Explorations in History and Society

Exploring and Collecting the History of the Somali clan of Hawiye.

Archive for the ‘Anti-colonization Wars’ Category

taariikhda sheekh xasan barsane oo kooban

with 2 comments

Imaam Sheekh Xasan Sheekh Nuur Sheekh Axmed
“ Sheekh Xasan Barsane “ ( 1853 – 1927 )Sheekh Xasn Sheekh Nuur Sheekh Axmed oo lo yiqiin Sheekh Xasan Barsane wuxuu dhashay sanadka markuu ahaa 1853, wuxuuna ku dhashay tuulada loo yaqaan Ubaadi oo u jirta qiyaas ilaa 68Km magaalada Jowhar, Gobolka Shabeelaha Dhexe, Soomaaliya.
Hooyadiis waxaa la dhihi jiray Xalima Hilowle Sheekh Xasan wuxuu ka soo jeeday qoys Somaali ah una saxiib ah Diinta Islaamka iyo fardooleey. Aabihii Sheekh Nuur wuxuu ahaa sheekh ka tirsan dariiqooyinka Raxmaaniya. Wuxuu ka dhex muuqday hoggamiyana u ahaa jameecadiisa.Sheekh Xasna Sheekh Nuur Sheekh Axmed wuxuu bartay Qur’aan Kariimka isagoo ya, kuna bartay tuulada Unaadi wuxuuna barashada Diinta Islaamka ku bilaabay isagoo aan weli gaarin 10 jir halkaas oo la shegay in aabihiiis uu mashaa’ikhda Diinta bartaa ugu keenay. Markuu laabtan jirsaday ayeey isaga iyo aabihiis isku raaceen inuu sii kordhisto wax barashadiisa uu doonto iyadoo ay jirtay in aabihii uu mashaa’iikh fara badan ugu keenay halkii ay ku noolaayeen.Shiikhii wuxuu aaday meel walbo oo uu ku tabaayay in cilmi uu yaalo oo uu ka sii kororsas karo meelaha uu cimliga u dontay dalka gudihiisa waxaa ka mid ahaa Mateey Aw Xasan oo ku taala Afgooye iyo Muqdisho. Sheekhu kama uusan zuulin inuu raadiyo cilmi isagoo markaana day dalka dibadiisa sida magalada Marka uu tagay laba jeer oo kala duwan wuxuuna halkaas ku soo gutay xajkii iyo cilmi uu raadinayay, wuxuu halkaas ku maqnaa muddo ka bdan saddex sanadood.Sheekhu waxa uu halkasi kula soo kulmay Sheekh Maxamed Saalax oo sheekha ay dariiqada SAALIXIYADA ka soo jeedo ah.Sheekh Xasan Barsane markii uu ku soo laabty dalka waxaa dalka soo buux dhaafiyay gumeyste kala duwan oo markaas iyo ka horba ku sugnaa dalka tan iyo intii ay dhacday qeybsashadii Afrika ( 1884 ) dalalka reer galbeedak oo ay ugu horeeyeen Ingiriiska, Faransiikam Talyaaniga iyo Boruqiiska aya soo galay dalkeena hooyo ee Somaaliya. Sheekhu wuxuu ka biyo diiday inuyu ku hoos nooaado gumeyste isagoo ka doo biday inuu geeriyoodo isagoo dhawraya sharafta Diinta iyo dalka. Sheekhu wuxuu dhexgalay dadka isagoo jamciyay ciidan firadiisa lagu qiyaasay ilaa laabtan kun ilaa soddon kun ( 20,000 – 30.000). tababar dheer iyo wacyi gelin ka dib sheekha iyo ciidamadisii u kacay difaaca dalka iyo Diinta.Waxaa ay la kulmeen hanjbaad iyo hujuum kaga imaanayay dhanka gumeystaha Talyaaniga oo iyagu markaas heestay dhamman koofurta Soomaaliya iyo Etiopia oo aheyd dalka kali ah ee Afrika kana qeyb galay qeybsashada dalalka Afirca ee Berlin 1884.

Sheekhu dhag jalaq uma siin dhamaan hanjabaadaas iyo baqdin galin taas kaga imaameysay dhanka Gumeystaha gumeystaha Talyaaniga xiligaasi waxaa Soomaaliya wakiil uga ahaa Jeneral la oran jiray Mario Devechio.
Si kastaba ha ahaatee Sheekha wuxuu go’aansaday inuu la dagaalamo.

Waqtigii ayaa dhamaaday waxaa bilowday dagaaladii fool ka foolka ahaa ee Sheekhu la galay gumeysihii. Sheeikha iyo gumeystaha waxay kulmeen marar badan iyagoo dhamaan dagaaladii uu la galay gumeystaha uu halkaasi kaga guuleystay. Waxaana dagaaladii u Sheekha la galay gumeystaha ka xusi karnaa :

· Gumar Sheel ( 1905 ) waxa uu ahaa dagaalkii ugu horeeyay ee uu la galay Amxaardii oo markaas isku dayaysay inay la wareegto dhamaan dhulka Soomaaliyeed iyadoo markaas timid Taytayle
( Balcad ). Waxaa jiray dagaalo kale uu Sheekha la galay Ethiopia ilaa markii danbe ay dalka ka baxaan

Waxaa kaloo ka mid ahaa dagaaladii uu la galay gumeystaha gaar ahan Talyaaniga oo aan ka xusi karno :

1. Dagaalkii Buulo Barde oo dhacay 1922
2. Ceel Dheere 1922 iyo 1923
3. Hilweyne 1923
4. Jiliyaale 1924
5. Hareeriile 1924

Sheekh Xasan Barsane wuxu ku caan baxay inuu ciidanka ka bar bar dagaalamo isago dhiiri galin jiray una sheegi jiray wax yaalaha hadii ay ku dhintaan iyo hadii ay ka bad baadaanba haleyaan waxaan u wadaa Aakhiro iyo Aduun. Dagaaladii faraha badanaa ee uu la galay Sheekha wuxuu ku laayay rag faro badan oo ka tirsanaa gumeystaha oo isugu jiray saraakiil iyo dablay .
Gumeystaha oo ka faa’ideystay maqnaashaha ciidamada Sheekha oo markaas ku maqnaa dagaalo dhinaca Hiiraan ayaa dhabar jabin ka dib waxa ay hareereeyeen xaruntii Sheekha iyagoo adeegsanaaya hubka xiligaa ugu casrisnaa lana yimid ciidan fara baan oo ay ka oo wadeen dhankaas iyo cadan iyo weliba kuwa kale oo ay ka soo ka xeeyeen dalalka kale oo ay gymeysan jireen kuwaas oo ahaa calooshood u shaqeystayaal sida ku cad buugii uu qoray Mario Devechio oo lagu magacaabo ORIZENTO DI IMPERO. Ka bid Sheekha waxaa uu u gacan galay cadowga, waxayna ka dalbadeen inuu ciidamadiisa ku amro inay is dhiibaan, waa uu ka biyo diiday. Si kastaba ha ahaatee gumeystaha ayaa aakhiritankii ku guuleystay inay qabtaan oo ay xabsiga dhigaan Sheikh Xasan Barsane sanadu markay ahayd 1924.

