Field Trip Report:

Jijiga (Region 5) 22-29 April, 1994


Since October 1991, with the new policy of the TransitionalGovernment of Ethiopia regarding regionalization of the country,there has been much debate on the preferred location for thecapital of Region 5 (Somali). The Ogadeni were in favour of Gode,which, since the time of Haile Selassie, has been bothpolitically and strategically important for the region as well asbeing located in the heartland of Ogadeni territory. The majorityof the other Somali groups, however, preferred Jijiga as theadministrative centre for the new region. Jijiga isgeographically situated in the northern part of Region 5, 140 kmseast of Dire Dawa and 105 kms from Harar, with goodinfrastructure and access to communications facilities. However,late in 1992 Gode was designated as the capital of Region 5. Manybelieve that this decision was taken by the newly electedadministration mainly to avoid the wrath of the Ogadeni.

During the past two years, overly bureaucratic administrativeprocedures in the region have attracted severe criticism fromgovernment and aid organisations alike and little progress has beenmade towards improving services to local communities. For example,despite obvious logistical difficulties and the problem ofcommunications, requests for medical supplies all had to beprocessed through Gode which then passed the requests to AddisAbaba. This proved particularly problematic for clinics in suchplaces as Jijiga, Kebrebeyah, Gursum, and Degehabur.

The political environment is very complex due to the large numberof parties and individual participants and a political approachwhich is based mainly on tribal affiliations. Following a fullsession of the Regional Administration Council from 17 to 21February, a smaller emergency council session was held in Jijiga on6 April 1994 where the fragility of the then currentadministration was stressed in terms of its stability as well ascredibility in the eyes of the international community.Nevertheless, the session agreed on the boundaries claimed forRegion 5, specifying that the northern areas should include Gursumand Babile while the southern area should incorporate the whole ofBorena, including Negele and Moyale.

Security, or rather the lack of security, is a major concern in theregion. The Shilabo, Degehabur and Gode zones remainunstable. This is perhaps partly due to the position of somefundamentalist Muslim groups in the area who appear to pushing forthe independence of the region while at the same timeretaining some connection to the Transitional Government ofEthiopia.

The international community and Transitional Government face adifficult situation viz-a-vis Region 5 due to the complexity ofSomali politics and culture and the scope for misunderstandingevents taking place. Recent exchanges concerning the future statusof the region and the controversial changes in theleadership of the administration have further confused an alreadycomplicated picture.

The disintegration and decline into civil disorder seen inneighbouring Somalia has had severe consequences for Region 5,which has found itself increasingly isolated both economically andsocially. In the wake of the low profile so far adopted by theinternational community in the region, both in terms of actual andfinancial presence, an approach has developed which essentiallyignores the region's development needs, instead concentratingmainly on relief activities. Understandably, the frustration of theadministration, which feels the region is outside of mainstreamdevelopment efforts, remains strong.

Even in this time of uncertainty and change, problems ofcredibility and capacity within the Region 5 administration couldbe effectively countered by timely and concrete support from theinternational community. In particular, support for grass-rootslevel development working through the numerous indigenous NGOs nowappearing in the region could pay dividends and establish a mode ofworking with local communities which is effective and not subjectto the frustrations of failure.


2.1. Somali political parties

The Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) was founded in the mid1970s during the Ogaden War. The movement started North ofDegehabur by the Darod Absame family, the Jidwak and moredistinctly by the Delelguled (a minor sub clan of the Rer Issak).

The WSLF was a major participant in the war of 1977 and was a gathering of politicians and fighters from various clans of theregion. Today this party no longer exists and has been almosttotally incorporated into the new Western Somali Democratic Party(WSDP).

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) is comprised mainly ofpartisans from the Darod Asambe family, is based in Gode in theOgaden area.

The Democratic Union Party (DUP) has supporters in the area ofNegelle in the Borena zone, with the majority of the Irir Hawiyeclan heading the party. The Horyaal Democratic Party was founded by the Dir Gadabursi clan;their area of influence straddles the Somaliland border andincorporated the Dire Dawa, Jijiga and the Awbar zones.

The Al'Tadamur is an Islamic party but is not fundamentalist. TheOgadeni are the main clan involved with this party, guided by localsheiks around Fik area.

