The Somali Region (Somali: Deegaanka Soomaalida, Amharic: ሱማሌ ክልል, romanizedSumalē Kilil, Oromo: Naannoo somaalee, Arabic: المنطقة الصومالية), also known as Soomaali Galbeed (lit.'Western Somalia')[3] and officially the Somali Regional State, is a regional state in eastern Ethiopia. Its territory is the largest after Oromia Region.[4] The regional state borders the Ethiopian regions of Afar and Oromia and the chartered city Dire Dawa to the west, as well as Djibouti to the north, Somalia to the northeast, east and south; and Kenya to the southwest.[5]

Somali Region
Deegaanka Soomaalida
ሱማሌ ክልል
Soomaali Galbeed
Flag of Somali Region
Official seal of Somali Region
Map of Ethiopia showing Somali Region
Map of Ethiopia showing Somali Region
 • President of the Executive CommitteeMustafa Muhummed Omer
 • Vice-President of the Executive CommitteeIbrahim Osman
 • Total328,068 km2 (126,668 sq mi)
 • Land328,068 km2 (126,668 sq mi)
 • Water9,842 km2 (3,800 sq mi)  3%
 • Rank2nd
 • Total11,748,998[1]
 • Rank3rd
 • Density35.81/km2 (92.7/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)
Area code+251
ISO 3166 codeET-SO
HDI (2019)0.433[2]
low · 10th of 11

Jijiga is the capital of the Somali Region. The capital was formerly Gode, until Jijiga became the capital in 1995 on account of political considerations.[6]

The Somali regional government is composed of the executive branch, led by the President; the legislative branch, which comprises the State Council; and the judicial branch, which is led by the State Supreme Court.


The Somali Region formed a large part of the pre-1995 provinces of Hararghe, Bale and Sidamo. The population is predominantly Somali, and there have been attempts to incorporate the area into a Greater Somalia. In the 1977, Somalia invaded Ethiopia, igniting the Ogaden War, which Somalia lost due to timely military intervention from the Soviet Union and its ally Cuba. Despite this defeat, local groups still tried either to become part of Somalia or independent.[citation needed][7]

The 2007 Abole oil field raid, in which 72 Chinese and Ethiopian oilfield workers were killed, has led to a series of military reprisals against the rebel group ONLF Ogaden National Liberation Front.[citation needed]

Until its first-ever district elections in February 2004, Zonal and woreda administrators and village chairmen were appointed by the Regional government. Senior politicians at the Regional level nominated their clients to the local government positions. In the 2004 local elections, each woreda elected a council including a spokesman, vice-spokesman, administrator, and vice-administrator. These councils have the responsibility of managing budgets and development activities within their respective districts.[8]


Main street in Jijiga's Laanta Hawada neighborhood

Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), the Somali Region has a total population of 7,445,219, consisting of 3,472,490 men and 3,972,729 women; urban inhabitants number 1,489,044 or 20% of the population, a further 5,956,175 or 80% were pastoralists and farmers. With an estimated area of 327,068 square kilometers, this region has an estimated density of 20.9 people per square kilometer. For the entire region 1, 685,986 households were counted, which results in an average for the Region of 6.8 persons to a household, with urban households having on average 6 and rural households 6.5 people.

There are 8 refugee camps and 1 transit center, housing 212,967 refugees from Somalia, located in Somali Region.[5]

In the previous census, conducted in 1994, the region's population was reported to be 3,383,165, of which Somalis made up 3,236,667. There were 1,846,417 were males and 1,537,748 were females. The urban residents of the Somali Region numbered 492,710 households, with an average of 6.6 persons per household; a high sex ratio of 120 males to 100 females was reported.[9] As of 1997, the ethnic composition of the Region was 95.67% Somali, 0.70% Amhara, 2.25% Oromo; all other ethnic groups made up 1.38% of the population.[10]

According to the CSA, as of 2004, 38.98% of the total population had access to safe drinking water, of whom 21.32% were rural inhabitants and 77.21% were urban.[11] Values for other reported common indicators of the standard of living for Somali as of 2005 include the following: 71.8% of the inhabitants fall into the lowest wealth quintile; adult literacy for men is 22% and for women 9.8%; and the Regional infant mortality rate is 57 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, which is less than the nationwide average of 77; at least half of these deaths occurred in the infants’ first month of life.[12]

Year Ethiopia
Somali Region
% of Ethiopia Source
2007 73,918,505 4,439,147 6.0% [1] Archived 2012-06-04 at the Wayback Machine
2012 84,320,987 9,148,989 6.51% [2]
2013 86,613,986 10,318,000 6.99% [3]

