Page semi-protected


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Regions with significant populations
Somali and Arabic
Related ethnic groups
Majeerteen, Dishiishe, Warsangali and other Harti and Darod groups

The Dhulbahante (Somali: Dhulbahante, Arabic: البهانتة‎) is a subclan of Daarood Somali clan that Settles in 3 regions in Northern Somalia's Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn regions from the northern tip of Coastal Sanaag, to Southern tip to Far-hereri, Dollo, Somali region of Ethiopia to western Buhoodle. The Dhulbahante clan is part of the larger Darod Tribe. The clan is known for the resistance of the British colonists which the Dhulbahante fought for over 20 years. The Darwish is now a named after almost every regional army in Somalia.The Dhulbahante clan is part of Puntland regional government Which they created in 1998.[clarification needed][1] They also have a huge presence in Southern Somalia, especially Kismayo, Lower Juba region and the Dollo region of Somali region of Ethiopia.


Currently, there are 13 active Garaads (clan chiefs). The most senior Garaad of the traditional Dhulbahante leaders is Garad Jama Garad Ali.[2][3] Politically, most of the clan chiefs are anti-Somaliland while others support the presences of Somaliland in their territory.[4]


The Dhulbahante settle in three regions in Northern Somalia. While they make a large percentage of the population in Sool, Sanaag and Cayn regions, they also settle in Southern Somalia Kismayo, Lower Juba region and Dollo region of Ethiopia.[5][6][7]


19th century

19th-century explorer C.J Cruttenden on the Dhulbahante and their horse breed:

"The Dulbahanta are a nation who fight chiefly on horseback, their arms being two spears and a shield. Their horses are powerful and courageous; the breed descended, according to Somali tradition, from the stud of Suleiman, the son Of David, and consequently is highly valued. The Dulbahanta, as far as I have seen of them, are a fine martial race of men, second to none...either in conduct or appearance".[8]

Dervish Period

In 1899 after winning the support of the eastern Habr Yunis clans, Aden Madobe of the Habar Jeclo, and sections of the Dhulbahante, the Dervish leaders Hassan and Sultan Nur then sent a delegation to the Chief of the Dhulbahante clan, Garad Ali Garad Mahamud, enjoining him and his clan to participate in the rebellion against the British. The Garaad did not want to be under the British nor did he wanted to be under the authority of the Dervish, instead he wanted to retain his autonomy as clan chief. After meeting with Hassan and his dervish council a heated debate ensued and before leaving the Garaad concluded by saying, "I am the Ruler of Nugaal and its people, their management is mine and i expect everybody to respect it". Garad Ali also sent a letter reassuring the Consul-General of British Somaliland of his loyalty. This enraged Hassan and so he sent a team of assassins to kill the Garaad and 12 prominent Dhulbahante Sheikhs who also refused to join the Dervish state. News of the assassination spread and outraged sections of the Dhulbahante who subsequently left the Dervish and threatened to attack Hassan, leaving only Hassan's maternal clan, the Ali Geri as his only Dhulbahante allies.[9][10][11] According to British Army officer John William Carnegie Kirk, The Rer Hagar, Rer Wais Adan and Ba Idris sub-clans were considered friendlies by the British Somaliland administration, a term used to signify clans that were British Allies against the Dervish.[12]

On July 1901 the British received an intelligence report indicating that the Dervish were camped at Ferdidin. Immediately the Somaliland Camel Corps supported by 350 Dhulbahante Horsemen were sent to attack. Eric John Eagles Swayne commanding the attack noted that the Dervish forces had a considerable number of Majeerteen Riflemen armed with Martini-Henry guns. Swayne's forces had managed to scatter and drive the Dervish deep into Italian Territory. Hassan's cattle and Sultan Nur's Camels were looted by the Dhulbahante during the battle. The Dervish lost many soldiers, Hassan's brother-in-law Gaibdeed, who was also the brother of Dervish commander Haji Sudi, died in battle.[13]

Hassan went on to wage war on the Dhulbahante clans that refused his call to resist the British. In 1904 Hassan attacked and punished the British allied Jama Siad clan.

The London Gazette reported:

On the 7th February, the Mullah had dispatched another raiding force against our Jama Siad friendly tribes, 100 miles to the east of the scene of his raid of the 13th February, and here again our tribes suffered heavily. Burao and Berbera became filled with destitute refugees and 2000 persons were fed daily at Burao alone.[14][15]

In 1908 the Dhulbahante raided the Dervish, killing many men and looting their camels. Hassan sent a letter to the British Commissioner Cordeaux, requesting his camels be returned and Blood money be paid.

