercenaries or grave-digers/bone-collectors alike. May Allah protect our sunni brothers who are on guard day and night to keep this deen from the enemy of Allah in its worst shape, the Wahabiskhawarij in disguise of muslim dress.

Suldan Mussa Ali Madar, Lefeissa harawo region Ethiopia

Exclusive: Interview with Suldan Mussa Ali Madar, Lefeissa harawo region Ethiopia

This is an exclusive interview with Suldan Mussa Ali Madar. Talking about historic events in Ethiopia, Struggle of horyal rebellion. The quest for Harawo Region since Haile selassie.
The need for the Current federal government to take action and nominate Harawo as a full region.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012


As the Somalis see it, writes Mr. John Drysdale:

"Their frontier dispute is not essentially about land alone

but the people."1


historical error prompted the first Somalis President, Dr. Abdirashid Ali

Sharmarky to say this:

"No! Our misfortune is that our neighboring countries, with

whom we seek to promote constructive and harmonious relations

are not our neighbors but our Somali kinsmen whose citizen-

ship has been falsified by indiscriminate boundary "arrangements".

They have to move across artificial frontiers to their pasture

lands. They occupy the same terrain and pursue the same

pastoral economy as overselves. We speak the same language.

We sare the same God, the same culture and the same traditions.

How can we regard our brothers as foreigners?"2

The Portion Under Dispute

One, Robert Paul Jordan, an American journalist once wrote:

"The Horn of Africa is a most inhospitable place. A harsh

land this is. Not a desert, but close. High arid country

mostly--a Savannah of acacias, patches of grass, thorny

shrubs, tall ant-hills and rocks. When the scanty rains

fall, it runs cruel. Then, sheep and goats slowly die.

The barrens are strewn with their carcasses."4

As I mentioned earlier, the

Somalia Government considers the Ogaden Province of Ethiopia and the North-

eastern Province of Kenya as forming part of the "Greater Somalia" domain.6

The idea of "Greater Somalia" was conceived in the mind of Mr. Bevin, then

Britain's Foreign Secretary after World War II, who in 1946 proposed to the

House of Commons in London to consider lumping together the British

Somaliland, Italian Somaliland and adjacent parts of Ethiopia into a trust

territory.7 So that, in Mr. Bevin's won words:

"The nomads should live their frugal existence with the least

possible hinderance. They could have a chance to live a decent

economic life."8

Ten days after Mr. Bevin introduced this proposal in the House of Commons,

the British administrators in Somaliland organized meetings to inform the

people the "good news" about their future.9 As it will be learned later,

this pre-emptive move would embarrass the British Government and create a

living but volatile problem in the Horn of Africa.

An Ancient Heritage

The Somalis are a Hamitic people whose ancestors are believed to have

immigrated from the Arabian peninsula long age. They came to settle on the

biblical land of "Punt", the ancient "Aromatic Kingdom" renowned for its

frankincense and myrrh.10 Their traditional geneologies trace the ancestry to

Arab forebears who belonged to the Quraysh tribe of the Prophet Mohamed, and

ultimately they claim belong to a common ancestor.11 The Somali Prime

Minister, Dr. Abdirashid Sharmarky once said:

"Our misfortunes do not stem from the unproductiveness of the

soil, nor from a lack of mineral wealth. These limitations

on our material well-being were accepted and compensated for

by our forefathers from whom we inherited, among other things,

a spiritual and cultural prosperity of inestimable value. The

teaching of Islam on the one hand and lyric poetry on the


Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam, Head

of the Geography Department of Ehtiopia's Haile Selassie I University,

described the Somalis as exhibiting:

"External individualism and utter lack of discipline. The

acute struggle for existence in this harsh environment often

expresses itself in group conflicts over wells or grazing


The initial British interest in the Horn was on the Somalia Coast for

strategic and logistical reasons. After the British had annexed Aden in

1840, treaties were signed with local chiefs to guarantee the continuous

supply of cattle from inland to feed the garrisons. The opening of the Suez

Canal in 1869 increased the strategic importance of the area and;

consequently, the British entered other long term agreements which gave them

possession of the port of Berbera and several other offshore inlands.

Britain immediately assigned consuls at Berbera, Seylec and Bulhar to

protect her interests.16

These accomplishments

were achieved by exploiting local grievances such as one described in 1892

confidential British diplomatic dispatch to London which read:

"Sheikh Sufi states - The Abysinians read, "Ethiopians" are

always on one side of us, the English on the other. We

(Ogaden tribes) are with the English, and we wish for

English rule. We are your children.

