Dir (clan)

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Regions with significant populations
 Ethiopia n/a
 Djibouti n/a
 Somalia n/a
 Kenya n/a
 United Kingdom n/a
Islam (Sunni, Sufism),
Related ethnic groups
Rahanweyn, Hawiye and other Samaale, and also Isaaq, , Darod or other Somali people

The Dir, official name: Abukar (Somali: Dir, Dirweyn, Direed or Beesha Direed, Arabic: در , قبيلة در , بنو در , قبيلة أبوكار , بنو أبوكار ,‎), is a major and one of the noble Somali clan families. They are geographically spread across 5 countries or Shanta Soomaaliyeed, the 5 Somali regions that make up Greater Somalia: Djibouti, Somaliland, Somalia, Kenya (North Eastern Province) and Ethiopia (the Somali region, but also in the Oromia and Afar regions).[1][2][3][4]


The Dir clan is famously known for leading a revolt against the Italians. This revolt was mainly led by the Biimaal section of the Dir. The Biimaal clan is widely known for leading a resistance against the colonials in southern Somalia.The Biimaal violently resisted the imposition of colonialism and fought against the Italian colonialists of Italian Somaliland in a twenty-year war known as the Biimaal revolt in which many of their warriors assassinated several Italian governors. This revolt can be compared to the war of the Mad Mullah in northern Somalia.[5][6][7] The Biimaal mainly lives in Southern Somalia, the Somali region of Ethiopia, which their Gaadsen sub-clan mainly inhabits and in the NEP region of Kenya.[8][9] The Biimaal are pastoralists. They were also successful merchants and traders in the 19th century.[10] In the 19th century they have engaged in multiple wars with the Geledi clan, which they were victorious in.[10][7]

The chartered city of Dire Dawa or in Somali known as Dire Dhabe is named after the ancestor Dir. According to the "Futuh Al Habasha: Conquest of Abyssinia", the area or settlement was only called Dir around 5 centuries ago.[11]

I.M. Lewis and many sources maintain that the Dir together with the Hawiye trace ancestry through Irir son of Samaale to Banu Hashim Arabian origins with Aqeel Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib.[12][13][14][15][16] Dir is regarded as the father-in-law of Darod, the progenitor of the Darod clan[17] Although some sources state it was the daughter of Hawiye who Darod married.[18][19][20]

Recorded tradition have it that the Dir were one of the original and one of earliest participants in the history of Mogadishu. Of the Dir to participate in the history, Madigan is recorded.[21]

The Dir were supporters of Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi during his 16th century conquest of Abyssinia; especially the Gurgura, Issa, Bursuk and Gadabuursi.[22] In his medieval Futuh Al-Habash documenting this campaign, the chronicler Shihāb al-Dīn indicates that thousands of Dir soldiers took part in Imam Ahmad's Adal Sultanate army.[23]


Dir or Abukar had four sons named:

  • Haytham bin Abukar -Madahweyne Dir
  • Salah bin Abukar - Mandaluug Dir
  • Nuur bin Abukar - Madoobe Dir
  • Khalid bin Abukar - Meha Dir
  • .............................. -Mahad Dir

According to others, Dir had a fifth son, Qaldho Dir. DNA analysis of Dir clan members inhabiting Djibouti found that all of the individuals belonged to the T-M184 paternal haplogroup.[24]


The main sub-clans of the Dir today are the

Political groups[edit]

Political groups associated with the Dir clans include the following groups in Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia:

Clan tree[edit]

The following list is based on Nuova Antologia (1890),[32] I.M. Lewis's book People of the Horn of Africa,[25] and a paper published in March 2002 by Ambroso Guido: Clanship, Conflict and Refugees: An Introduction to Somalis in the Horn of Africa.[33]

Notable Dir Figures[edit]

Historical publications[edit]

