Responses to Information Requests

​​Responses to Information Requests (RIR) are research reports on country conditions. They are requested by IRB decision makers.

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5 April 2018


Somalia: Information on the Darood [Darod, Daarood] clan, including distinguishing features, locations, occupations and position in the clan hierarchy; treatment by authorities and other clans, including the Hawiye clan; ability of members to live in Mogadishu (2016-March 2018)

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Darood Clan

According to sources, the Darood are one of the four main clans in Somalia (Australia 13 June 2017, para. 2.5; Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD 15 Dec. 2009, 11). According to sources, they are among the "noble" nomadic pastoralist clans (Solomon 2015, 41; EU Aug. 2014, 43; Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD 15 Dec. 2009, 11). According to sources, the Darood are the most numerous clan in Somalia (Escalona Carrillo 2011, 383; Ambroso Mar. 2002, 9). A 2002 paper written by Guido Ambroso, while he was a field repatriation officer for UNHCR, states that the Darood are the most "territorially diffused clan-family" (Ambroso Mar. 2002, 9).

1.1 Sub-Clans

According to sources, main sub-clans of the Darood include the Ogaden, Marehan [Marreexaan, Marrahan], and Harti (Hoehne 2015, 20; EU Aug. 2014, 43; Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD 15 Dec. 2009, 12). A 2014 report by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) on south and central Somalia provides the following information:

The Harti are a federation of three clans: the Majerteen are the main clan in Puntland; the Dulbahante and Qarsangeli live in the disputed border areas between Puntland and Somaliland. The Ogaden are the most important Somali clan in Ethiopia, but also quite influential in both Jubba regions, while the Marehan are present in [s]outh and [c]entral Somalia. (EU Aug. 2014, 43)

In a book titled Between Somaliland and Puntland: Marginalization, Militarization and Conflicting Political Visions, author Markus Hoehne [Höhne], a Lecturer (Professor) at Leipzig's Institute of Anthropology whose research focuses on Somalia, including identity and conflict dynamics (Leipzig University n.d.), states that sub-sub-clans of the Harti include Majeerteen [Majerteen, Majertein], Dhulbahante, Warsangeli [Qarsangeli], Dashiishe, Liibaan Geshe, Kasikqabe, Geesaguule, and Tinle (Hoehne 2015, 20). Guido Ambroso's paper on Somali clans indicates that the major clans of the Harti are the "Majertein, Dulbahante, and Warsangeli" (Ambroso 2002, 10).

For information on the Ogaden sub-clan of the Darood, as well as on distinguishing features of major clans such as the Darood, see section 2 of Response to Information Request SOM106011 of November 2017.

1.2 Intra-Clan Conflict

According to a book about terrorism and insurgency in Africa written by Hussein Solomon, a Senior Professor in the Department of Political Science of the University of Free State in South Africa and Research Fellow at the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa, whose research interests include conflict and conflict resolution in Africa (Stellenbosch University n.d.), "[i]ntra-clan conflict is as common as inter-clan conflict since the segmentary lineage system divides Somalis along sub-clans and sub-sub-clans" (Solomon 2015, 41). A 2015 report from the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea of the UN Security Council's Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee states that "[s]poradic inter-Majeerteen (Harti/Darod) clashes have continued in Puntland over both urban and grazing land" (UN 19 Oct. 2015, para. 31). The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) [1] reports the following incidents of intra-clan conflict:

  • 19 December 2017: "Two unidentified clan groups (later identified as Darood-Dhulbahante and Majeerteen-Omar Mahmud) clash in Burtinle on 19/12. Fourteen reported deaths. The clash is believed to be related to a border dispute" (ACLED [2018], event 536 691).
  • 23 December 2017 (reported by local sources and Universal TV):
    At least 14 people have been killed and 50 others injured in renewed fighting between two clans in villages in Mudug, Sool and Nugal regions. The identities of the combatants, as well as the locations of the fighting is not known. The fighting began over use of water and pastureland. A second source claims the combatants were militia from Darood-Dhulbahante and M-Omar Mahmud clans, resulting in 15 dead. The second source also claimed the events took place on the 24th. (ACLED [2018], event 536 689)