I say that, as a sheep quivers under the blow of a knife,

we, the Ogaden, are quivering under the oppressions of the

Abysinians, who have every year, for the last nine years,

visited us and levied large numbers of sheep, goats, horse,

camels and taken what they liked from us. We have no guns

and are not powerful enough to fight and must submit.

Last season the Abysinians (drove) off all livestock; 990

men, women and children perished. We are Mullahs and we like

to tell the truth."17

The British

Government stand was spelled out by Mr. Peter Thomas as follows:

"Since the British Government would be responsible for Kenya

only a few more months (before her independence in December

1963), the British Government considers that it would be

wrong to take a unilateral decision about the frontiers of

Kenya without reference to the wishes of the government of

that country; and that agreement should be sought by the

African governments concerned working and negotiating within

an African framework."24

The Somalia delegation led by then, Prime Minister Dr. Abdirashid Sharmarky

were disappointed to learn at their first meeting that the British

Government had no intention of making any constructive proposals. He


"The British had only convened the meeting to explore the

position of the Somalia Republic, which was in any case well

known to them."25

In conclusion, the Somalia Government states:

"It was evident that the British Government has not only

deliberately misled the Somalia Government during the course

of the last eighteen months, but has also deceitfully

encouraged the people of North Eastern Province to believe

that their right to self-determination could be granted by

the British Government through peaceful and legal means. The

responsibility for the consequences that may follow this

suppression of a fundamental human right lies squarely on

the British Government."26

Shortly after this, the Somalia Government recalled her Ambassador from

Britain and severed diplomatic relations. The Somali people residing in the

North Eastern Province boycotted the elections, took arms, and demanded


For us Kenyans, the Somalis demand that we give up approximately 45,000

square miles of our territory (approximately a fifth of the land mass), not

only is it unacceptable but also violates our Constitution and the OAU

Charter. The Kenyan view was and continues to be similar to that expressed

by the majority of the Organization of African Unit member countries:

"Thus, in almost every country in Africa, there are minority

groups having racial, religious or tribal affinities with

neighboring countries."27

The conference that met in Addis Ababa Ethiopia in 1963 to resolve the

boundary issue resloved:

"Countries with widely diverse populations would be quickly

dismembered if each ethnic group was allowed to go its own

way under the banner of self-determination. The resulting

partitioning would create a chaotic potpourri of tiny,

nonviable"Nations" toally incapable of providing even the

barest of government services."28

At the conclusion of the conference, the Somali President Osman had the

following to say:

"By becoming united, the Somali people feel that not only

would their welfare be secured, but that as a single entity

they would be able to contribute effectively to the ideals

of African unity. The people of the Republic cannot be

expected to remain indifferent to the appeal of its brethren.

If the Somalis in those areas are given the opportunity to

express their will freely, the government pledges itself to

accept the verdict."29

Somalia joined the Arab League nations in 1974. Being a predominantly

Moslem state, she attracts sympthy from wealthy Arab countries. Saudi

Arabia has become increasingly interested in the Somalia's affair not only

for political reasons but also strategic and economic. Kuwait has invested

heavily in power stations in Mogadishu and Iraq has been supplying her with

crude oil.31 Somalia also maintains cordial relationship with the Sudan.

The Kenya Defense Force Mission is defensive and the government

articulates it thus. Accordingly, may I quote President Reagan's address:

"Our policy is defensive. United States uses its military

force only in response to clear threats to stability and

peace. We pursue this policy knowing fully that our

defensive posture grants several military advantages to a

potential aggressor. He can choose when, where and how to

attack. He can formulate a detailed plan for his operations

to take maximum advantage of his strengths and exploit our

vulnerabilities. He can also mask his pre-attack mobiliza-

tion efforts under the guise of training exercise or

diplomatic crises so that any advance warning we might get

could be cloaked to ambiguity."38

1. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964.

2. Drysdale, John., The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964,

Introduction, p. 8.

3. Presidential Address to the Nation on "Kenyatta Day, 20th October,

1965". The Standard Paper.

4. Jordan, Robert Paul. "Somalia's Hour of Need", National Geographic,

June 1981, p. 748.

5. Szaz, Z. Michael. "Somalia's Difficulties", The New York Times,

September 28, 1981, p. 14

3. Presidential Address to the Nation on "Kenyatta Day, 20th October,

1965". The Standard Paper.

4. Jordan, Robert Paul. "Somalia's Hour of Need", National Geographic,

June 1981, p. 748.