Excerpt from Hassan's letter to Cordeaux :

Your people, the Dolbahanta tribe, have killed fifteen of our men and looted eighty-four camels. I do not know if Abdulla Shahari reported this to you: if he did the fault lies with you; if not, I do hereby acquaint you of it. You are requested to restore to us our camels and the blood shed by your people [16]

Somaliland Camel Corps

1912 was a tumultuous year for the Dhulbahante clans inhabiting Bohotle and the Ain valley. The clans of Bohotle being allies of the British, were set upon and attacked by Hassan and his Dervish army, forcing them to evacuate and seek refuge in Burao, Berbera and Haud among the Isaaq clans. British colonial governor Horace Byatt reported that 800 dhulbahante refugees arrived in Berbera, but feared that they could not be protected nor fed properly, stating that only 300 native infantry and 200 King's African Rifles were in Berbera and insufficient to hold off a Dervish attack. Byatt also raised concerns for the Dhulbahante refugees en route to British controlled territory and the possibility of them being looted by hostile clans, particularly the Habr Yunis.[17]

Baron Ismay's intelligence report on the Dervish raids on the Ali Gheri and the Dolbahanta clan's of Bohotle:

No important move was made till November 1911, when he successfully attacked the Ali gheri at Bohotleh. He followed this up in February 1912 with an attack on the Dolbahanta at Eildab, In this engagement our people lost all their stock and were reduced to starvation. They flocked to Berbera demanding to be supported. Yet another attack on Bohotleh in March resulted in the remaining Dolbahanta in that vicinity being looted and driven out. Bohotleh remained in Dervish hands.[18]

British colonial administrator Sir Douglas Jardine describing the plight of the Dhulbahante writes:

The most pitiful lot of all fell to certain sections of the Dolbahanta. Ousted from their ancestral grazing grounds by the Mullah's advance and bereft of all their stock, the remnants wandered like veritable Ishmaelites in the Ishaak country, deprived of Asylum and almost all access to the coast.[19]

In 1913 the Dervish raided and looted herds from the Dhulbahante. In order to get back their herds, 300 Dhulbahante warriors along with the Somaliland Camel Corps commanded by Richard Corfield pursued and attacked the Dervish at Dul Madoba. They failed to regain their livestock and Corfeild was killed in battle.[20]

Aerial bombardment of Dervish forts in Taleh

After the 1920 Bombing campaign of the Taleh fort and the Dervish retreat into Ethiopia, Tribal Chief Haji Mohammad Bullaleh (Haji the Hyena), commanded a 3000 strong army that consisted of Dhulbahante (Rer Hagar), Habr Yoonis and Habar Jeclo horsemen and pursued the fleeing Dervishes. They attacked Muhammad Abdallah Hassan and his army in the Ogaden region and swiftly defeated them, causing Muhammad to flee to the town of Imi. Haji and his army looted 60,000 livestock and 700 rifles from the dervishes, which dealt a severe blow to them economically, a blow from which they did not recover.[21]

Dulbahante traditional clan chiefs declaration

An historic summit was convened in Boocame from November 15 – November 23 of 2007, by the traditional leaders of the Dulbahante (Dhulbahante) sub-clan of the clan. Ciidanka Qaranka Jamhuuriyada in Somaliland. The Dulbahante traditional chiefs issued an official communiqué on October 15, 2007 regarding the secessionist Somaliland region's militias’ aggression and occupation of Laascaanood (LasAnod), the regional capital of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn regions of Somaliland.[22][23][24]

All 14 major traditional chiefs of the Dulbahante clan attended this summit. In addition to the traditional chiefs, there were many intellectuals (women & men), students and civic organizations from outside and inside of the country attending the summit. All chiefs unanimously signed declaration communiqué on November 22, 2007.

The communiqué states that the Dulbahante clan is not part of (and was never part of) and does not recognize the administration that calls itself "Somaliland" and that there are no agreements between Dulbahante clan and "Somaliland", in the past or the present. The communiqué also calls for an immediate end of hostility, return of customary peaceful co-existences among clans and an unconditional removal of the Somaliland militia from their territory. Finally, chiefs declared that the Dulbahante clan stands for the Somali unity.

In the anniversary of their historic summit in Boocame in November 2007, the Dulbahante Traditional Chiefs (SSC Traditional Leaders Council) reiterated their previous declaration (above) that they are not part of the Somaliland separatist movement. The council sent its pronouncement to the European Union, United Nations Agencies and all NGOs that operate within Somalia.