  • Bughyaat al-amaal fii taariikh as-Soomaal, published in Mogadishu, Shariif 'Aydaruus Shariif 'Ali
  • Political History of Lower Shabelle, Dr. Mohamed Abukar Mahad (Gaetano)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ambroso, Guido (March 2002). "Clanship, Conflict and Refugees: An Introduction to Somalis in the Horn of Africa" (PDF). p. 6. Retrieved 7 February 2017. 
  2. ^ Ojielo, Ozzonia (May 2010). "Dynamics and Trends of Conflict in Greater Mandera" (PDF). undp.org. UNDP Kenya. p. 7. Retrieved 7 February 2017. Garre live in Southern Somalia, North Eastern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. In Southern Somalia, they live in Kofur near Mogadishu and El Wak District in Gedo Province. In Ethiopia, they live in Moyale, Hudet and Woreda of Liban zone. In Kenya, the Garre inhabit Wajir North and Moyale. 
  3. ^ a b Hayward, R.J.; Lewis, I.M. (2005-08-17). Voice and Power. Routledge. p. 242. ISBN 9781135751753. 
  4. ^ a b Ozzonia (2010), page 7. The Quranyo section of the Garre claim descent from Dirr, who are born of the Irrir Samal.
  5. ^ Ciisa-Salwe, Cabdisalaam M. (1996-01-01). The collapse of the Somali state: the impact of the colonial legacy. HAAN. p. 19. ISBN 9781874209270. 
  6. ^ Abdullahi, Mohamed Diriye (2001-01-01). Culture and Customs of Somalia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 23. ISBN 9780313313332. 
  7. ^ a b Kariye, Badal (2010-07-23). The Kaleidoscopic Lover: The Civil War in the Horn of Africa & My Itinerary for a Peaceful Lover. Author House. p. 83. ISBN 9781452004648. Twenty year war 
  8. ^ Schlee, Günther (1989-01-01). Identities on the Move: Clanship and Pastoralism in Northern Kenya. Manchester University Press. pp. 107, 108, 275 and 99. ISBN 9780719030109. Biimal 
  9. ^ Kefale, Asnake (2013-07-31). Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Ethiopia: A Comparative Regional Study. Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 9781135017989. gadsan 
  10. ^ a b Olson, James Stuart (1996-01-01). The Peoples of Africa: An Ethnohistorical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 97. ISBN 9780313279188. 
  11. ^ ʻArabfaqīh, Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn ʻAbd al-Qādir (2003-01-01). The conquest of Abyssinia: 16th century. Annotation: Dir, According to Huntingford a settlement which may be modern Dire Dawa. Tsehai Publishers & Distributors. p. 24. 
  12. ^ Ahmed, Ali Jimale (1995). The Invention of Somalia. Lawrenceville, NJ: The Red Sea Press Inc. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-932415-98-1. 
  13. ^ Lewis, Ioan. M. (1994). Blood and Bone: The Call of Kinship in Somali Society. Lawrenceville, NJ: The Red Sea Press Inc. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-932415-92-9. 
  14. ^ Lewis, I.M. (2008). Understanding Somali and Somaliland Society: Culture History and Society. Hurst. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-85065-898-6. 
  15. ^ Lewis, I.M. (1998-01-01). Saints and Somalis: Popular Islam in a Clan-based Society. The Red Sea Press. p. 99-Chapter 8. ISBN 9781569021033. 
  16. ^ Ahmed, Ali Jimale (1995-01-01). The Invention of Somalia. The Red Sea Press. p. 246. ISBN 9780932415998. 
  17. ^ Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji (2003-02-25). Historical Dictionary of Somalia. Scarecrow Press. p. 71. ISBN 9780810866041. 
  18. ^ Burton, Sir Richard Francis; Burton, Lady Isabel. The Works of Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: First footsteps in East Africa. Tylston & Edwards. p. 74. where he married a daughter of the Hawiyah tribe: rival races declare him to have been a Galla slave 
  19. ^ Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society. Longmans, Green. 1921-01-01. p. 54. was shipwrecked on the Somali coast where he married a Hawiyah woman 
  20. ^ Burton, Richard Francis (1856-01-01). First Footsteps in East Africa. Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans. p. 104. where he married a daughter of the Hawiyah tribe 
  21. ^ "The Galla in Northern Somaliland (on JSTOR)" (PDF). www.jstor.org. p. 29. Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  22. ^ Sihab ad-Din Ahmad bin'Abd al-Qader, Futuh al-Habasa: The conquest of Ethiopia, translated by Paul Lester Stenhouse with annotations by Richard Pankhurst (Hollywood: Tsehai, 2003), pp. 50, 76
  23. ^ Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn ʻAbd al-Qādir ʻArabfaqīh, Translated by Paul Stenhouse, Richard Pankhurst (2003). The conquest of Abyssinia: 16th century. Tsehai Publishers & Distributors. p. 77. 