5. Szaz, Z. Michael. "Somalia's Difficulties", The New York Times,

September 28, 1981, p. 14

6. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964.

7. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964. Capter 6,

p. 67.

8. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964. Capter 6,

p. 67.

9. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964. Capter 6,

p. 68.

10. Lewis, Ian M. The Modern History of Somaliland. New York: Praeger,

1965, Chapter 1.

11. Lewis, Ian M. The Modern History of Somaliland. New York: Praeger,

1965, Chapter 1.

12. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964, p. 8.

13. Mariam, Mesfim Wolde. The Background of the Ethio-Somalia Boundary

Dispute. Addis Ababa: Berhanena Selam, 1964.

14. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964.

15. Norden, Hermann. Africa's Lost Empire. Philadelphia, Macrae-Smith, 1930.

16. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, Chapter 2.

17. Bhasdwaj, Raman G. The Dilema of the Horn of Africa. New Delhi:

Sterling Publishers, 1979.

18. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964.

19. Tibbs, Thurlow. Strategic Appraisal of Sub-Saharan Africa. Air Command

and Staff College, Air University, 1981.

20. Harold D. Nelson. Somalia: A Country Study: Foreign Area Studies,

The American University, Chapter 5.

21. Harold D. Nelson. Somalia: A Country Study: Foreign Area Studies,

The American University, Tables 20, 21 and 22 (Major Army Weapons,

Air Force Weapons and Naval Weapons, 1981).

22. Harold D. Nelson. Somalia: A Country Study: Foreign Area Studies,

The American University, Chapter 5.

23. Harold D. Nelson. Somalia: A Country Study: Foreign Area Studies,

The American University, Chapter 5.

24. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964, Chapter 15.

25. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964, p. 155.

26. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964, Chapter 15,

p. 158.

27. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964, Chapter 14,

p. 146.

28. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964, Chapter 14,

p. 147.

29. Drysdale, John. The Somali Dispute. New York: Praeger, 1964, p. 148.

30. Harold D. Nelson. Somalia: A Country Study: Foreign Area Studies,

The American University, P. XVIII.

31. Harold D. Nelson. Somalia: A Country Study: Foreign Area Studies,

The American University,p. 219.

32. Harold D. Nelson. Somalia: A Country Study: Foreign Area Studies,

The American University, p. 220.

33. Harold D. Nelson. Somalia: A Country Study: Foreign Area Studies,

The American University, p. 222.

34. Harold D. Nelson. Somalia: A Country Study: Foreign Area Studies,

The American University, p. XVIII.

35. Harold D. Nelson. Somalia: A Country Study: Foreign Area Studies,

The American University, p. 223.

36. Harold D. Nelson. Somalia: A Country Study: Foreign Area Studies,

The American University, p. 262.

37. Casper W. Weinberger, Secretary of Defense SecDef Annual Report; to

U.S. Congress of March, 1984.

38. Casper W. Weinberger, Secretary of Defense SecDef Annual Report; to

U.S. Congress of March, 1984.


The Somal invariably call Berberah the “Sahil,” (meaning in Arabic the sea-shore,) as Zayla with them is “Audal,” and Harar “Adari.”

5 This is the second great division of the Somal people, the father of the tribe being Awal, the cadet of Ishak el Hazrami.

The Habr Awal occupy the coast from Zayla and Siyaro to the lands bordering upon the Berteri tribe. They own the rule of a Gerad, who exercises merely a nominal authority. The late chief’s name was “Bon,” he died about four years ago, but his children have not yet received the turban. The royal race is the Ayyal Abdillah, a powerful clan extending from the Dabasanis Hills to near Jigjiga, skirting the Marar Prairie.

The Habr Awal are divided into a multitude of clans: of these I shall specify only the principal, the subject of the maritime Somal being already familiar to our countrymen. The Esa Musa inhabit part of the mountains south of Berberah. The Mikahil tenant the lowlands on the coast from Berberah to Siyaro. Two large clans, the Ayyal Yunis and the Ayyal Ahmed, have established themselves in Berberah and at Bulhar. Besides these are the Ayyal Abdillah Saad, the Ayyal Geraato, who live amongst the Ayyal Yunis,—the Bahgobo and the Ayyal Hamed.

