The Dhulbahante ( so, Dhulbahante, ar, دلبةنتئ) is a Somali clan family, part of the Harti clan which itself belongs to the largest Somali clan-family — the Darod. In Somaliland, the Dhulbahante primarily settle in the regions of Sool, Somalia, Sool, Sanaag and Togdheer. They also have a significant presence in Jubbaland, southern Somalia, particularly in the city of Kismayo. In Ethiopia, they settle in the Dollo Zone specifically in the woredas of Boh (woreda), Boh, Danot (woreda), Danot and Werder (woreda), Werder. The clan is known for its armed resistance against the British Empire and the historic role it assumed in support of the Dervish movement (Somali), Dervish Movement which waged a bloody war against colonial powers from 1899 to 1920. Due to this legacy, the name ''Darawiish'' (Dervishes) has almost become synonymous with the clan's name. The clan is divided into two major sub-clans: Mohamoud Garad and Farah Garad. The other sub-clans amalgamate in a loose political and social clan confederation referred to as Baho Nugaaled. The supreme Garad of the Dhulbahante is Garad Jama Garad Ali.


The extended formal name of Dhulbahante, the clan's forefather was ''Said Harti, Saleh Abdi Darod, Mohamed Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti''. According to Somali tradition, his mother hailed from the Isaaq sub-clan of Arap. This maternal connection has enticed a mutual affinity between the two clans. The primary homeland of the clan straddles the Haud region and the Nugaal Valley, hence segments of the clan who settle in either plateau are colloquially referred to as the ''Reer Hawd'' and ''Reer Nugaaled''. Currently, the clan has 13 active Garads. The most senior Garaad of these traditional leaders is Garad Jama Garad Ali who succeeded his uncle Garad Abdiqani Garad Jama. The use of the traditional hereditary title of ''Garad'' (which is most widespread among the Dhulbahante), was first inaugurated by the great ancestor Garad Shirshore who previously served as a ''Somali aristocratic and court titles, Ugaas''. The clan boasts a heroic history of anti-colonial resistance. In a bloody war against the British Empire the Dhulbahante along with several other clans propelled the Dervish movement (Somali), Dervish movement to defeat the empire in a series of military expeditions. The rebellion caused the death of one-third (or 200,000) of the population of the British Somaliland, Somaliland protectorate, most severely effecting the Dhulbahante clan with whom there was no treaty of protection. John Drysdale and Ioan M. Lewis, who had conducted research in British Somaliland in the 1950s, noted that there was not that much of an attachment of the clan to Dervish history at that time. Nevertheless, to honor the Dervish freedom fighters, the name ''Daraawiish'' is now given to almost all regional paramilitaries in Somalia. During Mohamed Siad Barre's regime, the clan was part of an alliance of Darod clans that was presumed to dominate state authority in Somalia. The acronym MOD Alliance, MOD was used to refer to the alliance which was composed of the Marehan, Ogaden (clan), Ogaden and Dhulbahante. In early 1993, the Dhulbahante held a conference in Boocame while Somaliland's second national conference was underway in Borama. The result of the conference was the establishment of a 33 member council ''(Khusuusi)'' which would administer the Sool, Somalia, Sool, Sanaag, and Puntland–Somaliland dispute#Ayn, Cayn regions in the absence of a central government in Somalia.

Puntland and Somaliland

In 1998, the Dhulbahante established the State of Puntland with other Harti clans due to common kinship. Hence, based on this ethnic composition and clan ties to Puntland, voters in Sanaag and especially Sool, Somalia, Sool were decidedly less supportive of Somaliland’s 2001 referendum on the constitution and independence. Although the Dhulbahante community was split over the 2007 conflict, with some aligning with Somaliland and its troops in the area of Las Anod, in the Bo'ame Declaration of 2007 all Dhulbahante clan chiefs rejected Somaliland's secessionist agenda and demanded the withdrawal of its militia from the clans traditional territory. In aftermath of Somaliland taking control of Las Anod in 2007, the clan became disillusioned with Puntland, consequently a new unionist movement which aimed to remove Somaliland from Dhulbahante territories emerged. The movement was called the Unity and Salvation Authority of the SSC Regions of Somalia ''( so, Hogaanka Badbaadada iyo midaynta SSC (HBM-SSC))'', and it was spearheaded by Suleiman Haglotosiye, Saleban Essa Ahmed and founded in 2009. The most important traditional leaders who lent their support to the SSC Movement were Garad Jama Garad Ali, Garad Jama Garad Ismail, and Garad Ali Burale Hassan. In the 2010 Ayn clashes, Kalshale Conflict, Somaliland forces and SSC militia clashed in the Ayn region in 2011, whilst more clashes were reported to have occurred in 2012. In 2012, the SSC movement was replaced by Khatumo State after the Khaatumo II conference held at Taleh. The conference was a development with up to 5,000 people from the Dhulbahante community gathering in the town. Under the leadership of Ali Khalif Galaydh, Khatumo State commenced peace talks with Somaliland and subsequently the two entities reached an agreement at the town of Aynabo in October 2017 with Khatumo joining Somaliland, ceasing to exist. Nonetheless, the Dhulbahante still seek a united Somalia and overwhelming oppose Somaliland's independence aspirations.


