The Bajuni Islands (Italian: Isole Giuba, also known as the Bajun Islands or Baajun Islands) are an archipelago that is part of Jubaland in the Somali sea. They are situated on the southern coast of Somalia, from Kismayo to Ras Kiyamboni (not to be confused with Ras Kamboni). They lie at the northern end of a string of reefs that continues south to Zanzibar and Pemba.
|Major islands||Chandra, Chovaye, Chula, Koyama, Darakasi, Ngumi|
Administratively, the islands are within the Lower Juba region of Somalia.
There are six main islands:
- Chandra (2.95 km²),
- Chovaye (also spelled Tovai; ) (5.46 km²),
- Chula (also spelled Tula; ) (1.99 km²),
- Koyama (6.38 km²),
- Darakasi (1.99 km²) and
- Ngumi (2.56 km²).
Chula with the village of Ndowa is the only island with a significant population.
Other islands of minor importance are: Kandha Iwu, Fuma, Ilisi and the island of Kismayo (actual Kismayo harbor), the latter of which was attached to the coast in 1961 during the construction of Kismayo Port.
The islands, as well as the extreme southern area of present-day Somalia, were part of British East Africa prior to World War I. They were later transferred to Italy after the war. According to C. Wightwick Haywood, then a British official in Kismayo, who visited the islands in 1913, the only inhabited islands in the chain were Tovai (i.e., Chovaye - the biggest island in the chain) and the nearby Tula (i.e. Chula). Each of these two islands were no more than 3 miles long and a mile across.
On his 1913 trip, Haywood saw ruins of what he described as a "fair-sized town" on the Tovai (Chovaye) Island. He was impressed He mentioned that somewhat similar stone scrollwork could also be seen on houses in the Lamu Islands in present-day Kenya.
The islands are today mainly inhabited by the eponymous Bajuni people. All Bajuni inhabitants of Koyama island belong to the Nowfali sub-clan.
- Haywood, C. Wightwick (1935), "The Bajun Islands and Birikau", The Geographical Journal, 85 (1): 59–64, doi:10.2307/1787038, JSTOR 1787038
- Mwangi, Oscar Gakuo. "Jubaland: Somalia’s new security dilemma and state-building efforts." Africa Review 8.2 (2016): 120-132.
- Land, Property, and Housing in Somalia - Page 52, Gregory Norton - 2008
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