13 The Habr Gerhajis, or eldest branch of the sons of Ishak (generally including the children of “Arab”), inhabit the Ghauts behind Berberah, whence they extend for several days’ march towards Ogadayn, the southern region. This tribe is divided into a multitude of clans. The Ismail Arrah supply the Sultan, a nominal chief like the Eesa Ugaz; they extend from Makhar to the south of Gulays, number about 15,000 shields and are subdivided into three septs. The Musa Arrah hold the land between Gulays and the seats of the Mijjarthayn and Warsangeli tribes on the windward coast. The Ishak Arrah count 5000 or 6000 shields, and inhabit the Gulays Range. The other sons of Arrah (the fourth in descent from Ishak), namely, Mikahil, Gambah, Daudan, and others, also became founders of small clans. The Ayyal Daud, facetiously called “Idagallah” or earth-burrowers, and sprung from the second son of Gerhajis, claim the country south of the Habr Awal, reckon about 4000 shields, and are divided into 11 or 12 septs.

As has been noticed, the Habr Gerhajis have a perpetual blood feud with the Habr Awal, and, even at Aden, they have fought out their quarrels with clubs and stones. Yet as cousins they willingly unite against a common enemy, the Eesa for instance, and become the best of friends.

We shook off our slumbers before dawn on the 27th. I remarked near our resting-place, one of those detached heaps of rock, common enough in the Somali country: at one extremity a huge block projects upwards, and suggests the idea of a gigantic canine tooth. The Donkey declared that the summit still bears traces of building, and related the legend connected with Moga Medir.7 There, in times of old, dwelt a Galla maiden whose eye could distinguish a plundering party at the distance of five days’ march. The enemies of her tribe, after sustaining heavy losses, hit upon the expedient of an attack, not en chemise, but with their heads muffled in bundles of hay. When Moga, the maiden, informed her sire and clan that a prairie was on its way towards the hill, they deemed her mad; the manoeuvre succeeded, and the unhappy seer lost her life. The legend interested me by its wide diffusion. The history of Zarka, the blue-eyed witch of the Jadis tribe, who seized Yemamah by her gramarye, and our Scotch tale of Birnam wood’s march, are Asiatic and European facsimiles of African “Moga’s Tooth.”

of Dabasenis, a hill half way between Bulhar and Berberah. On the summit I was shown an object that makes travellers shudder, a thorn-tree, under which the Habr Gerhajis 13 and their friends of the Eesa Musa sit, vulture-like, on the look-out for plunder and murder. Advancing another mile, we came to some wells, where we were obliged to rest our animals. Having there finished our last mouthful of food, we remounted, and following the plain eastward, prepared for a long night-march.

As the light of day waned we passed on the right hand a table-formed hill, apparently a detached fragment of the sub-Ghauts or coast range. This spot is celebrated in local legends as “Auliya Kumbo,” the Mount of Saints, where the forty-four Arab Santons sat in solemn conclave before dispersing over the Somali country to preach El Islam. It lies about six hours of hard walking from Berberah.

The Habr Tul Jailah (mother of the tribe of Jailah) descendants of Ishak el Hazrami by a slave girl, inhabit the land eastward of Berberah. Their principal settlements after Aynterad are the three small ports of Karam, Unkor, and Hays. The former, according to Lieut. Cruttenden, is “the most important from its possessing a tolerable harbour, and from its being the nearest point from Aden, the course to which place is N. N. W., —consequently the wind is fair, and the boats laden with sheep for the Aden market pass but one night at sea, whilst those from Berberah are generally three. What greatly enhances the value of Kurrum (Karam), however, is its proximity to the country of the Dulbahanteh, who approach within four days of Kurrum, and who therefore naturally have their chief trade through that port. The Ahl Tusuf, a branch of the Habertel Jahleh, at present hold possession of Kurrum, and between them and the tribes to windward there exists a most bitter and irreconcileable feud, the consequence of sundry murders perpetrated about five years since at Kurrum, and which hitherto have not been avenged. The small ports of Enterad, Unkor, Heis, and Rukudah are not worthy of mention, with the exception of the first-named place, which has a trade with Aden in sheep.”

Of the origin of Berberah little is known. El Firuzabadi derives it, with great probability, from two Himyar chiefs of Southern Arabia.6 About A.D. 522 the troops of Anushirwan expelled the Abyssinians from Yemen, and re-established there a Himyari prince under vassalage of the Persian Monarch. Tradition asserts the port to have been occupied in turns by the Furs7, the Arabs, the Turks, the Gallas, and the Somal. And its future fortunes are likely to be as varied as the past.