The Al'Itihad, an Islamic fundamentalist organization, is wellknown for its strong leanings toward self-determination and itsguerilla activities against the EPRDF. Members of differentinternational organizations, the local Amhara community and otherhighlanders have also suffered from their actions. Their main areaof activity is west of the main road from Jijiga to Gode, aroundShekosh, Kebre Dehar and Denan.

In addition, there are a certain number of smaller partiesaffiliated to several clans such as Issak, Geri, Harti andMarehan.

On 9 February 1994, at a meeting in Hurso near Dire-Dawa a newpolitical party called the Ethiopian Somali Democratic League(ESDL) was founded. This party claims to represent the objectivesand needs of the Ethiopian-Somali people; giving particularattention to and observing the cultural and traditional practicesof the people; and giving due regard to the local constitution(Heer). This new party aims to develop a stronger link with theTransitional Government in accordance with Article 9, Title 6 ofthe ESDL constitution which states: "Congress, after it convenes, can implement political,community, security and economic issues but these should conform tothe policies of the Central Government of Ethiopia".

This League is a formal gathering of different Somali clanpoliticians representing a concentration of eleven differentparties. However, it may be ascertained that a principal ambitionof the League was to forge a political union between theGadabursi and the Issak clans. In addition, several Harti, Geri,Hawiye, Marehan and even some Ogadeni have given their approval tothe establishment of the new party. Despite this support, elementsof the Darod Ogadeni view the League as a duplication of theexisting Somali political environment, which is perceived as anti-Darod and, particularly, anti-Ogadeni. There is a rumour within theONLF and the WSDP that the ESDL has received financial support tothese specific elements within the area to achieve such an effect.

By the end of February, in response to the formation of the ESDL,the ONLF and the WSLF formed the Western Somali Democratic Party(WSDP) in Jijiga, appointing the previous president of Region 5,Hassan Jeri Kalinle, as chairman. This party has not beenofficially recognized as yet. What the future is for WSDPregarding their political action other than the designation of anofficial name for the area (Somali-Ethiopian or the Western Somali)is not yet clear.

In summary:

WSLF no longer exists and the majority of its partisans have joinedeither the Ethiopian Somali Democratic League (ESDL) or the WesternSomali Democratic Party (WSDP).

Although some supporters of the Ogaden National Liberation Front(ONLF) have joined WSDP, and a few have moved to the EthiopianSomali Democratic League (ESDL), the majority have remained withthe Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

The situation described for the ONLF is also applicable to theDemocratic Union Party (DUP).

2.2. Political environment

For the moment, the influence of the ESDL is dominant in Jijiga andits surrounding areas. With the nomination of Jijiga as theprovisional capital of the Region instead of Gode, the newlyelected president, Abdurahman Ugas, as well as the re-formedexecutive committee of 19 members (out of 110 members of theregional parliament) are today subjects of animated debate.

On the one hand the lack of credibility and mismanagement of theprevious administration have been revealed as a primaryjustification for the recent change of president and seniorofficials in the administration; while on the other hand,elements within the old administration claim the changes are anillegal act perpetrated by a renegade group.

Arguments such as a non-functioning administration in Gode, lack ofcommunication facilities, security problems on the major roads,inaccessibility and the promotion of ideas concerning secession bythe ONLF and other radical elements in the region have givencentral Government the opportunity to react bysupporting a new administration that is more supportive of itspolicies.

The administration of Abdurahman Ugas does not support the ONLF'sradical position and believes ONLF leaders, "only talk forthemselves and for their own seat and not for the benefit of theregion". It has to be noted that such political differences are notrelated to any hostility against the Ogadeni clan.

Officials in the new administration who met with the author were:

Ali Abdi Issa: Executive committee of the Region 5 and member ofthe parliament (member of the previous committee in Gode).

Dahir Sheik Mahmud: Executive committee of the Jijiga zone andmember of the parliament.

Abdi Rahman Hussein: Executive committee of the Jijiga zone andmember of the parliament.

Sultan Abdul Rahman: Chairman of the zone and member of theparliament.

Muurtar Dawid: Deputy chairman of the Jijiga district.

The author also met Rashid Aji, the administrator of Afder zone whoattended a regional administration workshop for a weekbetween 16-23 April 1994.

The newly appointed president, Mr. Abddurahman Ugas, isoriginally from Kelafo, and is a member of the Darod Absame familyand more specifically from the Ogaden-Tolomonger clan. His fatheris a well respected Ugas (Chief) and he has two uncles who arerespectively zonal and district administrators.