Waxaa Sheekha lagu xabisay xabsiga loo yaqaaney Gaalshiro iyadoo markaasi maxkamada gumeysiga ay ku xukuntay 30 sano oo xarig ah oo ay u dheertahay shaqo adag iyo jirdil. Si kastaba ah ahaatee hadana gumeystaha ayaa ku qanci waayay inay xabisaan oo kaliya waayo Sheekh Xasan Barsane ayaa ahaa caqabadii ugu weyneyd ee ay gumeystaha Talyaaniga kala kulmeyn koonfurta Soomaaliya iyadoo aanba dhihi karno sheekha wuxuu ahaa quwada kali ah ee dagaalo waaweyn kaga hortimid. Talyaaniga ayaa 3 sano ka dib waxay hadana isku dayeen inay dilaan Sheekha iyagoo ay u suuro gashay sanada Markey ahayd 1927 iyado markaasi ay gumeystuhu ku xireen meel god ah oo aan ku filneyn inuu fariisto godkaas ayaa wuxuu lahaa oo kali ah meel yar oo shabaq camal ah oo uu xoogaa wax u neef ah ka qaadan jiray. Intaas oo kali ah ugumaysan simin hadana waxay ugu dareen inay sun ku buufiyaan qolkii uu ku xirnaa waxaana amarkaasi bixiyay KABEELLO sida uu xusay MAXAMED ABDI (Odoyaasha Muqdisho ) oo ka mid ahaa sadexdii Nin ee loo adegsaday inay fuliyaan falkaasi. Ugu danbeyntii Sheekha ayaa ku geeriyooday suntii. Sida ku xusan Orizento Impero iyo TREE ANNI DE IN SOMALIA .Sheekhu wuxuu dhintay taarikhdu mrkey ahayd 13. January 1927. waxaana lagu duugay Qabuuraha Sheekh Suufi oo ku yaalay agagaarka madaxtooyada Soomaaliya waxaana markii danbe loo qaaday oo uu hada ku aasan yahay degmada JILIYAALE oo markii hore Sheekha xarun u ahayd.

Advertisements

Pan-Tribal Struggle against Italian Rule

with 2 comments

The following excerpts are from a book by the historian Lee Cassanelli The shaping of Somali society: reconstructing the history of a pastoral people, 1600-1900

==============================================

In June 1908 Governor Carletti wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

We cannot afford to delay our move inland, since it will be difficult to occupy the river when the rebels who left over two months ago return with guns from the Mullah Muhammad

To give added weight to his pleas for decisive government action, Carletti attached a letter from the sultan of Geledi written earlier that month:

The Biimaal have abandoned their territory and the major part—around 4000—are in voyage to the Mullah. Only the old men, women, and children remain. Even among the Hintire only a few remain…. You must make war without any delay. Don’t remain inactive…. Your enemies won’t obey your orders and say, “We will obey only Shaykh Muhammad Abdullah….”   Hintire, Biimaal, Wacdaan, Jambelul, Daud, and Mobilayn amount to more than 100,000 [ sic  ]. If their messengers return with arms, they will all stand against us and the territory will be lost, since they desire only war

While the letter almost certainly exaggerates the number of Somalis who actually left to contact the mullah in the north, it does give an idea of the extent to which the resistance had become pan-tribal. A united resistance is precisely what the colonials feared.

Therefore, in August 1908, auxiliary soldiers under Italian command marched inland to the Shabeelle. They raised the flag at Bariirey; they fought with valiant Somalis for several hours outside of Mereerey; then their forces marched triumphantly into Afgooye. The colonial occupation of the interior had begun, prompted by the events of the “Year of the Dervishes.”

Source:

Page 250 of Lee Cassanelli’s The shaping of Somali society: reconstructing the history of a pastoral people, 1600-1900

Written by daud jimale

February 17, 2010 at 7:58 pm

The Hintire between 1880-1910

with 23 comments

The Hintire

Like the nearby Geledi, the Hintire were a clan of mixed pastoralists and farmers. They occupied a compact stretch of territory flanking the Shabeelle River town of Mereerey.

Although the Hintire were considered raaciye (“followers”) of the Geledi sultan from the early nineteenth century and had supported him in the Baardheere campaign of 1843, they themselves claim that their ancestors never accepted the religious supremacy of the Gobroon shaykhs. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the recognized leader of the Hintire was Shaykh Madow Mahad.

According to Hintire traditions, it was this higher education that enabled Madow to surpass even the Gobroon shaykhs in knowledge of the mystical arts. The religious rivalry between Shaykh Madow and Shaykh Ahmed Yusuf of Geledi—who is also said to have studied at Baraawe as a young man—is the subject of numerous anecdotes, some in the form of Sufi stories extolling the superior insight of one or the other.

Although the Hintire could not hope to match the warrior strength of the Geledi, Madow’s religious esteem proved helpful to the Geledi, at least initially. When Ahmed Yusuf became sultan of Geledi in 1848, Madow is said to have given him some land as a sign of friendship and a token of their school days together at Baraawe.

And the Hintire claim that the prestige of their shaykh aided Ahmed in regaining the loyalty of many clans that had defected after the Biimaal victory over his father in 1848.

However, at the same time, Madow was acquiring a religious following of his own, notably among the Hober clan of Daafeed, a district where the Gobroon shaykhs had been dominant for several generations.

Limited political cooperation between these neighboring clans thus did not prevent competition between their leaders for spiritual ascendancy. Without some awareness of this traditional religious rivalry, the particular response of the Hintire to the colonial occupation would be less understandable.

Madow was succeeded as head shaykh of the Hintire by his eldest son Ashir, who from all accounts was every bit as gifted as his father. Ashir was truly a man of religion; where his father had combined the roles of shaykh and islao  (politico-military head), Ashir gave the responsibilities of managing day-to-day affairs to one of his kinsmen, though he continued to be regarded by outsiders as spokesman for the Hintire.

(Until very recently there had existed among the Hintire both an islao and a head shaykh. In 1970 the revolutionary government abolished honorific titles, replacing them with the more egalitarian term Aw, a word signifying “respected elder”.)

Ashir had little sympathy for the military exploits of his Geledi neighbors; when Sultan Ahmed Yusuf tried to mobilize a large army to attack the Biimaal in 1878-79, Ashir refused to allow his people to participate.