The present decadence of Berberah is caused by petty internal feuds. Gerhajis the eldest son of Ishak el Hazrami, seized the mountain ranges of Gulays and Wagar lying about forty miles behind the coast, whilst Awal, the cadet, established himself and his descendants upon the lowlands from Berberah to Zayla. Both these powerful tribes assert a claim to the customs and profits of the port on the grounds that they jointly conquered it from the Gallas. 8 The Habr Awal, however, being in possession, would monopolize the right: a blood feud rages, and the commerce of the place suffers from the dissensions of the owners.

Moreover the Habr Awal tribe is not without internal feuds. Two kindred septs, the Ayyal Yunis Nuh and the Ayyal Ahmed Nuh 9, established themselves originally at Berberah. The former, though the more numerous, admitted the latter for some years to a participation of profits, but when Aden, occupied by the British, rendered the trade valuable, they drove out the weaker sept, and declared themselves sole “Abbans” to strangers during the fair. A war ensued. The sons of Yunis obtained aid of the Mijjarthayn tribe. The sons of Ahmed called in the Habr Gerhajis, especially the Musa Arrah clan, to which the Hajj Sharmarkay belongs, and, with his assistance, defeated and drove out the Ayyal Yunis. These, flying from Berberah, settled at the haven of Bulhar, and by their old connection with the Indian and other foreign traders, succeeded in drawing off a considerable amount of traffic. But the roadstead was insecure: many vessels were lost, and in 1847 the Eesa Somal slaughtered the women and children of the new-comers, compelling them to sue the Ayyal Ahmed for peace. Though the feud thus ended, the fact of its having had existence ensures bad blood: amongst these savages treaties are of no avail, and the slightest provocation on either side becomes a signal for renewed hostilities.

GURGUR DIR Isn't This My Soil?" Land, State and 'Development' in Somali Ethiopia

Isn't This My Soil?" Land, State and 'Development' in Somali Ethiopia

By Zarowsky, Christina

January 31, 1999
Cultural Survival Quarterly
Issue 22.4

Conventional development discourse generally does not incorporate a historical perspective, instead it uses a project, or at best, program-oriented approach. In contrast, a historical and openly political framework is present in the Somali Ethiopian village of Hurso. Land, or the lack of it, was the central issue of Hurso testimonials about the life of grinding poverty that I collected in 1996 and in 1998. The absence of any sustainable means of production is considered the core problem, leading to hunger, disease, lack of social cohesion and cooperation, and both individual and collective demoralization. However, while the problems attributed to lack of land are immediate, their origin and resolution are historical and political. `Development' emerges as an important pragmatic and rhetorical strategy in this community's struggle for survival. Underlying their appeals for development and development assistance, is the memory of their dispossession and an unresolved claim for justice -- for land.

Hurso, in eastern Ethiopia, is home to about 5,000 Somali of the Gurgura clan, formerly fruit farmers and agropastoralists. Hurso's lands were seized by the Derg, the Marxist government of Mengistu Haile Mariam, which ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1991 in the aftermath of the 1977-78 Ogaden War. In this war, Somalia unsuccessfully attempted to annex the ethnically Somali lands of Ethiopia. These lands consisted of the semi-arid Ogaden, the rich pastures of the Haud, and other lowlands off the eastern edge of the Ethiopian highlands.

Hurso is now known (if it is known at all), as the site of a large military training center of the newly refederated Ethiopia. It is remembered by its inhabitants as an almost heavenly place of permanent water, good grazing, and bountiful orchards. Today, it is a desolate stop on the railway from Addis Ababa to Djibouti, where people eke out an existence gathering and selling firewood (considered one step above begging), running tiny shops and teahouses, and selling meager amounts of onions, potatoes, and bananas. According to one elder:

"Hurso was a big village, with many, many kinds of fruit -- lemons, oranges, papayas, mangos. We have a proverb: `Hurso-the Rome of the Gurgura.' Today the people are returnees and refugees. Women sell firewood. The life of the children is so hard. I was born here and lived 25 years before I left here. Today I see only empty land."

The story of the peoples' flight and return was told by men, women, elders, as well as youth who had been infants at the time. Most villagers fled into the surrounding country side during the Ogaden War and then returned to their lands. In the aftermath of the war, the Ethiopian government decided to expand the military base near the village and began to expropriate farmlands. Some families were offered compensatory lands in Sodere, hundreds of kilometers away, but the majority refused to leave. One day, the military arrived and surrounded the villagers. They were told to evacuate within 12 hours. Bulldozers arrived and destroyed homes and shops. People fled, some to Djibouti, others to Somalia, depending on their contacts and available transportation at crossroads towns. A few stayed in the area and lived in the scrub forest or stayed with pastoralist kin. These individuals would return to their lands and attempt to farm them. They were repeatedly beaten until, according to the villagers, the army concluded these individuals were mad and harmless. A few families were allowed to stay to service the military base and the train that stops in the village; these faced very strict controls on travel, visiting, and other activities between 1979 and 1991. The majority fled to Djibouti, where they stayed in UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) camps.