In Somaliland, the Dhulbahante almost exclusively inhabit the Sool, Somalia, Sool region. Michael Walls on the Dhulbahante and Sool, Somalia, Sool says:
"The residents of Sool overwhelmingly hail from a single clan grouping in the form of the Dhulbahante [...]. Sool boasts a degree of kinship homogeneity that is rare even in the Somali Horn".
The clan inhabits Taleh, most of Xudun District, Hudun and most of Las Anod District, Las Anod districts. In a survey conducted in 2011 of Las Anod District 92.5% of the respondents identified as Dhulbahante whilst 2.5%, 1.5% and 1.3% identified as Hawiye, Bantu peoples, Bantu and Isaaq respectively. In the Sanaag region the clan is only present in the Erigavo district along with the Garhajis, Habr Yonis and Habr Je'lo clans, whilst well represented in the regional capital of Erigavo. Similarly in Togdheer, the clan solely lives in the district of Buuhoodle. The district of Buuhoodle was made a region by the state of Puntland and its name was changed to Cayn in 2004. Hence, the popular abbreviation SSC which denotes the traditional Dhulbahante territories within Somalia. In Somalia, they inhabit the Jubaland state, where there is a long settled Dhulbahante trading community in the port city of Kismayo and its surrounding district. In Ethiopia, the Dhulbahante clan settle in the Somali Region, Somali Regional State. They are present in the Dollo Zone, specifically in the woredas of Boh (woreda), Boh, Danot (woreda), Danot and Werder (woreda), Werder. In Kenya, there is a small but notable Dhulbahante community in the North Eastern Province (Kenya), North Eastern Province. During the Darawiish era, the Bah Udgoon, a Qayaad division had a garesa (dervish fortification) at Qollad near modern Galmudug, whilst the Ali Gheri, Nur Ahmed and Xassan Ugaas clans settled on the east coast of Nugaal at Illig on the modern-day Puntland coast. During arid soil conditions, contemporary pastoral Dhulbahante nomads likewise divagate halfway towards the Puntland coast. The Dhulbahante exclusively settle in the northern Somali cities of Las Anod and Buuhoodle. Moreover, they are well represented in the cities of Erigavo and Garowe. The Baho Nugaaled, particularly the Ugaasyo Dhulbahante, are the most geographically dispersed, with towns such as Yoocada in Garowe district and Bandar Salam in Middle Juba. Somali academic Said Sheikh Samatar stated that the Nugaal, which is formed of the Nugaal plateau beneath the Cal range, and the Nugaal valley in the Sool province, is a Dhulbahante territory, and the site of the biggest Darawiish confrontations:
The climate of the Nugaal, a region which constitutes the heartlands of the Dulbahante, is highly suited for breeding and rearing ponies... The country of the Dulbahante is the prize of pastoral habitat: well-watered and well-pastured, the Nugaal valley provides a welcome sanc-tuary from the perennial twin scourges of Somali pastoralism, thirst and starvation... Demoralized and disorganized, the Dervishes were forced to disperse all over the Nugaal and the Haud after their resounding defeat by the British expeditionary force. Not only did they sustain heavy casualties (7,000 to 8,000 in dead and injured) but also the loss of 20,000 of their best war-horses


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".
The clan boundary between the Habr Je'lo, a clan of the Isaaq clan-family, and the Dhulbahante clan during the 19th century was traditionally in ''Laba Garday'', situated between War Idaad and Wadamago.