This refusal appears to have marked the end of whatever cooperation had existed between the two clans. During the last two decades of the century, there occurred a number of skirmishes between the warriors of the Hintire and Geledi. The verdicts were mixed, although the Hintire won a last-minute victory in a battle in 1903-4, which proved to be the last between these riverine rivals.

The Geledi themselves admit losing the battle of Axad Mereerey (“the Sunday [year] of Mereerey”) because one of their warrior contingents attacked prematurely. The dating of a year by the battle suggests that it was one of the more important events that year (1903)

This background of antagonism toward the Geledi influenced the initial Hintire response to the “Italian problem.” Immediately after the battle of Lafoole in 1896, the Wacdaan sent a courier to Mereerey to solicit Shaykh Ashir’s support in their continuing struggle with the colonials. The courier asked Ashir to use his spiritual influence to help defeat the infidels. The Hintire leader refused on the grounds that the Wacdaan had assisted the Geledi in earlier battles with his clan. Ashir abruptly spurned the Wacdaan’s conciliatory offer of a gift of one hundred cows; the messenger is said to have ridden off without a parting word.

Shaykh Ashir’s position toward the colonials remained consistent throughout his lifetime and gives the lie to all simplistic views of Somali resistance. He felt that the Hintire, as good Muslims, should go to war only if their territory were invaded.

This policy he had applied in his dealings with other Somali clans as well. He had declined to participate in Sultan Ahmed’s aggressive campaigns against the Biimaal. He had counseled patience when his militant son and other kinsmen wanted to raid Geledi herds and seize land in dispute between the two clans. And as late as 1904, when acts of open resistance were becoming commonplace in the Benaadir, a colonial informer reported that Ashir refused to join the resisters: it was claimed that the shaykh would encourage his followers to take up arms only if the Italians moved inland and directly threatened Mereerey.

While Ashir sought to avoid endangering the lives of his kinsmen, he nonetheless wanted nothing to do with the infidels. He consistently rebuffed messengers sent to him by the Italian authorities.

Even his Somali enemies praised his nonaccommodating stance. A poet of Afgooye, recording the attitudes of the various southern clans toward the foreign invaders, said

Ashir Madow Alin Mahad refused to take the road to damnation [By receiving the infidels].

Yet Ashir was aging, and his sons had begun jockeying for succession to his position of authority. At his death in May 1907, the three sons of his youngest wife decided to take a stance that was openly hostile to the Italians.

These three sons did not enjoy as much influence in Hintire clan councils as did Ashir’s older children. It is also possible that they had been excluded from Ashir’s political inheritance, for his eldest son, Muhyeddin, had become head shaykh of Mereerey while the second oldest, Isma’il, had assumed the leadership of the Hober at Daafeed. As a result, the three junior sons may have sought increased prestige and power by taking an independent stand on the colonial issue. The three began cooperating actively with the ever-growing group of Benaadir resisters, and Mereerey soon became a major center for the gethering of dervish recruits. Those Hintire who chose to fight still invoked the name of their deceased leader: oral accounts recall how one warrior rose during a shir   and vowed that he would never offer an infidel the hand he had used to greet Shaykh Ashir.

At the news of his father’s death, another son, Abokor—soon to become the most famous—returned to Mereerey from the upper Shabeelle, where he had been assisting some kinsmen in their struggle against Ethiopia’s imperial armies. Already at this time Abokor was a declared dervish; nonetheless, he counseled his kinsmen to observe his late father’s dictum and refrain from following the example of the three younger brothers. Only when the Italians began to march inland in August 1908 did Abokor and his brothers reach an accord: they decided to oppose the occupation with arms. The town of Mereerey was one of the few places along the Shabeelle which met the Italians with a united show of force. More than seventy Hintire perished in a field outside the town, which was later burned to the ground. Several of those involved in the fighting were self-proclaimed supporters of the northern dervish leader Sayyid Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, among them Hussein Muhammad Yahiyow, nephew of Abokor Ashir, and Ibrahim Sha’ayb, who fired the first shot with a newly acquired musket.

A local poet recalled the battle some years later:

Abokor Ashir Madow said, I will not hoist the [infidels’]   flag;   The Hintire preferred death to disgrace.   When the infidels came thundering into Mereerey,   We saw many young men confront the barrels of guns;   They were fired upon and silenced forever.   We saw many people wearing mourning cloths,   And many children who became orphans.

References;

Lee Cassanelli “The shaping of Somali society”

 

Taking up arms against Menelik

leave a comment »

In Jonathan A. Grant’s book named “Rulers, guns, and money” he states that,

“… In October 1907 the commisioner of Somaliland stated that, though the Somalis were not allowed to purchase arms openly in Djibouti, no restrictions were placed on Arabs and Danakils, who acted as agents for the Somalis. The British vice consul at Harrar, writing of the Hawiya tribe in the Ogaden, who were in revolt against the Ethiopians, reported that they had always been powerful, but had become much stronger after being furnished with a good supply of arms from Djibouti. He anticipated that all the Somali tribes would be so well armed in the near future that the Ethiopians would have great difficulty in preserving their rule in Harrar.”

 

References

“Rulers, guns and money” pg 68

 By Jonathan A. Grant

Written by abshir100

July 1, 2009 at 1:42 am

The Wacdaan tribe between 1896-1908

leave a comment »

 

Between Afgooye and Muqdisho lay about twenty-five kilometers of thick brush and scrub grass. In the late nineteenth century, the area was inhabited by the camel-keeping Wacdaan clan, who had been close allies of the Geledi for the preceding hundred years.

In the middle of the century, a number of Wacdaan had turned to farming; this helped to reinforce their political union with the Geledi, for the two groups shared land, markets, and credit facilities in the district between the river and the coast.

Two factors bearing heavily on Wacdaan attitudes toward the colonial presence were the internal struggle for leadership, and the economic dislocation brought about by the abolition of slavery and by the famine years of 1889-95. Most Wacdaan farming appears to have been done by slaves imported to Somalia after 1840; there is little evidence that Wacdaan pastoralists had large numbers of traditional client-cultivators typical of such riverine clans as the Geledi.

Thus abolition had more severe consequences for Wacdaan farm labor than it did for Geledi’s. The dry years of the 1890s only exacerbated the economic situation: it was reported in 1898 that one-half of the Wacdaan population had been forced to abandon its home territory for pastures further inland.

Apart from weakening their bonds with the Geledi, these developments, we can surmise, made the Wacdaan extremely fearful of any further threat to their land and well-being. They were, moreover, the first inland Somalis whose territory was actually invaded by colonial soldiers at the time of the Cecchi expedition.

One of the most influential leaders among the Wacdaan was the learned Shaykh Ahmed Haji Mahhadi. He was not a Wacdaan but a member of the Bendabo lineage of Muqdisho. He had lived there most of his life, teaching alongside such renowned Muslim scholars as Shaykh Sufi and Shaykh Mukhdaar.