Beginning in 1986, there was increasing pressure from the Djibouti government for Ethiopian refugees to leave the country, or at least the camps, as food aid from overseas had decreased dramatically. Some Hurso residents returned to Ethiopia in 1988, but the majority stayed in Djibouti, either in the capital, Djiboutiville, or in the border area with Ethiopia. When the Derg fell in 1991, they hoped the lands would be returned. Tens of thousands of Ethiopians, including some Hurso residents, stayed in Djibouti until a final repatriation program was completed in 1996.

With the fall of the Derg in 1991 came promises from the new government under the leadership of the the Tigrean People's Liberation Front (TPLF), that farmlands would be restored and most of the refugees returned. To this day, the population is still waiting, negotiating, and trying to survive. The main sources of income are gathering and selling firewood, petty trade, and portering bundles of goods for traders who board the train at Hurso. A wood-seller spends one day collecting and carrying firewood, which he or she can sell the next day for about 5 birr -- less than US$1; a day laborer can earn 7 birr per day; and women selling tiny amounts of vegetables in the marketplace earn about 5 birr per day. In comparison, the one way fare to Dire Dawa, on a decrepit pickup truck which carries 24 passengers at a time, is 7 birr. Most people eat one or two meals a day and chronic malnutrition is endemic. During the rainy season, epidemics of malaria regularly break out and the health workers at the clinic do their best to manage in the face of sporadic delivery of medication and long periods without receiving their government-paid salaries.

The military base itself is critical to the village's survival; it is the main source of demand for the shops. Behind the clinic is a string of huts, separate from the rest of the village. These are the brothels -- home and workplace to about 50 women frequented by the soldiers at the base. These women need to eat and cook and they buy a significant proportion of the food and firewood that Hurso residents try to sell.

Claiming Rights to Land, Claiming a Human Life

According to Gurgura tradition, firm claims to farming lands can be established on two grounds: traditional use over several generations and cultivation by individuals or lineages. This method of claiming land corresponds to the Somali, whose traditional use of lands for grazing and as a source of water are the two main sources of legitimate claims to territory. The lands around the village of Hurso are claimed by the Gurgura on several grounds: traditional use over at least seven generations, grants by various Ethiopian and Italian governments, military conquest, and extensive planting of mango, citrus, papaya, and other fruit orchards. The farms were held by families, although the individual whose name is mentioned as `owner' of the larger farms or gardens, are trustees of land considered to be available for the subsistence purposes of extended families or entire lineages.

People speak of the land as if they still own it; "This is Ahmed's garden;" "This is Amina's garden." Although the lands were taken almost 20 years ago, the community is still intensely loyal and passionate about them. People cling to the lands both because they are good, fertile lands, and because they still consider them to be their lands. Until there is an option for creating ties to other lands or other livelihoods, both identity as well as survival are associated to them. I asked dozens of people why they had returned to Hurso. People patiently told me that the government had changed and they were promised the lands would be returned; there was no longer a way to make a living in Djibouti and lands surrounding Hurso could not support a significantly larger population -- the land looks empty, but is in fact, full to its carrying capacity. Also, the original owners of the lands near Sodere (where some Hurso residents had been resettled) had returned after the fall of the Derg and had thrown out the resettled Hurso families. One man was less patient:

Q: "Why did you return to Hurso?"

A: "What do you mean? Isn't this my soil?"

Survival, Development, Identity, and State

The relationships among and between community members, government, military, and the workers hired by the military to guard the expropriated lands are complex. Resentment against the military base and the workers was minimal; the community's anger is directed not at the soldiers, but at the government. Some Gurgura men from the village itself, former members of the Gurgura Liberation Front, were also being trained at the base. The men guarding the farmlands chewed a mild stimulant, chat, (also an appetite or hunger suppressant) to maintain cordial relationships with the villagers in case of an eventual return of farmlands.

Responsibility for the initial dispossession and current poverty is placed on the government and the Ministry of Defense -- believed to be holding on to the lands out of greed -- both for revenue, (which a local member of the federal parliament estimated at US$3-4 million per year), and simply possession. However, the district and regional governments shared some of the blame because it was felt they mishandled the negotiations for their return. Two trips to Addis by Hurso elders exhausted funds that could have been used for direct negotiation by the community Future progress depended on action by district, regional, and federal officials.