  24. ^ Iacovacci, Giuseppe; et al. (2017). "Forensic data and microvariant sequence characterization of 27 Y-STR loci analyzed in four Eastern African countries". Forensic Science International: Genetics. 27: 123–131. doi:10.1016/j.fsigen.2016.12.015. Retrieved 19 January 2018. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lewis, I.M. (1998-01-01). Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar and Saho. Red Sea Press. ISBN 9781569021057. At the end of the book "Tribal Distribution of Somali Afar and Saho" 
  26. ^ Africa Confidential. Miramoor Publications Limited. 1994-01-01. p. 17. 
  27. ^ Ahmed, Ali Jimale (1995-01-01). The Invention of Somalia. The Red Sea Press. p. 131. ISBN 9780932415998. 
  28. ^ Verdier, Isabelle (1997-05-31). Ethiopia: the top 100 people. Indigo Publications. p. 13. ISBN 9782905760128. 
  29. ^ Regional & Federal Studies. Volume 24, Issue 5, 2014. Special Issue: Federalism and Decentralization in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ethnic Decentralization and the Challenges of Inclusive Governance in Multiethnic Cities: The Case of Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.
  30. ^ "Alert Series - Somalia, Things Fall Apart 1993" (PDF). hrlibrary.umn.edu. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  31. ^ "SDA (Gadabursi)" http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/ins/somala93.pdf
  32. ^ a b Protonotari, Francesco (1890-01-01). Nuova Antologia (in Italian). Direzione della Nuova Antologia. p. 343. 
  33. ^ Ambroso (2002), page 6 and clan tables after page 64.
  34. ^ Lewis, I.M. (1998-01-01). Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar and Saho. Red Sea Press. p. 25. ISBN 9781569021057. 
  35. ^ Abdullahi, p. 172.
  36. ^ Johnson, p. xv.
  37. ^ Phillips, Sarah. Developmental Leadership Program – Policy and Practice for Developmental Leaders, Elites and Coalitions Political Settlements and State Formation: The Case of Somaliland University of Sydney, December 2013, page 9.
  38. ^ The Indian Ocean Newsletter — PM Desalegn picks his candidate to head IGAD "Abdirahman Duale Beyle, a former Somali Foreign Minister" "an economist who hails from the Gadabursi community."
  39. ^ "Vice President Saylici (whose Gadabursi)"
  40. ^ "Nominated Ministers and Their Clans". Goobjoog. 28 January 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  41. ^ ʻArabfaqīh, Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn ʻAbd al-Qādir (2003-01-01). The conquest of Abyssinia: 16th century. The Habar Makadur, underneath the page as a note [I.M. Lewis] by Richard Pankhurst. Tsehai Publishers & Distributors. p. 27. 
  42. ^ Lewis, I.M. (1998). Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar and Saho. The Gadabursi. Red Sea Pr; Subsequent edition (August 1998): Red Sea Pr; Subsequent edition (August 1998). p. 25. ISBN 978-1569021040. There are two main fractions, the Habr Afan and Habr Makadur, formerly united under a common hereditary chief (ogaz). 
  43. ^ page 210
  44. ^ geeskadmin (2014-12-10). "Kenya: Ethiopia Replaced Ambassador Shemsedin Ahmed for security reasons - Geeska Afrika Online". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  45. ^ Untitled "Mawlid Hayir Hassan, Regional Vice president," page 27.
  46. ^ The Indian Ocean Newsletter — Rise of SPDP in Addis gives green light for internal purge ""including the Vice President of SNRS, Mawlid Hayir."
  47. ^ Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji (2003-02-25). Historical Dictionary of Somalia. Scarecrow Press. p. 199. ISBN 9780810866041. Sheikh Abdi Abitkar “Gaafle” 
  48. ^ Lewis, I.M. (1958-01-01). "The Gadabuursi Somali Script". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 21 (1/3): 134–156. JSTOR 610496. 
  49. ^ Rayne, Henry a (2015-08-08). Sun, Sand and Somals; Leaves from the Note-Book of a District Commissioner in British Somaliland. BiblioLife. ISBN 9781297569760. 
  50. ^ Farah, Rachad (2013-09-01). Un embajador en el centro de los acontecimientos (in Spanish). Editions L'Harmattan. p. 17. ISBN 9782336321356. 
  51. ^ As indicated in Morin (2005:640) the name of “Cote francaise des Somalis” itself is said to have been proposed by hağği Diideh (Mahad-Ase clan of Gedebursi. He was Prosperous merchant of Zayla who built the first Mosque in Djibouti Ğami ar-Rahma in 1891) to the French administration in imitation of British Somaliland, page 92
  52. ^ Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji (2003-02-25). Historical Dictionary of Somalia. Scarecrow Press. p. 247. ISBN 9780810866041. 
  53. ^ Yussur Abrar (Dir/Gadabursi), who hails from Borama in Somaliland