2.3. The "left over" region

To most Somali leaders, the area of South Eastern Ethiopia nowincorporated into the new Region 5, has been historicallyneglected and marginalised by successive governments in AddisAbaba. It has become known as the "left over" region and isperceived by some Somalis as still being ignored by the presentgovernment. Many people who are now participating in thepolitical life of the region originally fled to Somalia followingthe out-come of the Ogaden War in 1977. They are convinced that theconsequences of the disintegration of Somalia over recent years,and especially the US-sponsored "Restore Hope" operation and itsmilitary actions, have had a negative impact on life in the regionand has led to the adoption of a confrontational rather thanpeaceful approach to solving the present political problems. Tounderline this perception, they consider that the US troops weredefeated by General Mohammed Farah Aideed.

Some Somali leaders believe that the problems of Region 5 are nowbeing approached with the same attitude and lack of understandingshown by the international community in Somalia. They alsobelieve that much disinformation is being spread by certain groupsin Addis Ababa in order to discourage the international communityfrom the supporting development programmes in the region.

The needs of Region 5 are tremendous in every sector butespecially in agriculture, infra-structure, communications,education and health. Continuing political problems, hostilitiesbetween clans, land claims, boundary disputes and the processleading to the election of the constituent assembly are all majorissues in the region. Local leaders strongly believe that theinternational community has taken the present situation and rumoursas a pretext to stall activities rather thanconcentrating on the needs of the indigenous Somali people.

Due to the civil war in Somalia, trade and traditional exchangeswith the Ogaden have been significantly reduced. This has had amajor impact on the economy of the region which has always beenmore integrated with Somalia than the highlands of Ethiopia. Inrecent years, the provision of emergency aid has become animportant part of the economy, especially in places like Jijigawhere vast amounts of food and other assistance has beenchanneled to the refugee camps in the area. Indigenous people lookon this programme with a degree of envy feeling strongly that theUN and NGOs are not consulting closely enough with localcommunities or meeting their needs.

"I am fed up of my father and my father brought me his father!"states a Somali proverb.

2.4. Security

It is difficult to provide a clear picture or description of thecurrent security situation in the area. Beside certain factsreported by the international community, mainly the NGOs, it isalmost impossible to confirm or deny the many rumours thatcirculate at this time. During the past months several clashes haveoccurred between various armed groups and the EPRDF in differentareas of the region. More recently, an offensiveagainst the Al'Itihad has been officially confirmed in the media.The main centres of this action appear to have been in the areadelineated by the line between Degehabur-Kebridehar-Denan-Fik.

According to rumours, the local population is generallysupportive of the EPRDF actions. Several elders and members of theexecutive committee which the author met, gave the impression ofagreeing with the position of EPRDF and mentioned that they hadnever intentionally harmed the Somali people.

The perception of what constitutes an insecure area or an openconflict by the Somali is generally very different to that of anoutsider, especially expatriate westerners. In their view there isa big difference between a outbreak of war with its organizedoffensives and targeted shootings which could happen anywhere inorder to solve disagreements. In general, local leaders regret thatthe international community does not appreciate thedifference between these two situations. The gap of mis-understanding widens as the Somali leaders express their concernfor poor international presence in Region 5 compared with that inMogadishu and elsewhere in the world where war rages.

2.5. Proposal for a technical committee

During his stay in Jijiga, the author had the opportunity to meeton several occasions with Mr. Hamed Yassin, the Attorney Generalfor Region 5. In general, his views seem quite sincere and, moreimportantly, he has a realistic approach concerning differentaspects of the situation faced by the Somali people.

Discussions were carried out principally on how to be operationalin an emergency situation; the grassroots impact of implementedprogrammes; how to reach the beneficiaries; the link between thetraditional elders, the district, zonal and regionaladministration; and reports to the international community.

The Attorney General is presently working on a proposal wherebyRegion 5 would be divided into four distinct areas under anemergency action plan to be implemented by a technical committeecomprised of elders from each area. The proposal is intended tohelp establish an efficient link between local communities and theadministration. The Attorney Generally is sympathetic towards thenew administration and appears to have a good workingrelationship with the central government.


3.1. Refugees

The following table is a comparison between official populationfigures, UNHCR estimated population figures and approximate figuresobtained during a survey flight over the refugee camps of Jijigazone on Friday 22 April, 1994:

Camp Official UNHCR (Est.) Survey (Est.)