Relationships between Somali Ethiopians and the Ethiopian state are ambivalent -- clearly illustrated in Hurso. The history of relations between Somalis and the Ethiopian state is long and generally negative from both the Somali and Ethiopian perspective. The current Hurso situation is clearly the result of acts by the Ethiopian state against a predominantly Somali population. In the newly refederated Ethiopia, however, Somalis now speak and go to school in Somali, have their own regional government (albeit corrupt and inefficient, in the view of many), and are for the first time, potentially equal to other Ethiopians as citizens. Many of my Somali interlocutors were cautiously optimistic about the possibilities for Somalis in the new Ethiopia.

Loyalty and identity, however, were invested in the clan, land, and Somali ethnicity. What becomes clear through examining the history of land claims in Hurso is that the state is not seen as an oppressive and unitary force, but rather as a feature of the environment, currently a powerful actor with a tendency to swallow all other players, but with whom it is possible to make certain tactical alliances. In Hurso and elsewhere among both men and women, national politics are now seen as crucial to development and survival.

Currently, both necessity and the tentative opening of the Ethiopian state to regional autonomy and full participation by all citizens lead Hurso and other Somali Ethiopian communities to conclude that the potential benefits are worth the risk of aligning themselves with the state. Nevertheless, it is always better to keep as many options open as possible. `Development' puts the state's role into a broader framework, where it is often the de facto final arbiter, but where the poor also have other potential advocates.

In 1998, a UNICEF-funded water project was working well, a new district government was in place, and other ties to the state and regional economy gave Hurso more power to press their claims for survival and restitution. International relief assistance where the refugee relief system is the dominant organizing institution, is no longer the only tie between the community and the rest of the world. However, the channels of communication represented by both humanitarian aid and development must be kept open, in part as a check on the abuse of power by the state.

In his 1994 book, The Anti-Politics Machine, James Ferguson documents how the depoliticizing discourse and practice of development facilitates the encroachment of the state and its bureaucracy into more places and dimensions of life. For example, even though most development projects are deliberately apolitical, building a school, clinic, or agricultural extension office also brings employees who are ultimately responsible, not to the community nor to the donors, but to the government. The interests of the government are fundamentally, political.

In Hurso, this same encroachment is visible, but the current and former residents of Hurso see this encroachment in historical, political, and pragmatic terms. My criticisms of development were greeted with impatient dismissal: "yes there is plenty of corruption, abuse, and ineptitude of which we are well aware, but we want schools, clinics, and a water supply" Villagers openly admitted that they no longer had the skills -- or more importantly -- the desire to live off the land. Development was now integral to their notion of what constitutes a decent, human life. Contrary to the general findings of post-development critics, they did not want less development, but more; not less integration into the state, but more.

Their reasons for wanting more links to the state are pragmatic. In interviews about the larger context of Somali-Ethiopia relations, respondents stressed the importance of the clause in the new constitution permitting secession as a last resort. In the current circumstances, both union with Somalia and outright independence seem decidedly inferior to active participation in the Ethiopian state which offers at least the possibility of political power and economic advancement, while safeguarding Somali autonomy should the situation become unacceptable. However, as the changing Hurso discourse on basic human needs demonstrates, it may not be easy to opt out of new ways of thinking about identity, survival, and what constitutes a human life.

Concretely, development in Hurso means both economic independence, (ideally, by acquiring farmlands), and a combination of standard development and relief programs that address health care, water supply, education, childcare, and nutrition problems. Criticisms of these same programs were sharp. For example, Halcho, a community where 58 of the poorest families were resettled, needed extensive and expensive irrigation systems that involved drilling deep wells. But in the meantime, what were the farmers supposed to eat? Women involved in a revolving funds program stated that while it was a great idea, there were a number of basic problems: the market was already saturated with petty traders in milk and vegetables and there was no accessible market for other goods at the moment. Cash, especially this small a sum, was problematic because in Hurso, there is tremendous social pressure against refusing outright requests for financial assistance. If it were known that you had received 500 birr, then relatives and neighbors would approach you to repay small loans they had made to you, or to `lend' them money to take a sick child to the hospital; the money would soon be gone. The best development program of all would be to allocate land, making survival possible with fewer direct ties to the state or to development agencies. Nevertheless, promises of development programs -- health care, clean water, and education -- are likely to remain important for this community, even if the lands are returned.

