This sections defines geographical, social, historical aspects on the study area. 

Community Description

Somalis, including those in Galkacayo, are ethnic group inhabiting the horn of Africa. Even though notable percentage are farmers, mostly in riverine regions, but majority of them are pastoralists who rear animal and livestock. They are homogenous in nature; having same culture and language. With very few exceptions, Somalis are considered as entirely Muslim society.

Inter-clan violence and recurrent drought have led the death and displacement of hundredth of thousands of Somalis. The situation is now recovering and many parts of the country have cultivated fragile peace.

The community is characterized as; very proud, friendly and sometimes aggressive, by many observers. Carl Hansen said “Observers of the Somali personalities are impressed by the intelligence, arrogance, cunning, independence and volatile temperament. Somalis are proud of their Hamitic – Semitic features. They are practical pragmatic and suspicious.[1]

It is largely believed that the community has much loyalty to clan and kinship more than any other social institution. To the extent that the current government and parliament were, unfortunately, selected by clan based modality, leaving “minority clans” out of the equation.

This, also shows how much respect Somalis have on informal institutions i.e. traditional conflict resolutions, in contrary to western liberal institutions. It is unfortunate that, the international community, normally assumes that the formation of democratic nation-state would create little problem for Somali community. Missing is the fact that Somalis are mostly conservative community with rich traditional culture and clans/kinship is regarded as base of identity formation[2]


[1] Islamic Horn # 15, 1985, An Arbor, MI.

[2] Michaelson, M.. (1993). Somalia: The Painful Road to Reconciliation. Africa Today, 40(2), 53–73. Retrieved from

Study Area

The research practicum focuses on Galakcyo town. Galkacyo is the heart of Mudug region and economic hub that connects South-North Somalia. According to the United Nation Development Program, Galkacyo has population of roughly 137,667 in 2005.

Galkayo community is divided into two: North vs South. Even though both communities share same language, religion and social structures but the disconnects are somewhat complicated. clan and political factors are at play. The first goes back to historical roots while the second-politics- emerged few years ago when the country shifted into new governance modality; federalism. One should understand that these two causes are inter-connected and clannism is regarded a political identity in the modern Somali politics.

Regarding the clan, the region’s local divisions also mirror the larger divide between two dominant and historically rival clan families, the Darod and the Hawiye. 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-ruled south[1].

There are, however, other factors in place. As noted by Heritage Institute of Policy Studies, the competition for land in Galakcyo dates to centuries. Moreover, in countryside, the tensions and violence is always associated about managing resources (water and grazing lands) and territory. [2]

Map Galkacayo.png


[2]Galkacyo conflict: Drivers, contributors and potential solutions” a policy paper published in 2016 by Heritage Institute of Policy Studies(HIPS), Mogadishu Somalia.