The region is home to almost all major Somali clan families. The Issa and Gadabuursi subclans of the Dir primarily inhabit the northern Sitti zone and the Awbare woreda in Fafan zone.[13][14][15]

The Habr Awal, Garhajis, Arap and Habr Je'loclans of the Isaaq clan family inhabit the northern part of the region bordering Somaliland. The Arap primarily inhabit the Fafan zone making up the majority in Harshin woreda as well as making up a significant portion of the population of the Gursum, Somali (woreda) woreda as well as the lucrative towns of dhagahle and Laanqayr. The Garhajis and Habr Je'lo make up the majority of Awaare and Misrak Gashamo woredas in Jarar zone with a significant presence in the Danot woreda.[13]

Subclans of the Hawiye inhabit the western and southern areas of the region, with large presence of Degodia in Liben. Karanle and Sheekhaal present in the western areas bordering the Oromia region and the Hawadle and Habar Gidir subclans are present in the Shabelle zone. The closely related Samaale subclan of Garre are also present in the Liben zone and Dawa zone where they make up the majority.[13]

Various subclans of the Darod clan family primarily inhabit the central and eastern parts of the region, with the Ogaden and Jidwaq inhabiting the interior as well as the major towns of Jijiga, Gode, Kebridehar. The Harti as well as the Leelkase clans inhabit the Dollo zone where they make up the majority while the Marehan clan inhabit the Shilavo woreda and the Liben zone.[13]


Somali as a primary language is spoken by 95.89% of the inhabitants. All other languages spoken together make up 4.11%.[16][17]


98.74% of the population are Muslim, All other religions together made up 1.26%.[18][19][20]


As part of the Camel Milk Value-Chain Development project ceremony, women from Fafan village in the Somali Regional State offer fresh camel milk and other local delicacies in traditional containers.

The CSA of Ethiopia estimated in 2005 that farmers in the Somali Region had a total of 1,459,720 cattle (representing 10.19%% of Ethiopia's total cattle), 1,463,000 sheep (20.66%), 1,650,970 goats (50.02%), 1,291,550 donkeys (30.66%), 5,3165,260 camels (96.2%), 154,670 poultry of all species (0.5%), and 5,330 beehives (0.12%). For nomadic inhabitants, the CSA provided two sets of estimates, one based on aerial surveys and the other on more conventional methodology:[21]

Livestock Aerial survey
(conducted 5-23 Nov. 2003)
Conventional survey
(conducted 11 Dec. 2003)
Cattle 670,280 130,610
Sheep 6,410,800 250,110
Goats 5,525,460 177,580
Camels 1,041,870 64,510
Donkeys 42,640 14,290
Mules 430 160
Horses 50 -


Ground travel

West from Addis Ababa, Awash 572 km via Harar and Jijiga to Degehabur

Air travel

Somali Regional State has 3 international airport and 2 commercial airports. The international airports are Jijiga Airport, Gode Airport, and Kabri Dar Airport, The 2 commercial airports are Dolo Airport, and Shilavo Airport.


Executive branch

The executive branch is headed by the Chief Administrator of Somali Regional State. The current Chief Administrator is Mustafa Muhummed Omer (Cagjar), elected on 22 August 2018.[22] A Vice President of Somali Region succeeds the president in the event of any removal from office, and performs any duties assigned by the president. The current vice president is Adam Farah Ibrahim. The other offices in the executive branch cabinet are the Regional Health Bureau, Educational Bureau, and 18 other officials.[23]

List of Chief Administrators of Somali Region

No. Portrait President
Term of office Party
Took office Left office Duration
1 Abdullahi Mohamed Sa'di 23 Jan 1993 Nov 1993 10 Months, Ethiopian Somali Democratic League (ESDL).[24]
2 Hassan Jire Qalinle 1993 Apr 1994 1 Year, Ethiopian Somali Democratic League (ESDL)
3 Abdirahman Ugas Mohumed Qani Apr 1994 1995 1 Year, Ethiopian Somali Democratic League (ESDL)
4 Ahmed Makahel Hussein 1995 Jun 1995 4 Months,

15 Days

Ethiopian Somali Democratic League (ESDL)
5 Eid Daahir Farah Jun 1995 Oct 1997 2 Year,