Ultimately, development in Hurso means a sustainable and decent livelihood, and unfortunately the state's involvement is also essential for this to occur. To achieve a decent, human life or nolol adaaminiimo, it is necessary to have avenues through which to press claims -- for justice, restitution, and short term assistance. Hence local, regional, national, and international politics, and telling the story of dispossession and its implied remedy, restitution, have become very important. Development was also a rhetorical strategy to possibly diversify the range of groups and individuals on whom one could make justice, compassion, or rights-based claims.

Story telling and history are valued for their own sake among Somali, so it was generally easy for me to talk to people. However, given what 1 knew about the political importance of story telling, poetry, and history in Somali societies, it was clear that I was meant to hear these stories with a view to action.

"The owner must fight for his property."

-Muusa Omar's gabay (poem)

"I am asking you -- what are you going to do for us?"

-Ali Yusuf's testimony

"The main point is to help each other. To talk is fine, but let's get to the main point. You see our problems with your own eyes, as an eyewitness -- they don't need much explanation."

-Haawa Omar's testimony

History, politics, development, and the state are key elements in this community's story of dispossession, poverty, and living an inhuman life. However, although the state is accorded a certain legitimacy and even respect as a worthy opponent, it should not be confused with the loyalty and sense of belonging that was built by using the land and maintained through the story of dispossession. Human life, a decent life, is not only a matter of calories and clean water, human life implies justice, beauty, and belonging. Aasha, the midwife, summarizes their passion towards the land, and the bitterness, sadness, and contempt that characterize the Hurso view of the state: "They are not careful of the land. It becomes hyenas' houses." This suggests a love relationship with the land, and hence an imperative to tend it and care for it. "Hyena's houses" suggests barren land, wasteland, even a rubbish heap, in implied contrast to the beautiful, fertile, beloved land that it was.

The story of Hurso, then, is a love story as well as a story of injustice. The Hurso Somali were ejected from their land during the war. They returned as refugees, their lands still in the hands of the Ministry of Defense. They survive, but are far from what they consider to be a decent, human life. Development projects and development rhetoric are important ways of coping, but the fundamental problem, in their eyes, is not a question of charity, but of simple justice.

"I am 45 years old. I was born in Turkaylo, near Hurso village. I had farmland in Hurso before 1977. After the Derg took my farmland I went to Serkama. Hurso! Before the Derg, there was no place better than Hurso. Anybody who knows how it was before will be in wareer [mad with worry and distress] when he sees it now. And still now I think it is the Derg or those who remained from the Derg government who are eating our gardens. Now my morale is not good, because still my properties are in the hands of the enemy. I think Hurso seems as if it is getting some air, but unfortunately the Derg remainders are still present. Hurso people need to get a balanced life, nolol adaaminiimo -- food, health, education and so on. And to get their farmlands. I think if the government wants to develop Hurso's life, they have to give back their farms. I wish to add: you asked me many things and I am asking you, what are you going to do for us?"

-Ali Yusuf


Ferguson, James. 1994. The Anti-Politics Machine. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Lewis, I.M 1961. A Pastoral Democracy. London: Oxford University Press.

Article copyright Cultural Survival, Inc.

Ethiopia: Information on the Issa and Gurgura Liberation Front

For information on the above-mentioned subject please refer to the attached documents.


Agence France Press. 24 March 1992. "Issa Guerrilla at War with Ethiopia's New Army." (NEXIS)

BBC, Summary of World Broadcasts. 11 June 1992. "Ethiopia Council of Representatives Members Point Out Problems." (NEXIS)

. 25 March 1992. "Ethiopia Issa Liberation Front Issues Statement on Fighting with EPRDF." (NEXIS)

. 5 March 1992. Ethiopia Gurgura Liberation Front Conference Ends." (NEXIS)

. 18 February 1992. "Ethiopia IGLF Reorganises Itself." (NEXIS)

. 14 February 1992. "Ethiopia IGLF Officials Dropped From Executive." (NEXIS)

. 12 February 1992. "Ethiopia Gurgura Liberation Front Secedes From IGLF." (NEXIS)

. 25 January 1992. "Ethiopia Political Organisations Join Forces to Halt Clashes in Dire Dawa." (NEXIS)

. 10 January 1992. "Ethiopia Gurgura Nation Breaks Away From Issa-Gurgura Liberation Front." (NEXIS)

Inter Press Service. 13 April 1992. Obinna Onyadike. "Ethiopia: Unrest in the East." (NEXIS)

Reuters. 13 February 1992. Jonathan Clayton. "Southern Ethiopia Near Chaos as Ethnic Rivalries Resurface." (NEXIS)

Source: Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada

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