|• Mayor||Abdi Aziz Jama Guled|
|• Deputy Mayor||Hassan Mohamed Khalif|
|Time zone||EAT (UTC+3)|
Galkayo (Somali: Gaalkacyo, Arabic: جالكعيو), also known as Gallacaio or Rocca Littorio, is the capital of the north-central Mudug region of Somalia. The city is divided into two zones, where the main northern portion forms part of Puntland state, while its southern tip is governed by the Galmudug administration.
Following independence, Galkayo was made the center of the Galkayo District. The city has grown considerably in recent times and serves as a commercial hub. It has an estimated population of 545,000 inhabitants.
Initially, Kenadid's goal was to seize control of the neighboring Majeerteen Sultanate (Migiurtinia), which was then ruled by his cousin Boqor (King) Osman Mahamuud. However, he was unsuccessful in this endeavor, and was eventually forced into exile in Yemen. A decade later, in the 1870s, Kenadid returned from the Arabian Peninsula with a band of Hadhrami musketeers and a group of devoted lieutenants. With their assistance, he managed to overpower the local Hawiye clans and establish the kingdom of Hobyo.
In 1888, Sultan Kenadid entered into a treaty with Italy, making his kingdom a protectorate known as Italian Somaliland. His rival Boqor Osman would sign a similar agreement vis-a-vis his own Sultanate the following year. Both rulers had entered into the protectorate treaties to advance their own expansionist goals. Kenadid sought to use Italy's support in his ongoing power struggle with Boqor Osman over the Majeerteen Sultanate, as well as in a separate dispute with the Sultan of Zanzibar over an area to the north of Warsheikh. In signing the agreements, the rulers also hoped to exploit the rival objectives of the European imperial powers so as to more effectively assure the continued independence of their territories.
During the first municipal elections in 1954, Abdirizak Haji Hussein of the Somali Youth League became Galkayo Councillor. Following independence in 1960, the city was made the center of the official Galkayo District.
Galkayo is situated in north-central Somalia, in the heart of the Mudug region. Nearby settlements include to the east Loodabaal (7.1 nm), to the northeast Godod (16.2 nm), to the north Halobooqad (4.4 nm), to the northwest Beyra (12.8 nm), to the west Barri-Fintir (23.8 nm), to the southwest Gelgaris (8.5 nm), to the south Laascadale (10.2 nm), and to the southeast Arfuda (13.0 nm). The largest cities in the country most proximate to Galkayo are Hobyo (217 km), Garowe (219 km) and Qardho (358 km). Shimbiris, the highest peak in Somalia, is located some 432 km to the north in the Cal Madow mountain range.
Galkayo has a hot arid climate (Köppen BWh). Coldest average temperatures occur during the winter months of November to February, when thermometer readings range from 23 to 25 °C (73 to 77 °F). The weather slowly heats up in the spring, as the April rainy season begins. Average temperatures later reach a maximum of around 41 °C over the summer period. Come September, a gradual fall chill starts to set in again.
|Climate data for Galkayo|
|Average high °C (°F)||30
|Average low °C (°F)||24
|Precipitation mm (inches)||15
Galkayo is situated in the north-central part of Somalia, and is one of the most developed towns in the region. A divided city, it is sectioned along a north/south axis, with the main northern portion forming a part of the autonomous Puntland state, while the southern tip is governed by the Galmudug administration. Puntland administers most of Galkayo, including key traffic checkpoints and the city's airport.
Although relatively stable compared to southern Somalia, sporadic targeted assassination attempts by Al-Shabaab militants against Puntland public officials led in 2010-2011 to a police crackdown and comprehensive administrative reform. The Puntland and Galmudug administrations subsequently signed an accord in Garowe in February 2011, officially agreeing to cooperate on security, economic and social matters so as to strengthen inter-regional relations. In April of that year, the Puntland government additionally replaced the Mudug region's Governor and his deputies and dissolved the local district council. A separate interim regional committee tasked with assuring security was also set up.
To further strengthen law enforcement, the Puntland authorities deployed more police units to Galkayo, headed by the regional Deputy Police Commissioner Col. Muhyadin Ahmed Muse. The reinforcements also restocked and updated the municipal police's equipment, communications facilities and vehicles. By September 2012, these cumulative efforts, along with support and input from local communities, resulted in a marked decrease in vice and extrajudicial incidents. To mark the restoration of peace in the city, former Mayor Saeed Abdi Farah, Col. Muse, and Mudug region Governor Mohamed Yusuf Jama (Tigey) led a symbolic series of night-time strolls in the once volatile Garsoor neighborhood, accompanied by the media as well as other government and police officials. They made stops along the way to catch up with civilians and dropped by several cafés, ending the tour with a press conference where they called for continued collaboration between local residents and the police.
In February 2014, Mudug region Governor Mohamed Yusuf Jama (Tigey) announced that Galkayo would re-establish its district council. The administrative body had been dissolved a year earlier by Puntland's former president. The council reformation is intended to allow the municipal authorities to take part again in various development projects earmarked for Somalia's cities and towns, including the Joint Programme on Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery (JPLG). While district council members had previously been selected by traditional leaders, the Governor called for politicians, elders, women and other local stakeholders to settle on a new mechanism for the appointment process. The Galkayo City Council was subsequently re-established by presidential decree in April 2014. Council members concurrently elected Abdi Aziz Jama Guled as the new Mayor of Galkayo and Hassan Mohamed Khalif as Deputy Mayor.
A lively trading city, Galkayo is a center for local business. Hotels, guest houses, restaurants, supermarkets and newly erected office blocks earmarked for the government and NGOs line the streets, juxtaposed by the tall minarets of masjids. The city also offers numerous social services such as hospitals, petrol stops and police stations, with the former Somali Army barracks kept in good condition and renovated.
