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Giohar, Villabruzzi
(Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi)
An aerial view of Jowhar
An aerial view of Jowhar
Jowhar is located in Somalia
Location in Somalia
Coordinates: 2°47′N 45°30′E / 2.783°N 45.500°E / 2.783; 45.500
Country Somalia
State Hirshabelle
RegionMiddle Shabelle
 • TypeMayor-Council-Commission
 • Total10 sq mi (25 km2)
300 ft (100 m)
 • Total520,000
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)
Area code(s)061
Shebelle River

Jowhar (Somali: Jowhaar, Arabic: جوهر‎, Italian: Giohar, formerly Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi or simply Villabruzzi) is the capital city of Hirshabelle state of Somalia. Jowhar is also the administrative capital of Middle Shabelle region of Somalia.

Along with Baidoa, it used to form the joint administrative capital of the Transitional Federal Government, which it captured from the Islamic Courts Union.

The city lies 90 km (50 mi) along a major road north of the national capital of Mogadishu.


During the Middle Ages, Jowhar and much of the surrounding area in southern Somalia was governed by the Ajuran Empire.[1] The town later came under the administration of the Hiraab Imamate in the late 17th century after the collapse of the powerful Ajuran Empire. At the turn of the 20th century, Jowhar was incorporated into Italian Somaliland. After independence in 1960, the city was made the center of the official Jowhar District.

Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi[edit]

Jowhar Albergo Hotel 1938

The Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi was founded by a senior member of the Italian Royal Family, H.R.H. Principe Luigi Amedeo, Duca degli Abruzzi in 1920, who first came to the African continent in 1905 and liked the place. The Duke raised funds to build dams, roads, a railway, schools, hospitals, a church and a mosque. He eventually married a Somali woman and died in his village.[2]

The village called Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi (or Villabruzzi) was founded as an agricultural settlement in Italian Somalia experimenting with new cultivation techniques.[citation needed] In 1926, the colony comprised 16 villages, with some 3,000 Somali and 200 Italian inhabitants.[citation needed] It was commonly known as Villabruzzi.[citation needed]

Starting around 1911, Italians like the Duca degli Abruzzi started to take the local farmers and resettle them in specific new villages in an attempt to improve the economy of Italian Somalia. The area around Villabruzzi was the most agriculturally developed of Somalia before World War II and had some food industries.[3]

Administrative capital[edit]

As part of a 2004 agreement, Jowhar and the town of Baidoa were to form a joint administrative capital of the Transitional Federal Government, sited away from Mogadishu for security reasons. Continued fighting threatened to derail the peace process. However, in July 2005, President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed relocated to the town from his base in Bosaso, moving the process forward and joining Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi, who had already been resident in the town for a month. Part of the parliament became based in Jowhar, while some ministries were established in Mogadishu.[4] By February 2006, despite Ghedi's security concerns, the two leaders had left to Baidoa, where it was decided the parliament would convene.[5]


The district had estimated population of 269,851 as of 2014, a survey was done by (UNDP) in 2014 and it is primarily inhabited by Abgaal and Gaaljecel clan of Hawiye.[6]

Recent history[edit]

On December 27, 2006, the internationally backed transitional government forces, united with Ethiopian troops, recaptured Jowhar from the Islamic Courts Union.[7]

On May 17, 2009, the Islamist al-Shabab militia took the town,[8] and imposed new rules, including a ban on handshaking between men and women.[9]

On December 9, 2012, Somali National Army forces assisted by AMISOM troops re-captured the city from the militants.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lee V. Cassanelli, The Shaping of Somali Society: Reconstructing the History of a Pastoral People, 1600-1900, (University of Pennsylvania Press: 1982), p.102.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2013-11-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "SOMALIA UN PAESE DIMENTICATO". Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  4. ^ Interim Somali government to relocate to Baidoa and Jowhar Archived 2006-06-22 at the Wayback Machine, Voice of Africa, 23 March 2005
  5. ^ "Somali PM unhappy with new deal". 6 April 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018 – via
  6. ^ "Jowhar Semi-Quantitative Evaluation of Access and Coverage (SQUEAC) - 22st December 2016 to 9th January 2017 - Final Report - Somalia | ReliefWeb". 2017-01-09. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  7. ^ Ethiopian, Somali Troops Regain Jowhar, FOX News, 27 December 2006
  8. ^ Somali militants capture key town, BBC, 17 May 2009
  9. ^ "Mixed-sex handshakes banned". 6 April 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018 – via
  10. ^ "In Somalia, African Union and gov't troops take town from Islamist extremists of al-Shabab". Associated Press. 9 December 2012. Archived from the original on 11 January 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2012.


External links[edit]