Like the latter, he found coexistence in a town which housed infidels intolerable, and he chose to retire to the small coastal enclave of Nimow, a little south of Muqdisho. There he set up a small jamaaca —some say it followed the Qadiriya way—which attracted several of the local inhabitants. When Nimow was shelled by an Italian warship in retaliation for the Cecchi ambush, Ahmed Haji fled to Day Suufi (in the heart of Wacdaan territory) where he intensified his preaching against the infidels. As late as 1907, the acting Italian governor considered him “the most listened-to propagandist in this area of the Shabeelle. Even the Geledi turn to him rather than to their own sultan for religious counsel.”

One of the Wacdaan leaders apparently influenced by Ahmed Haji was Hassan Hussein, titular head of the largest subsection of the Wacdaan clan, the Abubakar Moldheere. The Abubakar Moldheere were the most numerous and hence the most militarily powerful section of the Wacdaan in the late nineteenth century. They inhabited the bush country between the river and the coastal dunes, including the villages of Nimow and Day Suufi. Hassan Hussein is remembered as one of the first Wacdaan to oppose the Italians; warriors from his lineage were prominent among the forces that attacked Cecchi at Lafoole.

Likewise, it was spokesmen for the Abubakar Moldheere who most strenuously urged the blockade of caravan routes to Muqdisho.

The other sizable section of the Wacdaan, the Mahad Moldheere, inhabited the clan territory contiguous to Afgooye and the fertile lands around Adadleh. Their interests coincided more with those of the agricultural Geledi. However, their smaller numbers gave them less influence in Wacdaan clan councils, which came to assume greater importance for policymaking as the Wacdaan began to act independently of the Geledi. While the Mahad Moldheere apparently cooperated in the Lafoole siege—at that time, the Wacdaan stood as one, I was told—their leader Abiker Ahmed Hassan subsequently struck an independent diplomatic stance.

In 1899, the Italian authorities sought to persuade the Wacdaan to submit peacefully to the government. They demanded that forty hostages surrender to the authorities in Muqdisho as a sign of Wacdaan submission.

Only the Mahad Moldheere responded. Their leader, Abiker, became a stipended official, which enhanced his standing among those of pacific persuasion. The Abubakar Moldheere refused to send the twenty representatives demanded of them and for some years remained openly defiant of Italian authority. They continued to attack caravans and occasionally to boycott the market of Muqdisho. There is some evidence to suggest that feuding within the Wacdaan increased after this rift between the two major lineages.

Several informants told me that at one time the Wacdaan were more strongly united; and Virginia Luling (personal communication) recorded the comment of an informant to the effect that in the time of the Italians feuding among the Wacdaan increased as traditional diya payments were unable to keep the peace. Cf. Carletti, Attraverso il Benadir, pp. 164-77, passim.

The conciliatory initiatives of the leaders of the Mahad Moldheere toward the colonial government bore some political fruit. For although Hassan Hussein and the Abubakar Moldheere resigned themselves to accommodation with the Italians after 1908, their section received fewer stipended positions than the numerically smaller Mahad Moldheere did. Moreover, the stipends they received were smaller than those of the Mahad Moldheere officials.

In the early 1960s, a man of the Mahad Moldheere was recognized as titular head of all the Wacdaan.

I could not ascertain if this had been true throughout the twentieth century.

While factionalism goes some way toward explaining the dual response of the Wacdaan to colonial occupation, it should not be assumed that anticolonial feeling ran strictly along sectional lines. Individuals from both sections continued to participate in resistance activities and, after their leaders submitted to Italian authority, joined the southern dervishes. The best-remembered dervishes from the Wacdaan were Barghash Yusuf, Muhammad Geedi, Ali Omar Garrarey, and the brothers Muhammad and Mustafa Hussein.

It does not appear that Hassan Hussein, head of the Abubakar Moldheere section, ever become a dervish. Nor did the fiery Bendabo shaykh Ahmed Haji Mahhadi. Ahmed Haji’s son Muhammad, however, was a well-known southern follower of the “Mad Mullah.” He went a step further than his father by interpreting the anticolonial religious message as a call to take up arms against the infidel invaders.

In Sylvia Pankhusrt’s book called “Ex-Italian Somaliland”, the following is mentioned on page 88,

Moreover, the Bimal and Wadan tribes must be conquered and forced to submit to Italian authority. This might be done “gradually, profiting by any favourable conditions which might present themselves,” or “suddenly by a rapidly advancing movement, breaking down all resistance,” as General Baldissera had recommended. Tittoni preferred the gradual method.

Gilib, on the coast, had already been occupied by Italian forces, he told the Chamber; possession would next be taken of Danane and the wells to which the Bimals resorted with their cattle in the dry season. Siezure of the water would give the government the whip hand, above all in a country of that type. Kaitoy, on the Webbi Shebeli, would then be sized, and afterwards towards Afgoy and Gheledi, opposite Mogadishu.

To accomplish these military operations the force of Askaris, which at that time numbered 2,442 with 30 Italian officers, must be increased to 3,400 with 46 Italian officers. Thereby it would be possible to strengthen the garrisons, and to establish a moving column, which could proceed rapidly wherever needed. The occupation of the area from Merka to the Webbi Shebbeli would be easy, for the distance was only 20 kilometres, and no thick forests intervened, but from Mogadishu to the same river the distancewas double, and the region covered with dense woods, “which lend themselves to ambushcades”.

When the Southern clans were conquered by the Fascist Italians in the early 20th century, the rebellious clans were forced to the arduos labour of clearing roads through the jungle and bush.

Tittoni recorded the work already accomplished and the programme immediately projected;

“I believe it will interest the chamber to know what has been done. The labour of clearing has been imposed as a punishment upon the rebellious tribes which have been subjugated. At the middle of last march, the clearing had been executed along the paths which adjoin the following localities;-

(1) Mogadishu-Afgoy, with the understanding that the passage already cleared be widened in as brief a space of time as possible, which is already being done on the Afgoy side, the work being executed by the Wadan tribe.

Only the Italians have written the story of their conquest of Somaliland. The agonies suffered by the conquered people in defence of the fertile land they had cultivated from generation to generation, have been been chronicled; their dead and their exiled are unrecorded.

