The Majeerteen (Somali: Majeerteen, Arabic: ماجرتين‎, Muhammad Harti Amaleh Abdi Muhammad Abdirahman Jaberti; also spelled Majerteen, Macherten, Majertain, or Mijurtin)[1] is a Somali clan. It's one of the major Somali clans, with a vast traditional territory spanning 3 major regions of Somalia, Bari, Nugaal and Mudug. From Bosaso down to Garacad, the Majerteen are settled in what is literally considered to be 'the Horn of Africa'. Its members form a part of the Darod clan family, and primarily inhabit the Puntland state of northeastern Somalia and also form a sizeable population in Kismayo as well as the Somali Region of Ethiopia.[2]

The Majeerteen Sultanates played an important role in the pre-independence era of Somalia. The Majeerteen have produced two presidents, five prime ministers, first speaker of parliament, and four Puntland-State presidents, as well as many Sultans and a King (Boqor) throughout Somali history.[3]

Majeerteens also held many other significant government posts in the 1960s and 1970s, and continue to play a key role in Puntland state and Somalia as a whole.


The Majeerteen are traditionally settled in Somalia's northern regions of Bari, Nugal and Mudug.[4] They can also be found in Kismayo in southern Somalia along with their fellow members of the larger Harti subclan, the Dhulbahante, Dishiishe and Warsangeli.

The Majeerteen are traditionally settled in the land in-between Bandar Siyada an ancient port town facing the Gulf of Aden, and Garacad a coastal port town, facing the Indian Ocean and all the land in between which corresponds to the area encompassing the Horn of Africa.[5] Therefore, the Majerteen are settled in what is literally considered to be 'the Horn of Africa'.

The Majeerteen are also found in the Somali Region of Ethiopia sometimes referred to as the Ogaden, specifically in the Hawd region near the Somalia border. Other members of the Majeerteen in Ethiopia are found in the Wardheere region.[2]

The Majeerteen are believed to the largest subclan within Somalia both in terms of population size and land inhabitation.[5]

The Majeerteen are more commonly found in the cities of Bosaso, Garowe and Galkacyo which are all regional capitals of Bari, Somalia, Nugal, Somalia and Mudug respectively.

Majeerteen Kingdoms

Majeerteen ruler Ali Yusuf Kenadid, 2nd Sultan of the Sultanate of Hobyo.

Before the famous Majeerteen Sultanate there was the Sultanate of Amaanle (Abdirahman Awe) which was overthrown and overtaken by Osman Mahamuud who became the subsequent King and Sultan. The Majeerteen Sultanate was founded in the early-18th century. It rose to prominence in the following century, under the reign of the resourceful Boqor (King) Osman Mahamuud.[6] His Sultanate controlled Bari Karkaar, Nugaaal and also central Somalia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The polity maintained a robust trading network, entered into treaties with foreign powers, and exerted strong centralized authority on the domestic front.[7][8]

Osman Mahamuud's Sultanate was nearly destroyed in the late-1800s by a power struggle between himself and his ambitious cousin, Yusuf Ali Kenadid who founded the Sultanate of Hobyo in 1878. Initially he wanted to seize control of the neighbouring Majeerteen Sultanate, ruled by his cousin Boqor Osman Mahamud. However, Yusuf Ali Kenadid was unsuccessful in this endeavour, and was eventually forced into exile in Yemen. A decade later, in the 1870s, Kenadid returned from the Arabian Peninsula with a band of Hadhrami musketeers and a group of devoted lieutenants. With their assistance, he managed to overpower the local Hawiye clans and establish the Kingdom of Hobyo in 1878.[6][9][10]

Ruins of a Majeerteen Sultanate castle in Bargal

As with the Majeerteen Sultanate, the Sultanate of Hobyo exerted a strong centralized authority during its existence, and possessed all of the organs and trappings of an integrated modern state: a functioning bureaucracy, a hereditary nobility, titled aristocrats, a state flag, as well as a professional army.[7][11] Both sultanates also maintained written records of their activities, which still exist.[12]