(Issak/Hawiye) 250,926 70,000 50-60,000


(Darod) 12,548 10,000 6-7,000


(Issak) 66,615 7,000 4-5,000


(Issak) 24,181 5,000 3-4,000


(Issak) 31,833 5,000 2-3,000



Gaboye/Hawiye) 117,069 40,000 Not visited



Gaboye/Hawiye) 98,624 60,000 -


(Issa) 26,694 8,000 -

TOTALS 628,490 205,000 67-79,000

According to UNHCR the number of refugees arriving from the Southand Central regions of Somalia (Hawiye and Harti), does not exceed5,000 people.

3.2. General food distribution

Food is provided by WFP, monitored by UNHCR, and distributed by theGovernment's Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs(ARRA). Distributions usually comprise wheat grain and vegetableoil. The standard quota is 500 grams/day/person for the period ofone month. However, the official population requiringassistance is more than 3 times the UNHCR working figure of 250,000for which WFP procure and deliver food rations. The quota perindividual has therefore been reduced to 400 grams/day/person for15 days instead of 30 days.

3,750 tons of wheat grain are required monthly to supply the eightrefugee camps. In addition, supplementary fooddistributions of sugar, CSB, Beans and DSM is made for vulnerablegroups including malnourished children, lactating women, sick anddisabled people.

The quantity of food to be supplied over the coming months will bereduced by an amount pending agreement on the number ofrefugees requiring assistance. It appeared the ARRA are looking tomaintain a figure of around 225,000 people.

It is anticipated that GTZ/TOR will shortly stop transporting foodfor the refugee operation. Instead, WFP will contractprivate transport companies, in the beginning probably from Dire-Dawa, and later from the departure point which is Assab orDjibouti to the final distribution points which are the refugeecamps.

3.3. Water supply

CARE is mainly involved in water tankering to the refugee camps andis delivering around 849,050 litres of water daily to the variouscamps as follows:

Hartisheik A = 360 000

Hartisheik B = 120 000

Hartisheik town = 33 000

Kebrebeyah = 101 450

Teferi Ber = 131 000

Derwanaji = 103 600

Records kept by CARE indicate overall expenses for this projectbring the cost of water delivered to the camps to $8 per 1,000litres.

Per day : $6,800 Per year : $2,450,000

Two years ago the price was up to $13 for the same quantity ofwater.

3.4. Returnees

The number of returnees in Region 5 is estimated to be 500,000people. The area affected stretches from the Kenyan border aroundMoyale and the Borena area up to the far north of the region closeto Djibouti and Somaliland via the Ogaden and Dollo areas.

Returnees in Jijiga zone and the Babile/Gursum andDegehabur/Aware districts are from Kenya, Somalia, Yemen andSomaliland.

Food-for-Work (FFW) activities in the Jijiga zone have beenactively supported by UNHCR and the RRC since mid-1992 and havebeen designed to help reintegrate the returnees in their chosenhome areas. This programme began phasing out at the end of 1993with all outstanding projects to be completed by April 1994 due toa reduction in available food resources.

FFW projects are carried out following a contract-based approachand activities have included well and birka rehabilitation andconstruction; earthdam, school, clinic and storehouseconstruction; and road upgrading and maintenance. Food and otherinputs were delivered to the chosen reintegration areas aspayment to the participating communities.

Prior to this operation, assistance was provided to the returneesin the Jijiga area for two years essentially as part of the regularrefugee relief programme. UNHCR stopped their free food supportduring the first quarter of 1993.

The majority of returnees have now been reintegrated. However, anumber still remain in Kebrebeyah. The official estimation of thereturnee population in this town and its surroundings now stands atapproximately 3,000 people. This is probably an over-estimate.

A total of 45 villages benefitted from FFW assistance in an areastretching from the south of Babile to Degehabur. The table belowgives the quantity of food provided as FFW under the variousprojects:

2,353.35 tons of wheat grain

122.60 tons of veg. oil

105.24 tons of salt

14.00 tons of CSB

27.45 tons of peas

The average FFW quota is as follows:

1 m3 of removed soil = 20 kg of wheat grain and 4 litres of vegetable oil.(when the ground is hard and the working condition are difficult the above quantity should be multiplied by 2)

1 m2 of finished wall = 10 kg of wheat and 2 litres of vegetable oil.