4 Months

Ethiopian Somali Democratic League (ESDP).[25]
6 Khader Ma'alen Ali Oct 1997 Oct 2000 3 Years, Ethiopian Somali Democratic League (ESDL)
(until 1998)
Ethiopian Somali People's Democratic Party (ESPDP)
7 Abdulrashed Dulane Oct 2000 21 Jul 2003 2 Years,

10 Months

Ethiopian Somali People's Democratic Party (ESPDP)
8 Abdi Jibril Ali 21 Jul 2003 Oct 2005 2 Years,

3 Months,

Ethiopian Somali People's Democratic Party (ESPDP)
9 Abdullahi Hassan Mohamed ''Lugbuur'' Oct 2005 Nov 2008 3 Years,

1 Months

Ethiopian Somali People's Democratic Party (ESPDP)
10 Daud Mohamed Ali '' Daud Axmaar'' Nov 2008 12 Jul 2010 1 Year,

9 Months

Ethiopian Somali People's Democratic Party (ESPDP)
11 Abdi Mohamoud Omar (Cabdi Ilay) 12 Jul 2010 08 Aug 2018 8 Years,

1 Months

Ethiopian Somali People's Democratic Party (ESPDP)
12 Ahmed Abdi Sh.Mohamed (Ilkacase) 08 Aug 2018 22 Aug 2018 14 Days, Ethiopian Somali People's Democratic Party (ESPDP)
13 Mustafa Muhummed Omer (Cagjar)
22 Aug 2018 Present Somali People's Democratic Party (ESPDP)
(until 03 Apr 2019)
Somali Democratic Party (SDP)[26][27]
(until 30 Nov 2019)
Prosperity Party[28]
Mohamed Abdulghani, President of the Somali Region Chamber of Commerce From Ogaden Clan (Bahgari)

Judicial branch

There are three levels of the Somali region judiciary. The lowest level is the court of common pleas: each woreda maintains its own constitutionally mandated court of common pleas, which maintain jurisdiction over all justiciable matters. The intermediate-level court system is the district court system. Four courts of appeals exist, each retaining jurisdiction over appeals from common pleas, municipal, and county courts in an administrative zone. A case heard in this system is decided by a three-judge panel, and each judge is elected.

The highest-ranking court, the Somali Supreme Court, is Somali's "court of last resort". A Seven-justice panel composes the court, which, by its own discretion, hears appeals from the courts of appeals, and retains original jurisdiction over limited matters. The chief judge is called the Chief of Soamli Supreme Court Abdullahi Saed Omar.[29]

Legislative branch

The State Council, which is the highest administrative body of the state, is made up of 269 members.[30]

National politics

Somali is represented by

Administrative zones

Somali Region Administrative map
Official zones and woredas

Like other Regions in Ethiopia, Somali Region is subdivided into eleven administrative zones and Six Special administrative zones:[31]

The zones are themselves subdivided into districts.