2. Locations

According to a 2017 article by The Washington Post, the Darood clan "mostly resides in northern Somalia" (The Washington Post 8 Feb. 2017). According to a 2009 joint report on Somali clans by the Austrian Red Cross and the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin & Asylum Research and Documentation (ACCORD), territories inhabited by the Darood include north and south-central Somalia (Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD 15 Dec. 2009, 12). Sources indicate that the Darood also reside outside Somalia, including in parts of Ethiopia and Kenya (Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD 15 Dec. 2009, 12; Ambroso 2002, 9).

According to the book by Markus Hoehne, the majority of the population in the Puntland State of Somalia, "established in 1998 as an autonomous regional administration," is Harti (Hoehne 2015, 56). The 2009 report by the Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD indicates that "Puntland almost entirely overlaps with the Majerteen clan family," a sub-group of the Harti (Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD 15 Dec. 2009, 12). According to a 2011 report by Interpeace [2] and the Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC) [3], the territory of Puntland was defined "on the basis of the Harti clan group lineage" and "minority non-Darood groups have no representation" (Interpeace and PDRC 26 July 2011, 54).

3. Relationship with Authorities and Al Shabaab

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs provides the following information:

The Federal Parliament is divided into a lower house, the House of the People, and the Upper House. The House of the People has 275 seats which are distributed between the federal member states, in line with the 4.5 power-sharing formula, whereby representation is divided proportionally amongst the four majority clans; the Hawiye, Dir, Darod and Rahanweyn and the .5 collectively represents the minority clans (including the Bantu). (Australia 13 June 2017, para. 2.18)

Similarly, the 2009 report published by the Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD indicates that in 2000 the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) established the

so-called "4.5 formula" which seeks to ensure that each of the four main clans (identified as the Hawiye, the Darood, the Dir, and the Rahanweyn) be equally represented in government. The remaining "0.5" is intended to accommodate all groups that are not part of the main clans, i.e. minorities, women, civil society and other groups. (Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD 15. Dec. 2009, 11)

According to sources, Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed [Farmajo], elected in February 2017, is Darood (Australia 13 June 2017, para. 2.21; Al Jazeera 23 Feb. 2017; The Washington Post 8 Feb. 2017), from a large Darood sub-clan (Australia 13 June 2017, para. 2.21). According to the Associated Press (AP), Mohamed received 184 votes, while Hassan Sheikh, the incumbent and runner-up, received 97 votes (AP 8 Feb. 2017). The same source also indicates that those voting were "275 members of the lower legislative house and 54 senators," who were themselves "selected by the country's powerful, intricate network of clans" (AP 8 Feb. 2017). According to sources, the Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, appointed in 2017, is from the Hawiye clan (Australia 13 June 2017, para. 2.21; Al Jazeera 23 Feb. 2017).

According to the 2014 EASO report, citing a report by Lifos, the Swedish Migration Agency, itself citing an international organization, the majority of the Marehan sub-clan of the Darood are among groups considered pro-Al-Shabaab, while the Ogaden are considered to be evenly divided on Al-Shabaab (EU Aug. 2014, 91). However, according to an article on al-Shabaab's capabilities by Ken Menkhaus, a professor of Political Science at Davidson College who has published more than 50 articles and chapters on Somalia and the Horn of Africa (Menkhaus Feb. 2014, 9), "[w]hole clans," including the Ogaden, "broke from al-Shabab and began fighting it" in 2008 (Menkhaus Feb. 2014, 4). For further information on the Ogaden and treatment by Al-Shabaab, see section 6 of Response to Information Request SOM106011 of November 2017. A 2014 report on security and protection issues in Mogadishu and south-central Somalia by Landinfo, "an independent body within the Norwegian Immigration Authorities" (Norway n.d.), and the Danish Immigration Service, citing "[a]n international NGO," stated that "when Al-Shabaab is in control of an area[,] the elders will pretend that they are supportive" (Norway and Denmark Mar. 2014, 30).