Dervish Period

Dervish forces mostly hailed from the Dhulbahante. The Dhulbahante in Buuhodle were particularly the first and most persistent supporters of the Dervish movement (Somali), Dervish Movement. Höhne on the Dhulbahante and the Dervish movement (Somali), Dervish Movement states:
"The majority of them came from the Dhulbahante clan. Members of this clan were camel herders and renown warriors (Cruttenden 1849). The British had not concluded a ‘treaty of protection’ with them, as they had done with the inhabitants of the coast, who belonged to various Isaaq or Dir clans."
Along with the Dhulbahante, the Ogaden, and segments of the Isaaq such as the Habr Je'lo and eastern sections of the Habr Yunis clan loyal to Nur Ahmed Aman, Sultan Nur were part of the Movement. The Dervish Movement resisted colonial occupation, especially the British who were aided by Isaaq troops. The Achilles heel of the British empire in the British Somaliland, Somaliland Protectorate was the un-administered east, inhabited by the Dhubahante, Warsangali and a few sections of the Isaaq. In this light Douglas Jardine explains that British priority was to keep the former two clans neutral, as the British administration and its allied clans would not be able to resist them without outside aid. The British found it exceptionally difficult to administer the hinterland in the east, as Jess reports "in 1901 a joint Anglo-Ethiopian expedition of almost 17,000 men failed to accomplish anything other than to drive the Mullah temporarily across the border into the Mijertein". In later years, the British increased their engagement with the hinterland to suppress the movement, yet the previously "insignificant corner of the Empire" proved to be exasperating and costly both financially and in human life. In July 1901, the British made attempts to expel the Dervish Movement out of the Dhulbahante territory, to achieve this they devised a plan to crush "the Dhulbahante who willingly and persistently assisted" the dervishes. A British colonial Officer, Roy Irons believed the Dhulbahante joined the Dervish movement more out of fear rather than ideological devotion and in order to demonstrate British supremacy and power over these clans it was necessary to crush them. Roy Irons'','' the author of Churchill and the Mad Mullah of Somaliland notes: The British consistently intended the demise and destruction of the Dhulbahante who were avid Dervishes. In this Regard, British Commissioner Eric Swayne was delighted in their slaughter of the Dhulbahante clans. Sessional Papers - Volume 69 - Page 7

Garad Ali's patricide and dissent

Despite this, the Chief of the Dhulbahante clan, Garad Ali Garad Mohamoud, did not want to be under British occupation nor under Dervish authority, instead he wanted to retain his autonomy as clan chief. The Garad and Sayyid Mohamed Abdullah Hassan had a heated altercation which concluded with Garad Ali supposedly saying:
"I am the Ruler of Nugaal and its people, their management is mine and I expect everybody to respect it".
Subsequently, reports denote either his patricide at the hands of his Dervish son, or that Hassan ordered the assassination of the Garad. As Douglas Jardine reports, Hassan took this action after the Garad reassured the British that their relations remained unchanged, although owing to the influence of Hassan his clan no longer obeyed his orders. Issa-Salwe says news of the assassination stunned the Somali clans, consequently Hassan was only left with his maternal clan, the Ali Geri of the Dhulbahante. According to John William Carnegie Kirk, most Dhulbahante clans sided with the Dervishes, expect the three sub-clans of Rer Hagar, Rer Wais Adan and Ba Idris among others who were considered friendly by the British.

British friendlies and Dervish raids

Sections of the Dhulbahante like the Reer Hagar of the Farah Garad and other sections inhabiting Buuhoodle fought alongside the British against the Dervishes after being raided by the Mullah's forces. Dhulbahante friendlies would also sometimes raid the Dervishes, looting their livestock as well as weapons. The book ''A Fine Chest of Medals: The Life of Jack Archer'' reports: In 1904 the Dervishes attacked the Jama Siad sub-division of the Mohamoud Garad clan. The Dervishes looted 400 camels while killing two men. ''The Parliamentary Debates (official Report).: House of Commons'' in 1913 notes: The British War Office similarly notes that apart from the Farah Garad sub-division the rest of the Dhulbahante clan joined out of fear of the Mullah or by personal gain: In 1908 the Dhulbahante once again raided the Dervish and looted their camels. Hassan sent a letter to the British Commissioner Cordeaux, requesting his camels be returned and Blood money (restitution), blood money be paid. An excerpt from Hassan's letter to Cordeaux reads:
Your people, the Dolbahanta tribe, have killed fifteen of our men and looted eighty-four camels. I do not know if Abdallah Shihiri, 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
In 1912 the Dervish army compelled friendly segments of the Dhulbahante clan to retire to the British controlled territory to gain protection. This was after the Mullah had constantly launched raids that took a heavy toll on the clan. ''World War 1 at Sea - Contemporary Accounts'' reports: The Farah Garad subclan was also raided by the Dervishes, specifically the Ali Gheri subclan, who 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. Hastings Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay, Baron Ismay in his intelligence report on the Dervish raids on the Ali Gheri and the Dolbahanta clan's of Bohotle notes:
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.
In June 1913 the Farah Garad subclan suffered yet another Dervish raid on their towns at Udaweina. General Richard Corfield had in response moved out to the area with his troops to support the shaken Farah Garad, who retreated westwards towards the lands of the Habr Yunis: However, the Dhulbahante were not trusted by some British generals. For instance, the British general Eric Swayne at times regarded the clan as too untrustworthy to be enlisted as a levy: British colonial administrator Douglas James Jardine, Sir Douglas Jardine describing the plight of the Dhulbahante noted:
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.'