See also


  1. ^ Population Projection of Ethiopia for All Regions At Wereda Level from 2014 – 2017. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Central Statistical Agency. Archived from the original on 6 June 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Archived from the original on 2018-09-23. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  3. ^ "Itoobiya oo laga xusay guushi Karamardha ee 1977-kii". BBC News Somali (in Somali). 2020-03-06. Archived from the original on 2020-11-01. Retrieved 2021-02-21.
  4. ^ "Ethiopia Regions, Cities, and Population". Archived from the original on 2021-05-09. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  5. ^ a b "Registered Somali Refugee Population". The UN Refugee Agency. July 31, 2014. Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  6. ^ "Monthly Situation Report - April 1994". Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  7. ^ "CIA, Talking Points on Soviet/Cuban Involvement in Ethiopia, March 17, 1978, Secret". Cold War Intelligence. doi:10.1163/ejb9789004244627.b09073. Retrieved 2023-06-21.
  8. ^ Tobias Hagmann, Mohamud H. Khalif: "State and Politics in Ethiopia's Somali region since 1991", Bildhaan: the International Journal of Somali Studies Archived 2011-08-31 at the Wayback Machine, 6 (2006), p. 33
  9. ^ The 1994 National Census was delayed in the Somali Region until 1997. The Census did not cover all parts of the Region, namely rural kebeles in the following Zones: Shinile, Fiq, Gode, and Afder. The 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Somali Region, vol.1 Archived 2008-12-07 at the Wayback Machine, Chapter 2 "Population size and characteristics"
  10. ^ 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Somali Region, Vol. 1] "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2009-03-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) Tables 2.4, 2.14 (accessed 10 January 2009).
  11. ^ "Households by sources of drinking water, safe water sources" Archived 2008-11-18 at the Wayback Machine CSA Selected Basic Welfare Indicators (accessed 28 January 2009)
  12. ^ Development, U. S. Agency for International. "U.S. Agency for International Development". Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  13. ^ a b c d "Changing Pastoralism in Region 5". Archived from the original on 2021-10-10. Retrieved 2021-04-22.
  14. ^ "Sociology Ethnology Bulletin". 1994. Archived from the original on 19 February 2022. Retrieved 23 August 2021. Different aid groups were also set up to help communities cope in the predominantly Gadabursi district of Aw Bare.
  15. ^ "Theoretical and Practical Conflict Rehabilitation in the Somali Region of Ethiopia | United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees | Refugee" (PDF). 2018–2019. p. 8. Archived from the original on 26 April 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021. The Gadabursi, who dominate the adjacent Awbare district north of Jijiga and bordering with the Awdal Region of Somaliland, have opened the already existing camps of Derwanache and Teferi Ber to these two communities.
  16. ^ 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Somali Region, Vol. 1] "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2009-03-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) Tables 2.4, 2.14 (accessed 10 January 2009).
  17. ^ Carruth, Lauren (2021). Love and Liberation: Humanitarian Work in Ethiopia's Somali Region. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-1-5017-5966-6. JSTOR 10.7591/j.ctv1gbrwvc.
  18. ^ 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Somali Region, Vol. 1] "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2009-03-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) Tables 2.4, 2.14 (accessed 10 January 2009).
  19. ^ FDRE States: Basic Information - Somalia Archived 2005-05-22 at the Wayback Machine, Population (accessed 12 March 2006)
  20. ^ " Census 2007 Tables: Somali Region" Archived 2012-03-10 at the Wayback Machine, Tables 2.1, 2.5, 3.1, 3.2, 3.4
  21. ^ "CSA 2005 National Statistics" Archived 2008-11-18 at the Wayback Machine, Tables D.4 - D.7.
  22. ^ Ben, Cahoon. "Ethiopia Administrative Divisions". World Statesman. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  23. ^ "Amhara Region Announces Appointment of 22 Cabinet Members". Ethiopian News Agency. 23 November 2016. Archived from the original on 2018-03-05. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  24. ^ Tobias Hagmann, Mohamud H. Khalif, "State and Politics in Ethiopia's Somali region since 1991" Archived 2011-08-31 at the Wayback Machine, Bildhaan: the International Journal of Somali Studies, 6 (2006), p. 29
  25. ^ Asnake Kefale Adegehe, Federalism and ethnic conflict in Ethiopia: a comparative study of the Somali and Benishangul-Gumuz regions Archived 2022-02-19 at the Wayback Machine Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Leiden University, Doctoral thesis (2009), p. 138
  26. ^ "Ahmed Shide named chairman of the Somali region ruling party". 12 August 2018. Archived from the original on 15 February 2020. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  27. ^ Dirir Mohamoud (Ethiopia) Archived 28 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine AfDevInfo website (accessed 14 May 2009)
  28. ^ "Exclusive: Third day EPRDF EC discussing "Prosperity Party" Regulation. Find the draft copy obtained by AS". Archived from the original on 2021-05-03. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  29. ^ "MOU Signing ceremony With Federal and Regional Supreme Courts of Ethiopia to Facilitate Support for Clearance of Backlog Files". Justice For All-PF Ethiopia. 14 August 2015. Archived from the original on 5 November 2017. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  30. ^ Lansford, Tom (2015). Political Handbook of the World 2015. Washington, D.C., United States: CQ Press. pp. 492. ISBN 978-1483371559.
  31. ^ "Ethiopia: Somali Region Administrative map (as of 05 Jan 2015)". OCHA. 5 January 2015. Archived from the original on 19 February 2022. Retrieved 5 November 2017.

Further reading

  • Tobias Hagmann, "Beyond clannishness and colonialism: understanding political disorder in Ethiopia's Somali Region, 1991- 2004", Journal of Modern African Studies, 43 (2005), 509–536.
  • Abdi Ismail Samatar (2004): "Ethiopian Federalism: Autonomy versus Control in the Somali Region". Third World Quarterly, Vol. 25/6
  • John Markakis (1996): "The Somali in Ethiopia". Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 23, No. 70, pp. 567–570
  • John Markakis (1994): "Briefing: Somalia in the New Political Order of Ethiopia". Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 21, No. 59 pp. 71–79

7°26′19″N 44°17′49″E / 7.4387305°N 44.2968750°E / 7.4387305; 44.2968750