3.5. Health

MSF Belgium is working in collaboration with the Ministry ofHealth. They are supporting the hospital in Jijiga which isprobably the only fully functioning hospital in the whole region.Their main activity is concentrated on surgery and the managementof the operating theatre. In addition, they have rehabilitated 11clinics in the Jijiga zone and are providing monthly drug supplies.Also, they provide financial and logistical support for monthlytraining sessions given to medical staff (healthassistants) in the zone. There is good cooperation andunderstanding between Dr. Mohammed, director of the hospital, theMoH representative and the MSF team.

Handicap International is also working with the disabled people.

3.6. Other organisations working in the Jijiga area

The South East Rangelands Project (SERP), which has itsheadquarters in Jijijga, is involved in a great many differentdevelopment projects throughout the region mainly in the areas ofdry-land agriculture, livestock husbandry, water resources, ruralinfra-structure and integrated community development. They haveworked closely with both UNHCR and SCF (UK) on a number of FFWsupported projects and are now planning a similar programme ofcollaboration with the RRC. According to Mr Adbi Khalif, the newmanager of the Jijiga office, SERP is covering 80% of theterritories of Region 5, although another source reports that theycover only 20% of the needs of the region.

The previous manager, Ahmed Abdullai, is still in prison onsuspicion of political activities and of allowing the ONLF use ofthe SERP radio system during the armed clash in Warder that tookplace in March. Abdi Khalif was previously the manager of SERP inGode.

OXFAM is engaged in the development and rehabilitation ofcommunally owned water points in an area within 100 kms ofJijiga. Their approach is to support projects which could use localmethods, skills and materials. They are at the moment with apending proposal with UNHCR for some expansion of theirexisting programme.

SCF (UK) operations are mainly confined to the refugee camps in theJijiga area, though it plans to extend its mandate to includesupport for rehabilitation and development activities throughoutthe region.


Jijiga has been newly designated as the `provisional capital' ofRegion 5. A new administration has been set up with a strong linkto the ESDL party. Mr. Abdurahman Ugas has been elected as the newpresident but his political affiliations are not yet really clearthough some might argue that, if not a member, he iscertainly a supporter of the views put forward by the ESDL.

In response to the formation of the ESDL another political party,the WSDP, was created in March with Hassan Jeri Kalinle, theprevious president of region 5, elected as chairman.

Although no security incidents have been reported lately, theOgaden is a highly sensitive area prone to sudden changes ofcircumstances. The military offensive mounted by the EPRDFagainst Al'Itihad Islamic forces in the area have now stretchedfrom Degehabur to Kebre Dehar and Denan.

Within the local leadership, there seems to be collectiveagreement on the boundaries claimed from the north to the south ofthe Region. The final delineation of these boundaries as well s theconduct of the forthcoming elections for the constituent assemblywill probably be an important factor influencing the stability ofthe area.

The Somali perception that Region 5 has been, and still is, aregion "left over" by both the central government and theinternational community, is a firmly rooted idea.


To the international community the political environment and thesecurity of Region 5 remains very precarious. In terms ofhumanitarian interventions, assistance other than the `usual'relief response is needed. However, the process of `normalizing'the implementation of development programmes has been muchdisrupted and delayed by the boundary claims, inter-clanconflicts on land ownership and the unsolved problem with thefundamentalist Islamic forces in the Ogaden area.

With regard to a society based firmly on an oral tradition passedon through respected Sheiks and elders, approaches to developmentshould be oriented with this in mind. Establishing a dialogue withthe Somali elders should be used as an opportunity to build deeperrelations with the community and to develop a thoroughunderstanding of the culture. Within any work plan should beincorporated a study on who to contact within the community eldersand on how to create effective working links with theadministration at both the central and district level.

The administration sees the lack of dialogue with internationalorganisations as a major reason for their absence from theregion. Better relations are seen as essential and theadministration would appreciate more consultation meetings andexchanges for guidance and improved collaboration.

It would be interesting to find out what happened to the UNDPreport from April 1993. At that time a baseline survey teamassessed the needs of diverse groups of people which currentlyinhabit the Jijiga area, the sedentary, the semi sedentary, thenomadic, the refugees, returnees and displaced. The report andrecommendations listed by priority were supposed to be available inthe near future; and this is one year ago...


The following annex is added concerning two Somali clans; the Yiberand the Gaboye, who are considered as outcasts by the other clansand which the author had the opportunity to meet and hear the storyof their origin and about how they settled around Jijiga and areasto the north:

The Yiber (the "untouchable"):

A Somali clan which claims to have an Israelite origin.