Clan tree

There is no clear agreement on the clan and sub-clan structures and many lineages are omitted. Within the Dhulbahante clan, according to the researches of I.M. Lewis, the Dhulbahante are divided into 50 groups which pay diyya (or blood money for their members. These are gathered into four lineages of unequal size: the Muuse Si'iid, who made up the majority of the clan circa 1960, and in turn is highly segmented into numerous lineages; the Mahamad Garaad kingship of the Dhulbahante clan, also known as the Bahararsame), which Lewis estimated to number 120,000 male members at the time, and the Malbammad Si'iid, and the Yuunis Si'iid, which he described as "small, insignificant, and incapable of independent political action."[25] The following listing is taken from the World Bank's Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics from 2005 and the United Kingdom's Home Office publication, Somalia Assessment 2001.[26][27]

A summarized clan tree of the major Dhulbahante subclans is presented below:[28]

  • Darod
        • Kabalalax
        • Kombe
        • Harti
        • Siciid
        • Musse
        • Cabdallah
        • Habrwaa
        • Shirshoore
                      • Farah Garaad
                      • Garaad Cabdalle
                      • Mahamad Garaad [Bahararsame]
                      • Ahmad Garaad
                      • Guleed Garaad [Barkad]
                      • Ali Garaad
                      • Garaad Yasiin
                      • Mahmud Garaad
                      • Siyaad Mahmud
                      • Ugadhyahan Siyaad
                      • Jama Siyaad

Notable Dhulbahante people




Inventors and founders

Writers and musicians

Military personnel



  • Abdi Bile, Somalia's most decorated athlete with the most Somali national records
  • Mohamed Suleiman, first ethnic Somali to win an Olympic medal


  1. ^ Lund, Christian; Eilenberg, Michael (2017-05-04). Rule and Rupture: State Formation Through the Production of Property and Citizenship. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781119384809.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2010-12-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2010-12-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) convention was called for by Garad Jama Garad Ali, the highest-ranking traditional elder of the Dhulbahante clan. Garad Jama reportedly told local media that the Bo'ame conference will be "independent of [both] Somaliland and Puntland."
  4. ^ "Somalia: The Bo'ame Declaration of Dhulbahante Clan Elders". 2007-11-22. Archived from the original on 2011-12-19. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  5. ^ Hoehne, Markus V. Borders & Borderlands as resources in the Horn of Africa. p. 113. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  6. ^ Gebrewold, Belachew. Anatomy of Violence: Understanding the systems of conflict and violence in Africa. Ashgate Publishing Ltd. p. 130. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  7. ^ "EASO Country of Origin Information Report Somalia Security Situation" (PDF).
  8. ^ "The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society Volume 19 p.67".
  9. ^ The Collapse of the Somali state, p.29-30
  10. ^ Official History of the Operation Volume 1, p.49
  11. ^ The Mad Mullah of Somaliland, by Douglas Jardine, p.44
  12. ^ "A Grammar of the Somali Language: With Examples in Prose and Verse, by J. W. C. Kirk, p.142".
  13. ^ Command Papers volume 69 1902. p. 15.
  14. ^ The London Gazette, September 2, 1904.
  15. ^ The dervish were brutal in their sudden attacks on the tribes , sparing not women and children and it has become a mark of their 20-year-long campaign [Cd. 1394] Africa. No. 1 (1903). Correspondence respecting the rising of the Mullah Muhammed Abdullah in Somaliland and consequent military operations, 1901-1902. pp. 7–9
  16. ^ The Mad mullah of Somaliland, p.162
  17. ^ "Churchill and the Mad Mullah of Somaliland: Betrayal and Redemption 1899-1921 p.147".
  18. ^ "King's College London, King's collection : Ismay's summary as Intelligence Officer (1916-1918) of Mohammed Abdullah Hassan".
  19. ^ The Mad mullah of Somaliland, p.158
  20. ^ "Churchill and the Mad Mullah of Somaliland: Betrayal and Redemption 1899-1921 p.156".
  21. ^ "Churchill and the Mad Mullah of Somaliland, p. 209".
  22. ^ "The Declaration of Clan Elders from Sool, Sanaag and Cayn Regions (North Somalia)" (Press release). Declaration of Dulbahante Traditional clan chiefs. November 23, 2007. Archived from the original on November 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
  23. ^ "SSC TRADITIONAL LEADERS COUNCIL (Sool, Sanaag and Cayn Regions of Northern Somalia Tribal chiefs)" (PDF) (Press release). Declaration of Dulbahante Traditional clan chiefs. November 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-28.[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ "Declaration of the Consultative Conference of the Dhulbahante in the Diaspora -- Guiding Principles" (Press release). Declaration of the Consultative Conference of the Dhulbahante in the Diaspora. April 24, 2011. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
  25. ^ Lewis, "Force and Fission in Northern Somali Lineage Structure", American Anthropologist, New Series, 63 (1961), p. 100
  26. ^ Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.55
  27. ^ Country Information and Policy Unit, Home Office, Great Britain, Somalia Assessment 2001, Annex B: Somali Clan Structure Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine, p. 43
  28. ^ A general survey of the Somaliland Protectorate-1944-1950, p141-144
  29. ^