Guriel (Somali: Guriceel), Arabic: [جرعيل), is a rapidly developing city and one of the largest cities in the central Galguduud region of Somalia located in Galmudug state. The city serves as the commercial capital of the Galguduud region and the capital of the Guriel District, one of the most populous districts in the region.
|• Mayor||Abdullahi Mohamed Barre|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (EAT)|
The city is located in central Somalia and it is sixty three kilometers South west of Dhusamareb, the capital of Galguduud region of Somalia. On its south west, there is Matabaan, a district in Hiiran region. Because of its proximity to the border between Ethiopia and Somalia, the city has been for a long time been an international crossing line and a hub that facilitated and connected the Somali Ethiopians to other parts of the world and Somalia.
The Greater Guriel District has a population estimated at around 350,000, Highest Populated district in the central region. The city is the main administrative district, as well as the main economic lifeline for approximately hundred and twenty villages, making it one of the busies cities in central Somalia. The majority of the city's population are from the Ceyr sub-clan, with Ayaanle,yabadhaalo and Habaraji well represented.
The city has been under the rule of Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a since 2008 after the group liberated the city from al-shabab who then controlled the city. The religious group has been historically apolitical, non-violent peaceful religious group. Just like most other civil societies, they have been affected by the arrival of the wahibis/ salafist inspired radical groups. Their shrines and tombs have been destroyed by Alshabab and affiliates and many of their religious practices such as the Mowliid (celebrating the birth of the Prophet of Islam) and the use of Misbaha were banned by Alshabab. Feeling under threat and prosecuted, the group have taken up arms and were successful in driving Alshabab from the city and the neighboring districts.
Since the successful capture of Guriel, Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a have developed a religious inspired political ideology, which like Alshabab aims to establish a sharia in the area. However, Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a version of Sharia is not as strict as that of Alshabab and they have not carried out some of the capital punishments which Alshabab is famous for.
There have been many attempts by the Federal Government in Mogadishu to try to bring Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a under its wings and integrate the group's militia into the national army. These attempts have failed because the group claims that the terms of the integration were not suitable, but in 2018 after a successful power sharing deal between Galmudug state and the group who have had a stand off since 2015 after the group withdrew from a state formation in adado endorsed by the federal government of Somalia then led by Hassan Sheikh Mohamud after the federal government installed It's ally Abdikarim Hussein Guled as the president of the new state.
As of 2018, the city and the other neighboring cities and towns who were once under the control of Ahlu suna waljama’a are now under the administration of Galmudug state of Somalia after a power sharing deal between Ahlu suna waljama’a and Galmudug state government in late 2017.
Guriel is a major trading center in Somalia and the largest in Galgaduud region. Its economy mostly relies on the trading of livestock and the provision of other services to the hundreds of thousands of people who live in the region. Because of its strategic location, the city acts as a bridge that connects the Southern part of Somalia to the rest of Somalia.
The city is very young compared to the neighboring cities and districts in the regions, and has only been historically a resting stop for the nomads to their way to Dhusamareeb and Matabaan. However, because large number of people moved from Mogadishu and other volatile southern cities to the city during the civil war, its population has exploded. With increase in population, the city's economy and importance in the region has grown tremendously.
Today Guriel is one of the largest cities in Galgaduud region and the main trading center in central Somalia, apart from Galkacyo. The city's impressive economic growth is due to mainly the expatriate community's investment as well as increased local level investment which is seen by many to have been encouraged by the relative peace that city has enjoyed throughout the civil war.
The many business that operate in the city include telecommunications companies, construction companies and livestock trading firms owned both by Somalis and non-Somalis. When you walk in the city you would see big markets selling all type of things, traders negotiating with each other, drivers skillfully navigating the traffic and young enthusiastic children playing on the sides of the city's narrow streets.
It is estimated that the city has more than twenty different schools, providing both primary level as well as secondary education and universities. The city has three main universities, East African University, Galgaduud University and Savannah University.
These universities provide both graduate as well as post-graduate degrees. Some of the most popular programs in which the majority of the students are enrolled in include Information Technology, Law and Sharia, Medicine, nursing and Veterinary sciences.
The City is governed by a mayor appointed by the Galguduud administration. the current mayor of the city is Abdullahi Mohamed Barre who was appointed by then Ahlu suna waljama'a Galguduud administration. after a power sharing deal between Ahlu suna Waljama'a and Galmudug in late 2017, the two administrations merged and are now part of Galmudug.
Canjeelo (a light pancake) with gravy or tea and sesame oil is the main breakfast. During lunch and Dinner, the local population eat either Pasta with tomato sauce or rice cooked with goat meat and spices. This was not historically the main food, but due to Italian influence in the South and British influence in Northern Somalia, the traditional food, which consisted of sorghum, maize, beans and other locally produced crops were discredit as backward and uncivilized and the European cuisine have taken their place. However, this trend seems to be changed; there is seen a movement in the region that encourages and promoted the eating of the locally produced crops.
The city is very famous for its fine hotels and restaurants. The most famous meal during the lunch time which you could have in the area is "Bariis and Hilib arri"—rice and goat meat, prepared with spices.
The city is well connected to all parts of Somalia, both by road and Air. Guriel Airport is the city's main airport and there are daily flights to Mogadishu, Hargeisa, Bosaaso and Kismaayo.
Several health centers exist in the town. Sterlin Hospital is the biggest hospital in the town, the hospital is also used by Patients from all of Galguduud region. hospital xalimo caruush is also a hospital in the town. Many International Organizations have offices in Guriel such as MSF, ACF, Save The Children, WFP, WHO, UNICEF and UNHCR.