The battle of Dul Madoba

In 1913 at the battle of Dul Madoba the Dervishes defeated the British. The Dervish forces under the leadership of Dhulbahante military commander Ismail Mire were attacked by British expeditionary forces made up of members of the Dhulbahante clan under the command of Richard Corfield. It is reported that the Dervishes previously looted herds from the Jama Siad, who subsequently agreed to assist the British in their attack. Thus, 300 Jama Siad warriors along with the Somaliland Camel Corps commanded by Corfield pursued and attacked the Dervishes at Dul Madoba. The British sustained heavy casualties and Corfield was killed in battle, reportedly at the hands of Darawiish Ibraahin Xoorane and Axmed Aarey, whilst the 300 Jama Siad warriors fled unscathed, and the spoils of war were distributed in Buuhoodle and Taleh.

Somaliland campaign

After the 1920 Somaliland campaign (1920), bombing campaign of the Taleh fort and the Dervish retreat into Ethiopia, the tribal chief Mohamed Bullaleh, Haji Mohammad Bullaleh, who commanded a 3,000 strong army that was loyal to the British Empire and consisted of Isaaq and Dhulbahante horsemen pursued the Dervish army. They attacked Muhammad Abdallah Hassan and the Dervish army in the Ogaden region and defeated them, causing Hassan to retreat to the town of Imi, Ethiopia, Imi. Haji and his army looted 60,000 livestock and 700 rifles from the dervishes. The Dervishes did not recover from the bombing campaign. The same year the Dhulbahante surrendered 27 houses containing weapons and money to the British''.''Ferro e Fuoco in Somalia, da Francesco Saverio Caroselli, Rome, 1931; p. 272. "i Dulbohanta nella maggior parte si sono arresi agli inglesi e han loro consegnato ventisette garese (case) ricolme di fucili, munizioni e danaro." (English: the Dhulbahante surrendered for the most part to the British and handed twenty-seven ''garesas'' (houses) full of guns, ammunition and money over to them
viewable link
/ref> Following this defeat, the Dhulbahante who waged a bloody war against the British were effectively incorporated into the British Protectorate.