The ACLED reports the following incidents in Jubaland:

  • 27 January 2016:
    Jubaland intelligence forces shot and injured a poet from Darood/Ogaden sub-clan in Aargo - Fanoole Neighbourhood of Kismaayo in the morning of 27/01. The man was reportedly shot after ignoring a stop order [from] the forces during an ongoing security operation. He was hospitalized locally and later medevaced to Mogadishu. (ACLED [2018], event 538 446)
  • 28 January 2016:
    Jubaland intelligence force shot and injured a man from Darood/Marehan at Somalistar (Calanley neighbourhood) in Kismaayo on 28/01. The man was reportedly holding a black plastic pistol, and tried to run away after he saw the approaching forces. A stray bullet fired during the incident reportedly killed an intelligence officer (Darood/Ogaden) and injured a female civilian (Darood/Marehan). (ACLED [2018], event 538 441)

4. Relationships with Other Clans, Including the Hawiye Clan

According to International Crisis Group, the Darood and Hawiye are "rival clan families" (International Crisis Group 10 Dec. 2015). [4]

The 2015 report from the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea states that in "Middle Juba - mostly still held by Al-Shabaab - inter-clan conflict between Dhulbahante (Harti/Darod), Awliahan (Ogaden/Darod) and Sheikhal (Hawiye) clans over pasturelands broke out early in 2015" (UN 19 Oct. 2015, para. 32).

According to International Crisis Group, the "Darod (specifically Majerteen-Omar Mahmood sub-clan) dominate Galkayo’s Puntland-administered north, the Hawiye (specifically Habar Gidir-Sa’ad sub-clan) dominate the [Galmudug Interim Administration - GIA]-ruled south" (International Crisis Group 10 Dec. 2015). According to the same source,

[b]oth GIA and Puntland, however, are mostly an expression of the territorial claims of their respective dominant clans, the Hawiye-Habr Gedir and Darod-Majerteen.

Tensions between Puntland and GIA flared up again in September during consultative meetings on the 2016 national elections. (International Crisis Group 10 Dec. 2015)

The 2015 report from the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea provides the following information:

In southern Mudug Region - now nominally under the control of the Interim Galmudug Administration - tensions between Marehan (Darod) and Haber Gedir (Hawiye) sub-clans over land ownership erupted into conflict late in 2014 and again early in 2015 in and around the town of Saaxo near the Ethiopian border. (UN 19 Oct. 2015, para. 31)

According to the same source, Puntland

extends as far south as the city of Galkayco in Galkayco District of Mudug Region. A clear dividing line in the city separates the Majeerteen dominated north from Haber Gedir-dominated south. The extent of Puntland territory east and west of Galkayco, however, is poorly demarcated and remains a potential flash point for conflict between the two traditionally strongest clan families in Somalia, the Hawiye and Darod. (UN 19 Oct. 2015, 55)

According to a 2016 EASO report on the security situation in Somalia, "[i]n Puntland land conflicts have resulted in clashes between clans, as has been frequently reported since autumn 2014" (EU Feb. 2016, 71). For example, the same report refers to an international organization based in Mogadishu "with expertise on security matters," as cited in a 2015 Lifos report, as indicating that the "Hawiye clan Sa'ad and the Darod-Majerteen clan Omar Mohamoud reportedly clashed in Xelo Jaare and Landheere in the end of August 2015" (EU Feb. 2016, 71). According to a 2017 report from the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, the "root of the conflict in Galkayo is the long-running tension between rival clans, primarily Darod/Majeerteen and Hawiye/Haber Gedir" (UN 2 Nov. 2017, para. 46). The same source provides the following information:

The two phases of open conflict in Galkayo in 2015 and 2016 saw heavily militarized administrations, the Interim Galmudug Administration and Puntland, facing off against each other alongside allied clan militias and elements of national security forces. The failure of repeated negotiations between the two sides enabled Al-Shabaab to insert itself as an active spoiler, further exacerbating mistrust between the parties and contributing directly to the violence. (UN 2 Nov. 2017, para. 47)

According to the US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016, "[o]n September 5 [2016], at least 15 persons were killed and 40 injured in clan fighting between the Sacad subclan of the Hawiye and the Omar Mahmoud subclan of the Darood in rural areas east of Galkayo town in Mudug Region" (US 3 Mar. 2017, 38).

