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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, all of the clan chiefs are anti-Somaliland except Garad Jama Garad Ismail who support the presences of Somaliland in Dhulbahante 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

Under the leadership of Sayid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, the Dhulbahante Dervishes waged war against Britain and Ethiopia for over twenty years, which ended with the British Royal Air Force bombing their command center in Taleex in 1920.[9]Since, the majority of the dervish fighters hailed from the Dhulbahante clan, as a consequence the British considered them as hostile clans. [10]

Aerial bombardment of Dervish forts in Taleh

During the regime of Mohamed Siad Barre, the Dhulbahante were the part of the notorious MOD alliance which was collision of Darod clans that were presumed to be in control of the country. [11]

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. 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.[12][13][14]

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."[15] 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.[16][17]

A summarized clan tree of the major Dhulbahante subclans is presented below:[18]

  • 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




  • Garad Jama Garad Ali, Traditional Clan Chief of Dhulbahante Clan.[19]
  • Shirshoore, founder of the Dhulbahante Sultanate
  • Garad Mukhtar Garad Ali

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. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2010-12-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)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. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  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. ^ "Dawn of Civilization".
  10. ^ Adjaye, Joseph K.; Andrews, Adrianne R. Language, Rhythm, & Sound: Black Popular Cultures Into the Twenty-first Century. University of Pittsburgh. p. 47. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  11. ^ Renders, Marleen. Consider Somaliland: State-Building with Traditional Leaders and Institutions. p. 49. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  12. ^ "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. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ "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]
  14. ^ "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. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ Lewis, "Force and Fission in Northern Somali Lineage Structure", American Anthropologist, New Series, 63 (1961), p. 100
  16. ^ Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.55
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ A general survey of the Somaliland Protectorate-1944-1950, p141-144
  19. ^