References

Lee Cassanelli “The Shaping of Somali society”

Sylvia Pankhurst “Ex-Italian Somaliland”

Written by abshir100

June 26, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Colonialism & Characteristics of the Southern Resistance

leave a comment »

The Anglo-Italian agreements of 1891 gave Italy the triangle of land known as the Horn of Africa as her ‘sphere of influence’. Afterwards, Italy proceeded to construct shaky colonial edifice of her own in this part of Africa. Until the outbreak of the First World War, Italy was unable to consolidate her control over these territories. All attempts, both military and political, were in vain due to active resistance from the inter-riverine people of southern Somalia. It is out of the scope of this article to discuss the details of this resistance; however, a brief sketch will be helpful. In the late 19th century, the inter-riverine region was the centre of religious ferment and economic resistance against European colonization. The so-called Gosha Revolt (1890-1907), led by Nassib Buunto, emerged from the struggle against slavery. Nassib Buunto recruited the bulk of his fighters from the freed slaves who deserted their Italian landlords and Somali ‘Abans’ (overseers). He established a centre named after him in the Gosha region. The centre offered the escaped slaves not only refuge and freedom, but also a better way of life by developing communal ways of farming and cattle herding, training in new handicraft skills, new techniques for building houses and for manufacturing tools and weapons. It was the free men of this centre who fought against the Italians, delaying their penetration into the fertile hinterlands of the inter-riverine region for decades.

Another focal point of resistance was the Banadir. The Banadirians of the interior were concerned that the occupation of the port by foreigners would mean the diversion of the external trade from their control. The Banadir ports played a significant role in the region’s external and internal trade. They supplied the hinterland with imported commodities as well as providing markets for livestock and major local products. Moreover, it was in these coastal towns that cottage industries like weaving and knitting the Banadiri cloth, the manufacture of utensils and tools flourished, and trader communities were established. It was essential to defend such economic resources, and the Banadir revolt (1888-1910), though religious in origin, was motivated by economic factors. The Banadirians blockaded the Italians on the coast for more than two decades, from 1888-1910.

 

In October 1923, De Vecchi di Val Cismon became the first fascist Governor of Somalia marking a change in Italian strategy in the Horn of Africa. De Vecchi set out to exterminate all who opposed his government’s desire for total control over what fascist propaganda called ‘La Grande Somalia’. However, the Somalis were heavily armed and led by men who had been given advanced training during the preparation for the First World War. An estimated 16,000 rifles were in Somali hands. The Governor’s first task, therefore, was to order the confiscation of arms and ammunition from the Somalis, particularly from the clans in the inter-riverine region.

 The Barsane revolt

In March 1924, Sheikh Hassan Barsane, of the Gugundhabe and a leader of the Shabelle valley movement known as the Barsane Revolt, convoked a Shir (meeting of elders) where the participants, inflamed with millenarian zeal, denounced the Governor’s order. On behalf of the Shir, Barsane wrote the following to the Governor:

In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful … I have received your letter and understood its contents, but must advise that we cannot obey your orders and join with you in a covenant . . . Your government has its laws, and we have ours. We accept no law other than ours. Our law is the law of Allah and his Prophet . . . We are not like other people, none of us has ever enrolled in the Zaptie (colonial forces), never! … and if you come to our land to fight against us, we will fight you with all possible means … The world is very close to its end, only 58 years remain. We don’t want to stay in this world. It is better to die while defending our laws.

After some initial success, the Somali resistance crumbled when Barsane was captured by the Italians on 4 April.

De Vecchi’s problems were not over. Further resistance emerged from the Jama’oyin religious settlements which had sprung up in the 19th century in the same region. In 1923, Sufi Baraki united several Jama’a settlements: Buulo Mareerto, Golwiing, Muki Dumis and others scattered in the Lower Shabelle region, and set up his headquarters in Barawa, the birthplace of Sheikh Aways Qadir, the founder of the movement. The major goal of this movement was to propagate the teaching of its founder. The tours of Sufi Baraki to the villages, where he often made provocative speeches, aroused Italian suspicion, and the fascist authorities warned him several times to give up what they called ‘these unhealthy activities’. Sufi Baraki was forced to leave Barawa for the extreme north of the Upper Jubba region, where a strong religious movement had emerged led by Sharif Alyow al-Sarmani. Sufi Baraki learned many things there, which he later taught to the Lower Shabelle militants. These included plans to fight against tribalism; to bring harmony among the Ikhwan (Muslim) brotherhood; to fight salaried tribal chiefs who were considered agents of the colonial administration; to establish settlements for the protection of the Ikhwan from Italian raids, and to promote learning and training.

Sufi Baraki returned to the Lower Shabelle and established a village called ‘Dai Dai’, later known as ‘Jama’a Dai Dai’, located in the heart of the Jidu territory. Eventually, the movement gained the support of Sharif Alyow al-Sarmani, who established his own village at Qorile, later known as Buulo Ashraf, not far from Dai Dai. A partial merging of the two groups occurred, making the Lower Shabelle movement more powerful. Delegations were despatched across the inter-riverine region to obtain support. They contacted Sheikh Murjan, a prominent Qadiri holy man in the Lower Jubba. The Italian authorities felt endangered, and as a preemptive measure, the Governor ordered the Barawa District Commissioner to negotiate with the leaders of the movement in a peaceful way. This was not fruitful, and a Zaptie commando was sent against Sufi Baraki and his allies. On 20 October 1924, Zaptie forces besieged Dai Dai Camp; the Ikhwan defended their village and forced the Zaptie to retreat to Barawa leaving behind some of their dead and injured. Sufi Baraki considered the event a miracle, and proclaimed a Jihad against the fascist administration. Early in November 1924, the Italians sent well-armed detachments to attack the strongholds of the movement; many centres were attacked, and the Ikhwan fought bravely with arrows and swords.

Characteristics of the Southern Resistance

In dealing with Somali resistance to colonialism, much scholarly attention has been given to the northern Somalia, particularly the rebellion led by Ina ‘Abdulle Hassan, known as ‘the Dervish Movement’.  Southern Somali resistance is not often discussed in Somali scholarship.

Somalia’s historiography became obsessed with a mythic monolithic culture, diverting scholars from examining other important themes of Somalia’s past. Current scholarship is pointing out the significance of anti-colonial resistance in the inter-riverine region. The list of scholars includes Lee Cassanelli, Virginia Luling, Bernhard Helander, Herbert Lewis and those who contributed to All Jimale’s recently edited volume, The Invention of Somalia.

Inter-riverine society was more diversified than its northern counterpart. At the advent of colonialism, it was divided not only along clan lines, but also on the basis of Sufi order affiliation. Moreover, the region had absorbed people from neighbouring regions; Arabs, Oromos and Bantu among them. One wonders how such a complex society could raise serious resistance against colonialism. Nevertheless, the region produced movements that transcended particular clan interests and fought for the protection of broader regional political and economic interests.