In late 1889, Boqor Osman entered into a treaty with the Italians, making his realm an Italian protectorate. His rival Sultan Kenadid had signed a similar agreement vis-a-vis his own Sultanate the year before. Both rulers had signed the protectorate treaties to advance their own expansionist objectives, with Boqor Osman looking to use Italy's support in his ongoing power struggle with Kenadid over the Majeerteen Sultanate. Boqor Osman and Sultan Kenadid also hoped to exploit the conflicting interests among the European imperial powers that were then looking to control the Somali peninsula, so as to avoid direct occupation of their territories by force.[13]

The relationship between the Sultanate of Hobyo and Italy soured when Sultan Kenadid refused the Italians' proposal to allow a British contingent of troops to disembark in his Sultanate so that they might then pursue their battle against the Somali religious and nationalist leader Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's Dervish forces.[13] Viewed as too much of a threat by the Italians, Sultan Kenadid was eventually exiled to Aden in Yemen and then to Eritrea, as was his son Ali Yusuf, the heir apparent to his throne.[14]

Osman Yusuf Kenadid, the son of the first Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid, was a famous poet and scholar. Osman Yusuf Kenadid was the inventor of the first phonetically standard script for the Somali language in the 1920s, the Osmanya Script.[15]


Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, former President of Somalia and one of the founders of the Puntland state.

The Majeerteen are seen as very influential Somali clan and play key roles in Somalia and the West. Within Somalia, the Majerteen are the driving force behind one of the largest states within Somalia, Puntland and have created a stable and generally peaceful region for its citizens.[16] Authorities from the Puntland cooperate closely with Somali Federal Government in Mogadishu and have forged a working relationship in recent years. The Majerteen have historically been advocates for a strong and stable Somalia and willing to work together with Somalis from different regions for the betterment of the country. This is reflected in Puntland's intention to be part of a federal framework within Somalia rather than to secede following the conflict in the Somali Civil War.[16] The Majeerten have produced two Presidents of Somalia, Abdirashid Ali Shermarke (1960 - 1964) and Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed (2004 - 2008), and five prime ministers.

The Majeerteen are also very influential Somali clan in the western world. The current Minister of Immigration of Canada Ahmed Hussen hails from the Majeerteen clan as well as the first ever Somali-American legislator and current member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Ilhan Omar. Other prominent members of the Majeerteen include Abdulqawi Yusuf who is the current President of the International Court of Justice and Abdiweli Mohamed Ali PhD, Somali-American economist, professor and politician.


There is no clear agreement on the clan and sub-clan structures and many lineages are omitted. 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.[17][18]

  • Shiekh Darod (Daarood bin Ismaciil)
    • Marehan
      • Red Dini
      • Rer Hassan
      • Cali Dheere
    • Kabalah
      • Absame
        • Ogaden
          • Makabul
          • Mohamed Zubeir
          • Aulihan
        • Jidwaq
      • Harti
        • Dhulbahante (Dolbahante)
        • Dishiishe (Dishishe)
        • Warsangali (Warsengeli)
        • Majeerteen (Mijerteen)
          • Wabeeneeye
          • Musse Noleys (Idigfale)
          • Abdalle Noleys (Danweyne)
          • Amaanle
          • Guddoonwaaq
          • Filku'aag
          • Amarti-Waaq
          • Tabale
          • Ali Jibraahiil
          • Nuh Jibrahiil
          • Cabdirixiin Ibraahim
          • Wadalmoge
          • Reer Umar
          • Reer Maxamuud
            • Abukar Maxamuud
              • Faarax Ismacil
              • Ciise Ismacil
              • Maxamed Ismacil
            • Qaasin Maxamuud
              • Maxamed Qaasin
              • Axmed Qaasin
              • Aadan Qaasin
              • Bare Qaasin
              • Ibraahim Qaasin
          • Reer Bi'idyahan
          • Siwaaqroon
          • Ugaar Saleebaan
          • Ismail Saleebaan
          • Ali Saleebaan
            • Bi’idyahan Ali
            • Auliyahan Ali
            • Omar Ali
            • Adam Ali
            • Ismail Ali
          • Mahamoud Saleebaan
            • Omar Mahmoud
            • Osman Mahmoud
            • Issa Mahmoud