Moreover, Galkayo is a hub of calligraphic art, serving as a training ground of sorts for local visual artists. Elaborate murals and phrases in Arabic and English adorn the walls of the city's many office and shop buildings.
In 2012, former Mayor Farah launched seven new major development projects in the city. The latter include the construction of several businesses in the Garsoor and Israa neighborhoods. Along with the Mudug region's Governor Mohamed Yusuf Jama (Tigey), Farah also oversaw the opening of a new construction firm in addition to another water filtration company, Duuh.
In April 2013, the Puntland Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources announced plans to open a new fish market within the year in Galkayo. The project is part of a larger regional development plan that will also see a similar marketplace inaugurated in Qardho, in the model of the already launched Garowe fish market. In conjunction with the Italian government, the Puntland authorities are also slated to open a new livestock market in the city.
In June 2014, the Puntland government launched a new tree-planting campaign in the state, with the regional Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism slated to plant 25,000 trees by the end of the year. Galkayo is among the seven cities and towns earmarked for the reforestation initiative, which also include Bosaso, Dhahar, Qardho, Buuhoodle, Baran and Garowe. The campaign is part of a broader partnership between the Puntland authorities and EU to set up various environmental protection measures in the region, with the aim of promoting reforestation and afforestation.
In March 2015, the Galkayo municipality launched a cleaning campaign in the city. According to head of the local sanitation department Abdullahi Abdirahman, the citywide initiative aims to beautify the area, with garbage heaps removed.
The city has an estimated population of 545,000 inhabitants. Clan tensions in the area have historically been high. The main northern, Puntland-administered section of Galkayo is primarily inhabited by Somalis from the Majeerteen, a Darod clan, while the southern, Galmudug-administered part of the city is mainly inhabited by the Sa'ad Habar Gidir, a Hawiye clan. Leelkase are dominant in Garsor, a village district of Galkayo.
Galkayo has a number of academic institutions. According to the Puntland Ministry of Education, there are 40 primary schools in the Galkayo District. Among these are the Axmed Guray school in Israac, named after Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi (Ahmed Gurey); Al-Qudus in Horumar; and Barkhadle in Garsoor, built in honour of the 13th century scholar and saint Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn (Aw Barkhadle). Secondary schools in the area include Haji Ali Bihi, Omar Samatar, Yasin Nor Hassan and Galkayo High. In addition, several new schools were opened in 2012.
Institutions of higher learning with a presence in the city include the Puntland State University (PSU), Puntland University of Science and Technology (PUST), Galkayo University (GU), and Mudug University (MU). East Africa University (EAU) also has a Galkayo branch, one of its seven campuses in Puntland. Additionally, the public Galkayo Vocational Training Centre (GVTC) and the privately owned Mudug Vocational Training Center (MVTC) provide technical training.
Galkayo is home to Cawaale Stadium, a sporting facility which plays host to many local football clubs. The latter include Comsed FC, RPS FC, Dowladda Hoose FC, Homboboro FC, Telecom FC and Galcom FC. The stadium is currently undergoing renovation work.
In addition, the city has various courts set aside for basketball.
Air transportation is served by the Abdullahi Yusuf International Airport, previously known as the Galkayo Airport. It was renamed on March 25, 2012 in memory of the late Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, the former President of Somalia, who was born in Galkayo. The airport offers flights to Bosaso, Mogadishu, Djibouti and Wajir, among other destinations. It has acted as a buffer zone between Galkayo's two main divisions. Taxes collected by the airport authority are split equally between the Puntland and Galmudug administrations, facilitating relations between the two governments.
Galkayo is traversed by a 750 km north–south highway. It connects major cities in the northern part of the country, such as Bosaso and Garowe, with towns in the south. In 2012, the Puntland Highway Authority (PHA) completed rehabilitation work on the central artery linking Galkayo with Garowe. Plans are also in the works to construct new roads connecting littoral towns in the region to the main thoroughfare. Additionally, the airport road in the middle of the city is being upgraded. In December 2014, Galkayo District Mayor Yacqub Mohamed Abdalla and other Puntland officials likewise laid the foundation for a new tarmac road in western Galkayo. The project was funded by the Puntland administration, with other roads in the broader district also slated to be paved with bitumen in 2015. Among the latter streets, a tar construction project began on the Durdur road in the Garsor suburb in February 2015. The main road in the Central Business District as well as the airport road are concurrently scheduled to be paved.
In September 2013, the Somali federal government signed an official cooperation agreement with its Chinese counterpart in Mogadishu as part of a five year national recovery plan. The pact will see the Chinese authorities reconstruct several major infrastructural landmarks in the Somali capital and elsewhere, as well as the road linking Galkayo with Burao.
Various media organizations are based in Galkayo. These include Radio Daljir, Radio Codka-Nabbada and Radio Codka-Mudug. Radio Gaalkacyo, formerly known as Radio Free Somalia, also broadcasts from the city.
Several establishments in Galkayo offer accommodation. Among these hotels and guest houses are the Kamaal Hotel, the Classic Hotel and Restaurant, and the Saylan Hotel. The Taar City Hotel is especially noted for its domesticated ostriches.
Galkayo consists of the following districts:
- New Israac
- New Garsoor
- Abdirizak Haji Hussein – former Prime Minister of Somalia, and former Secretary General of the Somali Youth League.
- Abdiweli Mohamed Ali – President of Puntland, and former Prime Minister of Somalia.
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- Waris Dirie – model, actress, author and activist.
- Zakaria Mohamed Haji-Abdi – leader of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia.
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