As in any legend, there are no specific dates relating to thehistory of this clan, the events described, however, occurredsomewhere in the past.

As in any legend it starts as: Once upon a time there was a Jewishking, called Bu'ur Baayr, the King of Yiber, in a place calledtoday the "Land of Somaliia".

Due to migration of peoples across the sea from the gulfcountries and coming from the north, a new civilization andreligion arrived in the land of the Somali.

The full power of the established King and the easy way of livingof his society was very different to that of the newcomers anddisputes developed. The different orientations of cultureespecially concerning the religion increased the separation betweenthe two communities.

One day the Sheik of the Muslims, Yussuf Al-Kawneyn, sent a messageto the King of Yiber to invite him to the palace. When the YiberMajesty arrived at the royal court he faced the islamic judges andwas accused of living in luxury and being a badinfluence to his subjects and to the other community as well.

He was found guilty and the sentence was pronounced by the Sheik inorder to undermine the influence of Bu'ur Baayr: "In the name ofGod, if your faith is so great you should be able to bring downthis mountain in two distinct parts".

Then, the King of Yiber executed the sentence in front ofeveryone. The mountain crumbled down and the ground was separatedin two parts.

All the audience witnessed God's accomplishment, the real faith ofthe King of Yiber. They started to praise the Great King for hisloyalty and the purity of his acts.

The Sheik kept silent. In front of his own people he couldn't loosehis power. His believing and commitment to Allah were so strong,however, that he invited the King to do it one more time, then towalk in the middle of the alley created between the mountain up toits center.

The King of Yiber kneeled down to pray. Suddenly, the opposite hillstarted to move and a new fresh sandy trail appeared on the ground.The King walked in the middle of the alley, like aMiracle. His steps were so light that his foot not even touched thedust.

In front of his own people, the humiliation of the Sheik was toodeep. He felt envious and shamed at once. " On the name of theprophet Mohammed", a wish could also be accomplished to punish thisrenegade who offended the proudness and the faith of Allah theGreat and The only One.

The Sheik went a little way into the desert and sat under a tree.He prayed to Allah for forgiveness. He promised to live a life ofpurity and religious earnestness if the exclusivity of such powerwas in his hands. The land started shaking from far. Peoplecouldn't see but felt the premonition of something about to happen.The earth started moving. Heavy rain clouds gathered around thearea. The sky turned black. Then, the two parts of the mountaincollapsed. The King of Yiber died where he stood,between the rocks, in the center of the Mother-Land.

Today the tribe of the Yiber is fully integrated and part of thevarious Somali clans. However, the legend of the past make them "untouchable". The inter marriage clanic system is not applied tothem as they are considered as a lower cast. They are a pariahpeople, only good as artisans, working as metalsmiths or anysimilar lowly manual work suitable only for the Yiber.

Today, following the different events of recent history, they arefound around the triangle of Hargeisa, Jijiga and Dire-Dawa.Nevertheless, in acknowledgement to their history, into thementality of every Somali there is a price to pay: what we mightconsider as compensation. In every village where the Yiber peopleare living, during a wedding ceremony involving members ofanother Somali clan or the birth of a son in a family, the Yiberpeople come to the door of the house and sing until they get theattention of the head of the family whereupon a share of thepresents is requested. On account of superstition, or maybe becauseof some kind of holy devotion, as far as possible, this request isnot refused.

The Gaboye:

In Somali language "gaboye" means quiver for arrows. Bydefinition, the relation has been made that these people werehunters. As the Muslim religion prohibits eating meat without theBesmellah ceremonial they were consider as impure.

Most of the time in Somali society, when a marriage is going totake place, the couple to be married state their name andlineage. Many Somalis from an early age are taught the names oftheir forebearers, sometimes as far back as 30 generations.According to the legend this procedure takes place in order to findout and to make sure that the bride and groom have nothing incommon with the Gaboye tribe.

Frederic VigneauField Officer (Region 5)31 May 1994

prepared by:

UN Emergencies Unit for Ethiopiac/o UNDPPO Box 5580Addis AbabaEthiopia

Telephone: +251 1 511028/29Facsimile: +251 1 514599e-mail: UNEUE@padis.gn.apc.org_

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    Editor: Ali B. Dinar, (aadinar@sas.upenn.edu)