The struggle continued throughout the years. Rebellions against the Italian colonialists erupted, depending on the evolution of Somalia as a nation. In the mid-19th century, Cheif Hassan Gedii Abtow, heading the three Mataan Abdulle of the Abgaal tribe, was asked to take a census on his tribe and later to report the results to the Italian ruler in Mogadishu. When the time came for him to report, Chief Hassan brought with him three bags (about 50kg each) of Wambo seeds and told the Italian governor; “this is the census of the Mataan tribe as i asked each and every one of them to put one Wambo seed into the sack”. This was an act of resistance to the Italian occupation. There were many examples of resistance to the domination of the riverine and inter-riverine region such as those of Nasiib Buunde, Abdullahi Isse, and others. Women were also part of this resistance. Several of the most notable were; Hassanai Owbakar (Hassanay Bandiiro), Gura Bilaal, Fay Jeelle and Timiro Ukaash (Cuqaash).

Because the regional economy was integrated, threats to any one sector affected the others. The early Italian blockade of the Banadir ports was a threat not only to particular clans or traders, but threatened to damage the sophisticated network linking the hinterland with the coast.  The caravan routes started to fade, and the value of goods dropped sharply. The oral tradition of the time records the inflation caused by the blockade. Indeed, inflation triggered the resistance that involved numerous clans of the coast, such as the Biyamals, the Tunnis, the Gheledis, the Wa’dans, the Abgals, the Shikhals and others. A coalition of these clans prevented the Italian penetration to the hinterland of the inter-riverine region for over two decades (1886-1908).

The Ethiopians

Even before the Italians began to take steps to assert control over their new possessions, another well-armed power was threatening Somali society from the west. Ethiopian King Menilek, having consolidated his power in the Shewa highlands, began to seek out livestock and manpower in the lowlands to the southeast. When Egyptian forces abandoned the Islamic city of Harar in 1885, Menilek moved in. In January 1887, he personally led an army against the forces of the Harari emir Abdullahi and defeated them on the plains outside the walled town. Thus even before Menilek was crowned emperor of Ethiopia (in 1889), Harar had become a symbol of Ethiopian expansion into the Somali Peninsula.

Using Harar as a base, expeditions of armed Ethiopian warriors on horseback set out to exact tribute from the Oromo and Somali populations to the south. By the mid-1890s, these raids were reaching the Shabeelle basin and beyond. In 1896, Ethiopian forces reached the outskirts of Luuq on the upper Jubba River.

Earlier such military forays had been disruptive to trade; in an age of colonial expansion, they assumed even more menacing proportions.

As far away as the Benaadir Coast, Somalis were aware of the Ethiopian threat. In a report which followed the assassination in 1897 of an Italian official in Marka, one of the reasons given for Somali discontent was “a general uneasiness caused by rumors of an Amharic invasion.”

Such rumors proved well founded; in the spring of 1905, an Ethiopian force estimated at several thousand well-armed horsemen pushed down the Shabeelle Valley to the environs of Balcad, about a day’s march from Muqdisho.

A Somali poet in the Afgooye area recorded the episode in the following verses.

When I was still a young man   Into the world I loved the Amhara came   They came from Jigjiga and the confines of Awdal   Crossing the Ogaadeen, they killed many from the Karanle   They used guns against the people of Imaan Cumar   They killed many from the Jidle and Jajeele.  [Then] they arrived at Jiiciyow and at the banks of the Webi.

When they reached Jibbirrow they were attacked;   The Muslims confronted them and fighting began;   In the country near Yaaqle  The Mobilayn stood firm and fought with them,   The magic of the Gobroon defeated them. [But] when the Amhara left the infidels appeared,   Coming from every corner of the world. . .

The poem indicates that the threat of Ethiopian expansion was felt even by those living in the Benaadir hinterland, and that some Somali clans actually engaged in combat with the invading forces. It also suggests that the Ethiopians were initially perceived to be a greater danger than the Italians, who at that time were still confined to their enclaves along the coast. It soon became clear, however, that the Italians had imperial designs on the country as well, and that their presence was far more permanent than that of the Ethiopian raiders. It appeared that any resistance struggle the Somalis would have to wage would be on two fronts.

The Facist Italians

From 1893 to 1905, when the Italian government assumed direct administration of the southern portion of the inter-riverine region, two companies—the Filonardi Company 1893-1896, and the Benadir Company 1896-1905 — introduced customs and tariff regulations which were anathema to the people of the region. Most early protests were provoked by these measures. Italian colonial records indicate a great deal of Somali discontent. With the introduction of forced labour in the interior, and the toleration of slavery in the newly-established plantations, popular resistance acquired a new dimension. The Nassib Buunto movement is a good example of resistance against slavery and forced labour. Bitter memories of the period are found in the oral tradition of the inter-riverine people. Terms like ‘Cologno’ (corvee labour) and ‘Teen’ (shift labour) are reminders of a tragic period in the history of the region, when its people were forced to work on plantations, roads, canals and other construction projects. Workers in the plantations were treated harshly, and many died of over-exertion and disease.

The faith of Islam includes a metaphysics, a cosmology, a moral and political theory. It is not surprising that colonial oppression and the moral disruption of inter-riverine society should lead to the emergence of movements to defend that faith. The Jama’a movement played a leading role in raising the political consciousness of its followers. The sheikhs who led them were the educated elite in a mass of illiterate people. Most of the Jama’a centres were located in the agricultural part of the region where the colonial plantations also developed, and they posed a threat to colonial activities. These centres became safe havens for runaway slaves and outcasts, giving them a fresh start and helping them to integrate into the religious and economic life of the region.  The centres also enabled destitute people to acquire land and earn a living while also practicing their faith. Jama’a centres were actually a means by which the Somalis could evade the colonial forced-labour regime. In brief, these communities played a tremendous social and economic role and led most the southern resistance at the time.

As we have seen, the Jama’a were scattered throughout the inter-riverine region, and the colonial authority failed to suppress their activities decisively. Italian frustration is clearly manifested in the reports sent to Rome. Governor Riveri (1920-1923) noted in 1921 that the multiplication and extension of Jama’a communities might be a cause for concern since they were acquiring more land and more adherents along the Shabelle valley. ‘By substituting the universal ties of religion for strictly ethnic ones’, Riveri added, the Jama’a ‘could constitute, sometime in the future, a real danger to the political tranquillity of the colony’. As the examples cited above of Sufi Baraki and Sharif Alyow reveal, Riveri’s warning was prophetic. Although by 1926 the most powerful Jama’a resistance had been defeated and the leadership either killed or detained, the fascist administration still confronted sporadic disturbances and sabotage from the Ikhwan followers of martyred Sheikhs.

