|• Total||43,000 est.|
|Time zone||East Africa Time (UTC+3)|
Garbahaarey is the capital of Gedo, the second largest and sixth most populous region (gobolka) of Somalia. Maj. General Mohamed Siyad Barre, Somalia's longest-serving president, claimed Garbahaarrey as his birthplace in order to get a job in the Italian colonial police force. The city is surrounded by the Gogol Mountain Range.
The population of Garbahaarreey City is estimated to be around 43,000 and most of the city’s inhabitants belong to various sub clans of the Marehan. There are high levels of transmigration between Garbahaarreey and surrounding towns and villages, such as Tuulo Barwaaqo, especially when there is a conflict or natural disasters which affect city.
At the height of the civil war from 1991 to 1994, the population dispersed to many of the two dozen or so villages surrounding the city. Garbahaarreey is about 130 km from the Kenyan border in the Northern Frontier District (NFD).
Garbahaarreey's population growth is at a slower pace compared to many other districts in Somalia, due to the size of the population and lack of agricultural activities. Since the breakout of the civil war in Somalia in early 1991, the city’s population has doubled. Many Garbahaarreey residents make second home in Beled Haawo. In Beled Haawo, many families take advantage of the open-border policy with Kenya and send their children to school in Mandera, Kenya. Likewise, business activities are much broader in Beled Haawo than in Garbahaarreey. Trucks full of goods to and from many parts of Somalia go through Beled Haawo-Mandera border everyday. Garbhaarreey has another business route from Bardera district. Mostly produce from the fertile Jubba River farms in Bardera and Buurdhuubo districts.
Insecurity of the 1990s
Much of the 1990s, the city of Garbahaarreey was the seat of the Somali National Front militia in the early days of the civil war. But then people lost interest in being in a war that only killed more young people, and pressured the militia to evacuate the town; by early 2001 it had come under the control of the Transitional National Government. All activities shifted to Luuq and Beled Haawo. Now Garbahaarreey has a new role to play in the region. Neighboring regions such as NFD has welcomed the new leadership. A safe Gedo is also good for the neighboring regions in Kenya and Ethiopia. This is the new political reality in this age of insecurity in the Horn as a whole.
Since the founding of the city of Garbahaarreey, of all the Gedo region's governors that have occupied the gubernatorial office of the capital, Governor Mohamed Abdinur Iris was the most famous and most influential in terms of actual goals accomplished. Governor Iris (nicknamed Gudoomiye in Somali) implemented some of the most well-known public works projects. Some of his professional achievements include the expansion of the city's only hospital and improvements to the local roads, the latter of which connect some of the region's district seats to the regional capital. Similarly, with his considerable experience abroad, Gedo's former governor Aden Ibrahim Aw Hirsi was believed to be capable of doing much more than had been done in the past for a Somali-administrative region.
New leadership in the 21st century
Somali regions have been getting more and more disconnected from the nation's capital ever since the last central government was overthrown by armed clan militias.
Unlike many other regions in Somalia, Gedo opted for a young, pragmatic, educated, forward-looking kind of new leadership. Aden Ibrahim Aw Hirsi (Aw Xirsi) was chosen as the region's new governor in November 2006. Under Hirsi's stewardship, Gedo was realistically predicted to improve in terms of security, commerce, good governance, and furthering all public services, which bad been lacking for more than a decade and a half. Some old school clan leaders had at that point developed a habit of pitting one clan or sub-clan against another. This hindered many well-meaning efforts aimed at stabilizing southern Somalia.
However, Al-Shabaab, a local Islamist group, opposed Hirsi's western-leaning administration. The group consequently orchestrated a peaceful way to frustrate and ultimately oust the governor by bankrolling a former warlord, Hussein Ismail, the latter of whom then gathered militias and threatened to start a civil war in the region.
In May 2008, faced with the harsh realities of the situation, Hirsi resigned from office and let Ismail assume governorship. Al-Shabaab would later oust Ismail himself in July of that same year.
Future of the regional administration
The Gedo region's political dynamics are fast changing since Ibrahim Aw Xirsi was named the governor of Gedo. The future of Gedo region is on the right direction. There are vast opportunities in uniting the minds and the efforts of all the service providers and businesses in Gedo region. Many Gedo residents remember mid 1990’s when Gedo was said be one of the most profitable place to do businesses in Somalia. Now that a new governor is at the helm of the region, many new peace building efforts and a new focus in the economy are on the table. The population of Garbahaarreey as well as people from other districts of Gedo, most of the former Gedo residents elsewhere in the world, are welcoming the new governor who is believed to be in a position to do more for the people of Gedo.
Gedo Region Support from Diaspora Friends
The new governor, Adam Ibrahim Aw Xirsi and the leaders from the seven districts of the region are already having working relations and this is a new beacon of hope.
Many of the schools and other public services currently functioning in Gedo receive support and leadership from diaspora. HIRDA, SEHO and Markabley Foundation are some of the organizations which fund schools and health centers in the region.
Gedo Administrations in the 1970s and 1980s
Two decades ago, one of Gudoomiye Iris's lasting legacies was the creation of boarding school on the outskirts of the city of Garbahaarreey. Iris was the governor of Gedo much of the 1980s. Many public works projects were in the pipeline when the civil war erupted in Somalia in early 1991.
All previous governors, and those who came after governor Iris, have left for the city or for the region for that matter, little or no progress to show for.
Governor Mohamed Abdinur (Iris) made the most headway in creating substantial public works projects in Gedo region. His administration in the 1980s created a boarding school in the region's capital as well as the expansion of the Garbahaarreey-Buurdhuubo road.
Garbahaarreey in the last thirty years has seen close to dozen governors as compiled by Mohamud Dahir Dhaqane. These are the past and present governors who occupied the governor's office in Garbahaarreey. Past and present governors of Gedo are as follows:
- Cumar Maxamed Guuleed
- Maxamed Nuur Wardheere
- Cali Faarax Xayoow
- Maxamed Cali Xaashi
- Jaalle Axmed Mahdi
- Maxamed Cabdinuur (Iris)
- Cali Maxamed Aadan (Cali Xaashi)
- Axmed Sharmaarke
- Cumar Sh Maxamuud Sh Cabdullahi (Cumar Yare) 1994-1994
- Xuseen Sh Cabdi Ismaaciil (Fareey) 2004-2006
- Aadam Ibraahim Aw Xirsi 2006-2008
- Mohamed Abdi Kaliil 2008-current
- Imaan Cadoow Kaarshe 2012-2014
- David D. Laitin and Said S. Samatar, Somalia: Nation in Search of a State (Boulder: Westview Press 1987), p. 79
- "Horn of Africa, Monthly Review, January - February 2001" (accessed 24 February 2009)