Boocame 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. 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 anthropologist Ioan Lewis, I.M. Lewis, the Dhulbahante are divided into 50 groups which pay ''diyya'' (or blood money (term), 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 Ahmed Si'id also known as ''Hayaag'', which Lewis estimated to number 1,000 male members at the time, and the Mohamed Si'iid, and the Yuunis Si'iid, which he described as "small, insignificant, and incapable of independent political action." The following summarized clan tree presented below is taken from John Hunt's ''A general survey of the Somaliland Protectorate (1944-1950)'': *Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti (Darod) ** Mohamed Abdirahman (Kabalalah) *** Abdi Mohamed (Kombe) ****Salah Abdi (Harti) *****Said Abdi (Dhulbahante) ******Ahmed Said (Turyar) ******Yonis Said ******Mohamed Said ******Hussein Said (Hayaag) *******Abokor Hussien *******Amaansame Hussien *******Aden Hussien ********Ibrahim Aden ********Gedi Aden ********Hassan Aden (Daljire) ******Muse Said *******Barre Muse *******Osman Muse (Ebirrar) *******Mohamed Muse *******Abokor Muse *******Abdale Muse ********Yahye Abdale ********Adan Abdale (Hinjile) ********Habarwa Abdale *********Khalid Habarwa *********Shirshore Habarwa **********Hamud 'Ugaas' Shirshore **********Hussein 'Ugaas' Shirshore **********Mahamoud 'Ugaas' Shirshore **********Hassan 'Ugaas' Shirshore ***********Ali Hassan ***********Farah Hassan ***********Samakab Hassan ***********Khair Hassan ***********Saleh Hassan ***********Samatar Hassan ***********Gedi Hassan ***********Harun Hassan ******Abdi 'Garad' Shirshore (Qayaad) *******Omar Abdi *******Khayr Abdi ********Ibrahim Khayr ********Ali Khayr ********Osman Khayr ********Wa'eys Khayr ******Mohamoud Garad, Mohamoud 'Garad' Shirshore *******Wa'eys Mohamoud (Omar Wa'eys) *******Siad Mohamoud ********Jama Siad *********Samakab Jama *********Ahmed Jama *********Mohamoud Jama *********Warfa Jama ********Mohamed Siad (Ugadhyahan) *********Adan Mohamed *********Mohamoud Mohamed *********Samakab Mohamed **********Abdulle Samakab ***********Wa’eys Abdulle ***********Abokor Abdulle ***********Ahmed Abdulle ************Shirwa Ahmed ************Osman Ahmed ************Nur Ahmed *************Seed Nur *************Samatar Nur *************Yusuf Nur *************Musa Nur *************Samakab Nur (Bihina Ali) *************Ismail Nur (Bihina Ali) *************Hersi Nur *************Mohamed Nur *************Ali Nur ************Naleya Ahmed *************Adan Naleya *************Abdulle Naleya *************Samaad Naleya *************Shirwa Naleya (Bah ina Farah) *************Liban Naleya (Bah ina Farah) *************Yusuf Naleya (Bah ina Farah) *************Elmi Naleya *************Jibril Naleya ************* Ali Naleya **************Farah Ali (Bah Rikhaaye) **************Mohamed Ali (Bah Rikhaaye) **************Samatar Ali (Bah Rikhaaye) **************Igal Ali (Bah ina Araale) **************Abdi Ali (Bah ina Araale) **************Fahiye Ali (Bah ina Araale) **************Ahmed Ali (Bah ina Araale) **************Hussein Ali (Bah Ina Samatar) **************Yaqub Ali (Bah Ina Samatar) **************Yusuf Ali (Bah Abdulle) **************Elmi Ali (Bah Abdulle) **************Omar Ali (Bah Idris) **************Mohamoud Ali (Bah Idris) **************Wa'eys Ali (Bah Idris) ******Farah Garad, Farah 'Garaad' Shirshore *******Yasin 'Garad' Farah *******Abdulleh Garad Farah ********Ali 'Garad' Abdulle ********Mohamed 'Garad' Abdulle (Bah'ararsame) *********Mohamoud 'Garad' Mohamed (Jabane) **********Mohamed Mohamoud **********Warsame Mohamoud **********Liban Mohamoud **********Sharmarke Mohamoud ********Guleed 'Garaad' Abdulleh (Barkad) *********Ali Gulled *********Amir Gulled *********Mohamoud Gulled ********Ahmed 'Garaad' Abdulleh *********Samakab Ahmed (Odala) *********Egal Ahmed *********Warfa Ahmed *********Hassan Ahmed *********Naleye Ahmed (Egal Naleya) *********Ali'Geri Ahmed (Reer Khayr) **********Ismail Ali’Geri **********Hersi Ali’Geri **********Shawe Ali’Geri **********Burale Ali’Geri **********Gulled Ali’Geri **********Subaan Ali’Geri *********Adan Ahmed **********Farah Adan (Reer Khayr) **********Mahad Adan (Reer Khayr) **********Wa'eys Adan (Ararsame) **********Hagar Adan (Ararsame) ***********Gedi Hagar (Bah Ogaden) ***********Addaad Hagar (Bah Ogaden) ***********Warsame Hagar (Bah Ogaden) ***********Elmi Hagar (Bah Ogaden) ***********Amir Hagar (Bah Ogaden) ***********Gulled Hagar (Bah Ogaden) ***********Ayaar Hagar (Bah Warsengali) ***********Fatah Hagar (Bah Warsengali) ***********Adan Hagar (Bah Warsengali) ***********Adan Hagar (Bah Warsengali) ***********Farah Hagar (Bah Warsengali)

Notable figures


{{Somali clans Somali clans Somali clans in Ethiopia