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"Gacmo wadajir bay wax ku gooyaan"
Garbaharrey is located in Somalia
Location in Somalia
Coordinates: 3°21′N 42°16′E / 3.350°N 42.267°E / 3.350; 42.267
Country Somalia
 • Total50,000
Time zoneUTC+3 (East Africa Time)
Area code(s)+252

Garbahare (also: Garbaharrey, Garbahaarrey or Garbahaareey) (Arabic: جربهاري‎) is the capital of Gedo, an administrative region in southern Somalia inhabited primarily by the Marehan.


During the Middle Ages, Garbahare and its surrounding area was part of the Ajuran Empire that governed much of southern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia, with its domain extending from Hobyo in the north, to Qelafo in the west, to Kismayo in the south.[1]

In the early modern period, the Garbahare area was ruled by the Geledi Sultanate; the kingdom was eventually incorporated into Italian Somaliland protectorate in 1910 after the death of its last Sultan Osman Ahmed in 1910.[2] After independence in 1960, the city became the capital of Gedo region.


The population of Garbaharey is estimated to be 50,000. There are high levels of transmigration between Garbahare and the surrounding towns and villages, such as Tuulo Barwaaqo. Transmigration is more prevalent during times of conflict or natural disaster.

At the height of the civil war from 1991 to 1994, the population dispersed to many of the two dozen or so villages surrounding the city. Garbahare is about 130 km from the Kenyan border in the Northern Frontier District (NFD).


Garbahare's population growth is slower than many other districts in Somalia, due to its size and lack of agricultural activities. Many residents make second homes in Beled Haawo, taking advantage of the open-border policy with Kenya, and send their children to school in Mandera, Kenya. Likewise, business activities are much broader in Beled Haawo than in Garbahare. Goods being transported to and from many areas of Somalia frequently pass through the Beled Haawo-Mandera border. Trade also takes place between Garbahare and the Bardera district, primarily consisting of produce from the fertile Jubba River farms in the Bardera, Buurdhuubo, and Luuq districts.

Insecurity of the 1990s[edit]

During much of the 1990s, the city of Garbahare was the seat of the Somali National Front militia in the early days of the civil war. Facing pressure from the local population, the militia left.

By early 2001, Garbahare came under the control of the Transitional National Government.[3] All activities shifted to Luuq and Beled Haawo, and Garbahare had a new role to in the region. Neighboring regions such as NFD welcomed the new leadership, as a safer Gedo is also good for the neighboring regions in Kenya and Ethiopia.


Of all the Gedo region's governors that have occupied the gubernatorial office of the capital, Governor Mohamed Abdinur Iris was the most famous and influential in terms of actual goals accomplished. Governor Iris (nicknamed Gudoomiye in Somali) implemented some of the most well-known public works projects; some of his achievements include the expansion of the city's only hospital and improvements to the local roads (the latter of which connect some of the region's district seats to the regional capital). With his experience abroad, Gedo's former governor Aden Ibrahim Aw Hirsi was believed to be capable of doing much more than had been done in the past for the Somali-administrative region.

New leadership in the 21st century[edit]

Somali regions have been getting more and more disconnected from the nation's capital since armed clan militias overthrew the last central government.

Unlike many other regions in Somalia, Gedo opted for a young, pragmatic, educated, forward-looking kind of new leadership. Aden Ibrahim Aw Hirsi (Aw Xirsi) was chosen as the region's new governor in November 2006. Under Hirsi's stewardship, Gedo was realistically predicted to improve in terms of security, commerce, good governance, and furthering all public services, which had been lacking for more than a decade and a half. At that time, some old school clan leaders had developed a habit of pitting one clan or sub-clan against another; this hindered many well-meaning efforts aimed at stabilizing southern Somalia.

However, Al-Shabaab, a local Islamist group, opposed Hirsi's Western-leaning administration; the group consequently orchestrated a peaceful way to frustrate and ultimately oust the governor by bankrolling a former warlord, Hussein Ismail. Ismail then gathered militias and threatened to start a civil war in the region.

In May 2008, faced with the harsh realities of the situation, Hirsi resigned from office and let Ismail assume the governorship. Al-Shabaab would later oust Ismail himself in July of that same year.

Future of the regional administration[edit]

The Gedo region's political dynamics are fast changing since Ibrahim Aw Xirsi was named the governor of Gedo; the future of Gedo region is going in the right direction with vast opportunities to unite the minds and the efforts of all the service providers and businesses. In the mid 1990s, Gedo was regarded as one of the most prosperous regions of Somalia. Now that a new governor is at the helm of the region, many new peacebuilding efforts and a new focus on the economy are on the table; the population of Garbahare, as well as people from other districts of Gedo, are welcoming the new governor.

Gedo Region support from Diaspora Friends[edit]

The new governor, Adam Ibrahim Aw Xirsi and the leaders from the seven districts of the region are already having working relations, and this is a new beacon of hope.

Many of the schools and other public services currently functioning in Gedo receive support and leadership from the diaspora. HIRDA, SEHO and Markabley Foundation are some of the organizations which fund schools and health centers in the region.

Gedo administrations in the 1970s and 1980s[edit]

Two decades ago, one of Gudoomiye Iris's lasting legacies was the creation of boarding school on the outskirts of the city of Garbahare. Iris was the governor of Gedo much of the 1980s. Many public works projects were in the pipeline when the civil war erupted in Somalia in early 1991.

All previous governors and those who came after governor Iris, have left for the city or for the region with little or no progress to show.

Governor Mohamed Abdinur (Iris) made the most headway in creating substantial public works projects in Gedo region, his administration in the 1980s created a boarding school in the region's capital as well as the expansion of the Garbaharrey-Buurdhuubo road.

In the last thirty-years, Garbahare has seen over a dozen governors as compiled by Mohamud Dahir Dhaqane. Below are the past and present governors who occupied the governor's office in Garbahare.

  1. Cumar Maxamed Guuleed
  2. Maxamed Nuur Wardheere
  3. Cali Faarax Xayoow
  4. Maxamed Cali Xaashi
  5. Jaalle Axmed Mahdi
  6. Maxamed Cabdinuur (Iris)
  7. Cali Maxamed Aadan (Cali Xaashi)
  8. Axmed Sharmaarke
  9. Cumar Sh Maxamuud Sh Cabdullahi (Cumar Yare) 1994-1994
  10. Xuseen Sh Cabdi Ismaaciil (Fareey) 2004-2006
  11. Aadam Ibraahim Aw Xirsi 2006-2008
  12. Mohamed Abdi Kaliil 2008-current
  13. Imaan Cadoow Kaarshe 2012-2014
  14. Mohamed Mohamud Aden Current

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lee V. Cassanelli, The shaping of Somali society: reconstructing the history of a pastoral people, 1600-1900, (University of Pennsylvania Press: 1982), p.102.
  2. ^ Cassanelli, Lee Vincent (1973). The Benaadir Past: Essays in Southern Somali History. University Microfilms International. p. 149.
  3. ^ "Horn of Africa, Monthly Review, January - February 2001" (accessed 24 February 2009)

Coordinates: 3°21′N 42°16′E / 3.350°N 42.267°E / 3.350; 42.267