It is also evident that millenarianism strongly motivated these movements both in opposition to the colonialists and to rally their own followers. Barsane’s letter to the fascist Governor cited above, and his foretelling the end of the world within 58 years, is a clear illustration. The statement that ‘we are living in a time of unparalleled woes’ is a familiar one in nineteenth and twentieth century African anti-colonial movements. The followers of Sheikh Aways al-Qadiri believe he would be murdered by the Dervishes of the north, and that would be the end of the world. Sheikh Abdulle Issaq from Bardhere, another millenarian, predicted that ‘when we are close to the end of the world, Captains and Commissioners will conquer our country’. Similar movements inspired by messianic and millenarian doctrines appeared all over Africa during the colonial era; such as Kimbangui in the Congo, who believed the world would end on 21 October 1921 and Adamawa in Northern Cameroon, who believed the Mahdi (Messiah) era had already passed, and it was now the epoch of the Dajjal (anti-Christ). The believers, Muslim and Christian alike, had nothing to lose in this just struggle: if they die for the cause, they become martyrs; and if they win, they are heroes. Nassib Buunto, the leader of the Somali anti-slavery movement was hanged in 1907. Sheikh Aways al-Qadiri was murdered in 1909. Sheikh Hassan Barsane was sentenced to death in 1924, but had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment and died in prison in 1929. Sufi Baraki was killed in 1925.

References

De Vecchi di Val Cismon (1935), Orizzonti d’impero: Cinque Anni in Somalia

Cassanelli, Lee V (1982), The Shaping of Somali Society, Reconstructing the History of a Pastoral People, 1600-1900

Italian imperialism and Benaadir resistance prt 4

leave a comment »

5:The Storm of the Banadir Resistance gathers strength

As became clear from the NY times report (see part 4) on the ‘Lafole Massacre’, the Italian minister of Foreign Affaires commented on the ‘Lafole Massacre’ that the Italian government would take ‘energetic measures’ to punish the Somalis who were ‘guilty of the outrage’.

Now let us discuss these ‘energetic measures’ the Italian government wanted to take, and see whether they could stem the coming tide of the monsoon storm of resistance headed towards the Benadir coast region. As mentioned in part 3, the Italian foreign minister immediately appointed Commander Giorgio Sorrentino as royal commissioner extraordinary for the Benadir. His mission was as Robert L. Hess writes in his book ‘Italian colonialism in Somalia’:

”Sorentino was instructed ‘above all to provide for the security and tranquillity of the region’ After a complete investigation of the causes of the attack at Lafolé, he was to take whatever steps should appear indispensable for our dignity and for the security of the colony’’

This investigation would be completed within ten days which was around February 1897 (see part 4). The conclusion Sorrentino drew from the investigation was as follows:

”Within ten days he had determined that Lafolé was neither the precursor of a general urprising against the Italians nor an Ethiopian ambush but an isolated case of action by Wadan tribesmen and the tribes of Geledi; who had been spurred to the act by two Arabs from Mogadishu’’ (Robert L. Hess)

The conclusion Sorrentino drew was that the guilty ones were Wacdaan tribesmen and the tribes of Geledi, which meant that these tribesmen would be punished as the Italian foreign minister said in the NY Times report. Also Sorrentino believed that these tribesmen have been spurred to the act by two Arabs from Mogadishu. These Arabs were Abu Bakr Bin Awod, Filonardi’s interpreter and a certain Islam bin Muhammed.

The first thing, Sorrentino did was arresting Abu Bakr, while Islam bin Muhammed disappeared from the Banadir coast. The second thing, Sorrentino did was to plan a punitive expedition against the Somalis who were ‘guilty of the outrage’. For this he had ordered two companies of Eritrean askaris. In the meantime, Sorrentino, researched the conditions prevailing in the Benadir, where he discovered the widespread practice of slavery and domestic servitude. But he could not do something about it, since obviously this meant distrubting the whole plantation economy of the South.

”Under the circumstances-the already difficult relations with the interior tribes- Neither Dulio nor Sorrentino could act immediately against slavery. Such action would have committed the Italians to a costly undertaking of doubtful outcome, a risk that Sorrentino had been ordered not to take.’’ (Robert L. Hess)

Sorrentino and Dulio, the Benadir Company’s commissioner, had to content themselves with the expected punitive expedition against the tribes in the interior. Sorrentino was pleased at the prospect of this punitive expedition as he thought of the Somalis as: ”liars, thieves, and murderers”. A clear grudge from the ‘Lafole massacre’. He wrote in his book Ricordi del Benadir: ”We’ve got a nasty cat to skin!, May God protect us!”

In March the reinforcements of the two companies of Eritrean askaris finally arrived, and the Italians completed their plans for the punitive expedition against the Wacdaan and Geledi.

On April 20, almost 5 months after the Lafole attack, Sorrentino led his expedition inland and burned first Lafole and then several other villages associated with the Geledi and Murusade clan. The religious settlement of Nimow from where Sheekh Axmed Xaaji preached his religious message, was also bombarded by an Italian warship.

”The Italian bombardment of the small coastal village of Nimow in retaliation for Cecchi’s death marked the first such colonial action against a Somali civilian population.’’( Lee V. Cassanelli).

The Italians were joyful about these ‘energetic measures’ against the Somalis who were found guilty. Surprisingly, the Italians thought that these measures would solve everything and concluded that the Sorrentino expedition was a success:

”With Abu Bakr arrested, the Ethiopians in voluntary retreat, Lafole avenged, and leaders of Somali opposition deported, Sorrentino had virtually accomplished his mission by the end of April’’ (Robert L. Hess)

The deported leaders were Hussein Dera of Mogadishu and other Somalis for collaboration with the Ethiopians and instigation of Somali attacks on trading caravans between Lugh and the Coastal towns. Although these punitive expeditions looked impressive, they had no lasting effect, as it further antagonized the Wacdaan and Geledi clans. Also, it became clear that the two Arabs had no influence whatsoever on the clans of the interior, and thus were not the source of opposition to the Italian presence.

”The impression made by the punitive expedition after Lafolé could hardly have been called lasting” (Robert L. Hess)

This seems to be the case, since the Italians retreated to the coastal cities after the expedition.

”In the decade following the Lafoole incident, the Italians remained at the coast, their colonial policy marked by uncertainty and indecision. Their only major venture into the interior was the establishment of a garrison of Arab soldiers at Baardheere in 1902’’ ( Lee V. Cassanelli).

Also, in the book ‘Italian colonialism in Somalia’ of Robert L Hess, it becomes clear that the punitive expedition to avenge the Lafole attack was not followed by other expeditions into the interior.

”We make no expeditions against tribes guilty (of hostilities) but arrest individuals of that tribe who happen to be in town; (this policy) has persuaded the Bimal and the Somali of Mogadishu that we are not strong”

It thus becomes clear that the Italians retreated back to the Coast, and only were visible in the cities of Merca, Mogadishu, Barawe and Warsheekh.

In Somali Sultanate, Virginia Luling also talks about the consequences of Lafole attack, in which she writes: ”On the Italian side, though the repercussions of the disaster delayed by three years the formation of the Benadir Company, in the long run it reinforced the conviction that it was necessary to take military control of the hinterland.’’