2. Omar Mahmud (Cumaar Mahamuud), 3. Issa Mahmud (Ciise Mahamuud), and 4. Osman Mahmoud (Cismaan Mahamuud) – comprise the Mahamuud Saleebaan, Muse Salebaan known as Ugaar Saleebaan is also major subclans[19]:17 which a 2010 study identifies as both the main division of Majeerteen and a central and unifying entity in Puntland. During the 1960s, the Ali Saleebaan (or Cali Saleebaan), Wadalmuge and Ciise Mahamud formed a powerful business class in Kismayo,[19]:19 while Siad Barre exploited a rivalry between the Cali Saleebaan and Cumaar Mahamuud in an effort to weaken the Majeerteen in general.[19]:17 Historically, the Cali Saleebaan formed part of a coastal trading network around Bosaso, along with other subclans.[19]:19 ugaar( muuse saleebaan ) and cali saleebaan are prominent majeerteen clans in bari region with Nineteen other Majeerteen clans inhabit the Bari Region.[19]:15

Prominent figures


  1. ^ Central Intelligence Agency (2002). "Ethnic Groups". Somalia Summary Map. Perry–Castañeda Library. Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OneDq8BbtuUC&pg=RA1-PA25&lpg=RA1-PA25&dq=majeerteen+ogade&source=bl&ots=0TVRDrrKzH&sig=jf7uzWwbQfXXH9n8y0yJVYRw2VI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjsx7Dn47HYAhVrJ8AKHYnwAjAQ6AEIUDAG#v=onepage&q=majeerteen%20ogade&f=false
  3. ^ https://www.ecoi.net/local_link/195658/314288_de.html
  4. ^ Royal African Society, African Affairs, Volume 101, (Oxford University Press: 2002) p.101.
  5. ^ a b https://www.fragilestates.org/2012/01/10/somalias-complex-clan-dynamics/
  6. ^ a b Helen Chapin Metz, Somalia: a country study, (The Division: 1993), p.10.
  7. ^ a b Horn of Africa, Volume 15, Issues 1-4, (Horn of Africa Journal: 1997), p.130.
  8. ^ Transformation towards a regulated economy, (WSP Transition Programme, Somali Programme: 2000) p.62.
  9. ^ Lee V. Cassanelli, The shaping of Somali society: reconstructing the history of a pastoral people, 1600-1900, (University of Pennsylvania Press: 1982), p.75.
  10. ^ Lea, David; Rowe, Annamarie (2001). A Political Chronology of Africa. Europa Publications. p. 378. ISBN 1857431162. 
  11. ^ Michigan State University. African Studies Center, Northeast African studies, Volumes 11-12, (Michigan State University Press: 1989), p.32.
  12. ^ Sub-Saharan Africa Report, Issues 57-67. Foreign Broadcast Information Service. 1986. p. 34. 
  13. ^ a b The Majeerteen Sultanates
  14. ^ Sheik-ʻAbdi (1993:129)
  15. ^ https://puntite.com/2017/08/yasin-osman-kenadid/
  16. ^ a b https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/puntland.htm
  17. ^ Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.55 Figure A-1
  18. ^ 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
  19. ^ a b c d e Marchal, Roland (May 2010). "The Puntland State of Somalia: A Tentative Social Analysis" (PDF). Sciences Po. Retrieved 2015-08-15. 
  20. ^ http://www.asiantribune.com/node/175

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