ACLED reports the following incidents of inter-clan violence involving groups belonging to the Darood:

  • 3 March 2016: "Four militiamen allegedly claiming to be from the Barre Hiraale militias beheaded a 50 year old farmer hailing from Darood/Bartire sub-clan on the eastern side of Juba river near Yoontoy Yarey (25km NE of Kismaayo)" (ACLED [2018], event 550 048).
  • 17 April 2016:
    Gunmen from Habar-Gidir/Sacaad sub-clan reportedly opened fire against two men from Darood/Leelkase near Jeexdin (15km E of Galkacyo) on 17/04. The gunmen missed their target and instead killed several goats. The perpetrators escaped. (ACLED [2018], event 549 898)
  • 27 April 2016:
    Two rival youth gangs from Dhulbahante & Habar-Yunis clashed using clubs in Kulmiye neighbourhood (Ceerigaabo) on 27/04. The fighting was reportedly related to the killing of a Dhulbahante man by a Darood/Jibrahiil member who has blood ties with the Habar-Yunis. (Specific events of which, location not known) Police arrested five members from both groups. (ACLED [2018], event 538 085)

5. Ability of Members to Live in Mogadishu

Information on the ability of members of the Darood clan to live in Mogadishu was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to the report by the Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD, the Hawiye's "Abgal and Habr Gedir groups are dominant in Mogadishu" (Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD 15 Dec. 2009, 12). A joint report by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), a "humanitarian, non-governmental, non-profit organisation" (DRC n.d.), and the Danish Immigration Service provides the following information:

According to a Somalia Country Director of a humanitarian agency, Mogadishu is dominated by the Hawiye clan but there are neighbourhoods in Mogadishu, which [are] dominated by other major clans, for instance Darood. The same source explained that if a Darood member should leave his/her neighbourhood, he/she would be in a fragile position. (DRC and Denmark Mar. 2017, 12)

Further and corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


[1] The ACLED is a "disaggregated conflict collection, analysis and crisis mapping project" that "collects the dates, actors, types of violence, locations, and fatalities of all reported political violence and protest events across Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Middle East" (ACLED n.d.).

[2] Interpeace is "an independent, international peacebuilding organization" and a "strategic partner of the United Nations" with headquarters in Geneva and offices in Côte d'Ivoire, Belgium, Guatemala, Kenya, the United States, and Sweden (Interpeace n.d.).

[3] The PDRC aims to "contribute to peace, human security, and development in the reconstruction and development of Puntland and other regions of Somalia" and is "a successor body of [the] former War-torn Societies Project International (WSPI), which operated in Puntland during 1997–99. On October 30, 1999, the center was founded as a Local Non-Governmental Organization (LNGO)" (PDRC n.d.).

[4] According to the book by Markus Hoehne, "clan cleansing" took place "against Darood in the south after the fall of Siyaad Barre" (Hoehne 2015, 56), who was president of Somalia from 1969 to 1991 (Hoehne 2015, 165). Similarly, the 2011 report by Interpeace and the PDRC notes "massacres of Darood clan members" in 1991, following "the seizure of Mogadishu by the Hawiye-dominated USC" and indicates the existence of conflict during this period between Hawiye and Darood clans (Interpeace and PDRC 26 July 2011, 14-15).


Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). [2018]. Clionadh Raleigh, Andrew Linke, Havard Hegre, and Joakim Karisen. "Somalia." Data. [Accessed 23 Mar. 2018]

Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). N.d. "About ACLED." [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018]

Al Jazeera. 23 February 2017. "Somali President Names Hassan Ali Khaire Prime Minister." [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018]

Ambroso, Guido. March 2002. Clanship, Conflict and Refugees: An Introduction to Somalis in the Horn of Africa. [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018]

Associated Press (AP). 8 February 2017. "Somalia's Presidential Election Heads into Second Round." [Accessed 23 Mar. 2018]

Australia. 13 June 2017. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). DFAT Country Information Report: Somalia. [Accessed 13 Mar. 2018]

Austrian Red Cross and Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (Austrian Red Cross and ACCORD). 15 December 2009. Clans in Somalia: Report on a Lecture by Joakim Gundel, COI Workshop Vienna, 15 May 2009 (Revised Edition). [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018]

Danish Refugee Council (DRC). N.d. "About DRC." [Accessed 13 Mar. 2018]

Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and Danish Immigration Service, Ministry of Immigration and Integration, Denmark. March 2017. South and Central Somalia: Security Situation, al-Shabaab Presence, and Target Groups. [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018]

Escalona Carrillo, Norberto Carlos. 2011. "Somalia: Proceder de los actores internos, regionales e internacionales y su impacto sobre el conflicto en el periodo." África Subsahariana: Sistema capitalista y relaciones internacionales. Edited by María Elena Álvarez Acosta. Buenos Aires: Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO). [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018]

European Union (EU). February 2016. European Asylum Support Office (EASO). Somalia Security Situation. [Accessed 13 Mar. 2018]

European Union (EU). August 2014. European Asylum Support Office (EASO). South and Central Somalia Country Overview. [Accessed 13 Mar. 2018]

Hoehne, Markus Virgil. 2015. Between Somaliland and Puntland: Marginalization, Militarization and Conflicting Political Visions. Rift Valley Institute. [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018]

International Crisis Group. 10 December 2015. Zakaria Yusuf and Abdul Khalif. "Galkayo and Somalia's Dangerous Faultlines." [Accessed 19 Mar. 2018]

Interpeace. N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 23 Mar. 2018]

Interpeace and Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC). 26 July 2011. The Search for Peace. The Puntland Experience: A Bottom-Up Approach to Peace and State Building. Peace Intitiatives in Puntland, 1991-2007. [Accessed 14 Mar. 2018]

Leipzig University. N.d. "Dr. Markus Höhne." [Accessed 13 Mar. 2018]

Menkhaus, Ken. February 2014. "Al-Shabab's Capabilities Post-Westgate." CTC Sentinel. Vol. 7, No 2. pp. 4-12. [Accessed 26 Mar. 2018]

Norway. N.d. Landinfo. "Role and Mandate." [Accessed 5 Apr. 2018]

Norway and Denmark. March 2014. Landinfo and Danish Immigration Service. Update on Security and Protection Issues in Mogadishu and South-Central Somalia. [Accessed 5 Apr. 2018]

Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC). N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 23 Mar. 2018]

Solomon, Hussein. 2015. Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Africa: Fighting Insurgency from Al Shabaab, Ansar Dine and Boko Haram. Palgrave MacMillan.

Stellenbosch University. N.d. ​Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa. "Research Fellow: Dr Hussein Solomon." [Accessed 14 Mar. 2018]

United Nations (UN). 2 November 2017. Security Council. Letter Dated 2 November 2017 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee Pursuant to Resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) Concerning Somalia and Eritrea Addressed to the President of the Security Council. (S/2017/924) [Accessed 13 Mar. 2018]

United Nations (UN). 19 October 2015. Security Council. Letter Dated 9 October 2015 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee Pursuant to Resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) Concerning Somalia and Eritrea Addressed to the President of the Security Council. (S/2015/801) [Accessed 13 Mar. 2018]

United States (US). 3 March 2017. Department of State. "Somalia." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016. [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018]

The Washington Post. 8 February 2017. Max Bearak and Kevin Sieff. "Expectations Run High for Somalia's New President." [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Africa Confidential; African Union – Mission in Somalia; Amnesty International; Assessment Capacities Network; BBC; The Cairo Review of Global Affairs; Chatham House; Civil Wars;; Ethnic and Racial Studies; Finland – Finnish Immigration Service; Human Rights Watch; Jane's Country Daily Risk Report; Minority Rights Group International; Political Handbook of the World; Puntland Development Research Center; Radio Dalsan; UK – Home Office, House of Commons Library; UN – Human Rights Council.