What made the punitive expedition not effective on the long run? Why did the Italians retreated to the Coast? To answer these questions we need to know how the different Somali groups in Benadir responded to the Lafole attack.

”It is clear from colonial reports and from Somali oral recollections that Lafoole precipated a response from all the districts of the hinterland” ( Lee V. Cassanelli).

————-

-To start with the Geledi Sultanate,

The Sultan of Geledi, Sultan Osman, as already discussed in the previous parts, wanted to accommodate the Italian presence on the Banadir coast. Cecchi apparently went to conclude a treaty with the Sultan, in order to penetrate the interior of the Banadir region. The Lafole episode came suddenly, and the Italians mounted their revenge expedition. As a consequence, Sultan Osman quickly succumbed to the Italian pressure and signed a treaty of peace with the Italians.

”The encounter with the Italians subdued the sultan of Geledi, who quickly signed a treaty of peace and pledged obedience to the Italian government” (Robert L. Hess).

This however did not mean that the Geledi people supported the Italian penetration of the Banadir coast, or accepted the Sultan’s treaty with the Italians. The young people of Geledi were fiercely opposed to the Italians and also played a role in the Lafoole attack.

”Acting-Governor Dulio felt that the young men of Geledi were fiercely opposed to the Italian presence, whereas their elders wanted some sort of accommodation” ( Lee V. Cassanelli).

Besides the young men, the uncle of Sultan Osman, and others felt that if the sultan wavered in his resistance, Gobroon authority would be weakened for good. This was true, since many from Adawiin lineage, whose religious prestige among the Geledi was second only to the Gobroon, preached a policy of non-accommodation. The reasons why the Sultan of Geledi succumbed to the Italians were varied. One of them was that Sultan Osman himself considered the possibility of shoring up his waning power through an alliance with the Italians.

The only articulated fierce opposition to the Italians from the Geledi was from the leader of a jamaaca (religious settlement) of the Ahmediya. This leader was Shaykh Abiker Ali Jelle, a member of the sultan’s own Gobroon lineage.

”When Abiker began to preach outright opposition to the colonials sitting threateningly on the coast, he was forced by the Geledi elders to leave the district’’( Lee V. Cassanelli).

This shows on which side the elders stood, and how they along with the Sultan were hesitant to join the resistance and thought accommodation was the best option for the group’s interest. We will see in later instalments whether this actually was the case.

-The Wacdaan response:

As already discussed in the previous parts, the Wacdaan were from the beginning fiercely opposed to the Italian penetration of the Banadir. This fierce opposition culminated in the attack of Lafole, in which mainly Wacdaan warriors along with a few Murusade and Geledi warriors, attacked the Cecchi expedition and killed all but three men.

The Italians directed their anger and revenge on mainly this group, by burning Lafole to the ground and bombarding the coastal village of Nimow from the sea. The Sorrentino expedition, with the Italian troops already based in the Banadir port-cities and the reinforcements of the two Eritrean Askari companies, was also mainly directed at punishing the Wacdaan and their allies.

These punitive measures however did not subdue the Wacdaan. Instead the Wacdaan remained harassing Italian presence on the Banadir coast by conducting guerrilla warfare tactics i.e. attacking caravans to the Banadir port-cities, organising blockades of the caravan routes that went through their territory to Mogadishu, and persecuting Somalis working with the Italians.

”Now the Wacdaan were beginning to blockade the caravan routes that ran through their territory to the coast” ( Lee V. Cassanelli).

The Italians sought to divide the Wacdaan and persuade sections of the group to submit peacefully. As said earlier the most numerous and militarily strongest section of Wacdaan, the Abubakar (Abukar?) Moldheere were lead by the famous Hassan Hussein, the fierce anti-‘infidel’ leader who along with Sheekh Axmed Xaaji articulated the opposition to the Italian penetration of the Banadir coast. This section of Wacdaan could not be persuaded, and continued to fight the Italians to the bitter end. The other section, the Mahad Moldheere, began slowly to depart from the rest of Wacdaan. They too participated in the Lafole attack, but started to move to the side of the Geledi. This was not surprising since they inhabited the territory contiguous to Afgooye and the fertile lands around Adadleh.

”Their interests coincided more with those of the agricultural Geledi. However, their smaller numbers gave them less influence in Wacdaan clan councils, which came to assume greater importance for policymakers as the Wacdaan began to act independently of the Geledi. While the Mahad Moldheere apparently cooperated in the Lafoole siege, their leader Abiker Ahmed Hassan subsequently struck an independent diplomatic stance.’’ ( Lee V. Cassanelli).

When in 1899 the Italians demanded forty hostages to be surrendered to the authorities in Muqdisho as a sign of Wacdaan submission, only the Mahad Moldheere responded. Their leader Abiker became a stipend official, which enhanced his standing among those of pacific persuasion.
The Abubakar Moldheere refused to send the twenty representatives demanded of them and for some years remained openly defiant of Italian authority.

”They continued to attack caravans and occasionally to boycott the market of Muqdisho. There is some evidence to suggest that feuding within the Wacdaan increased after this rift between the two major lineages’( Lee V. Cassanelli).

The Biyamaal response:

The Biyamaal were one of the first group to express their support for the Wacdaan in the lafole attack. They boycotted the markets of Merca, and the northern Biyamaal even collaborated with Hassan Husein of the Wacdaan. This collaboration led to the Biyamaal becoming also a target of punitive expeditions.

”After the Lafoole episode, several Biimaal sections boycotted the market of Marka to express their support for the Wacdaan action. The northern Biimaal collaborated with Hassan Hussein of Lafoole in cutting off land communications between Muqdisho and Marka.” ( Lee V. Cassanelli).

The Italians also targeted the Biyamaal for their support to the Wacdaan. In this they seized Jeziira, 13 miles south of Mogadishu.

————-
These were the immediate responses of the Italian colonialists and the different Somali groups to the Lafole episode.

These actions and reactions would accelerate in the coming years, as the Italians were determined to colonize the Banadir coast and its hinterlands as the springboard for the eventual colonization of the rest of Southern Somalia. In this, the Italians would target the two most fierce resistance groups in the Banadir: the Wacdaan and Biyamaal, who were already allied in their economic sanctions and operations to disturb the lines of supplies and communication of the Italians in Mogadishu. As will become clear in the next instalments the Italians would target the very foundation of the Wacdaan and Biyamaal power: their means of production and thus means of power–>the plantation economy of the Banadir coast.

In the next instalment the plantation economy of the Benadir coast and Southern Somalia will be discussed and the Italian strategy to undermine this by their anti-slavery campaign.

This strategy of directly targeting the foundations of the Banadir agricultural society and thus the power of the two most fierce resistance groups against Italian penetration of the Benadir coast would trigger the monsoon Storm of Resistance that struck the Banadir coast region.

 references;