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Jowhar ( , , ) is the capital town of the Shabeellaha Dhexemarker region of Somaliamarker (located at ), and, along with Baidoamarker, used to form the joint administrative capital of the Transitional Federal Government, which captured it from the Islamic Courts Union.

The town lies 90 km (50 mi) along a major road north of the nominal national capital of Mogadishumarker. There is an airport in the north of the town.


Jowhar was founded by an Italian Duke, Luigi Amedeo Savoia, who first came to the African continent in 1883 and liked the place. He raised funds to build dams, roads, a railroad, schools, hospitals, a Church, and a Mosque. He eventually married a Somali woman and died in his village.

Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi

Italian explorer and nobleman Luigi Amedeo Savoia-Aosta founded in 1920 the eponymous Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi as an agricultural settlement in Italian Somalia experimenting with new cultivation techniques. In 1926, the colony comprised 16 villages, with some 3,000 Somali and 200 Italian inhabitants.

Situated between the Darod and the Hawiye Somali clan strongholds, the area is of strategic importance. It is also of considerable economic value notably due to its banana, cotton and sugar plantations.

From 1911 in Jowhar (ex-Giohar), Italians like the Prince of Savoy, Luigi Amedeo, started to take the local farmers and resettle them in specific new villages in an attempt to improve the economy of Italian Somalia. The area around the Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi was the most agriculturally developed of Somalia before World War II and had some food industries..

In the 1920s, during the construction of a new dam, the Italians forced the local population of the area to resettle, and in the process generated resentment.

In 1940, the Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi (called even "Villabruzzi") already had a population of 12,000, of whom nearly 3,000 were Italian Somalians, and enjoyed a notable level of development as a small manufacturing area.

The Italians, who believed in the economic potential of the region, also built a railroad system that linked Jowhar to Mogadishumarker for the next thirty years, and was used mainly to export bananas and coffee to Europe.

At independence, the vacuum created by the outgoing Italians was not filled by the new Somali elites in charge, as the latter deemed the cattle trade and urban assets more profitable.

After WWII

Jowhar changed name from the Italian Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi to the actual name in 1960, when president Siad Barre started to fully decolonize Somalia.

With a "socialist" regime in 1969, such a fertile land was nationalized and was only available to cultivators through fifty years leases. The government fixed the prices of agricultural products and could purchase up to 80% of the harvests. Under Co-operative Act n°70 of 1973, petty farmers were expropriated again toleave place for the State orientated Fanoole Rice Farm, Mogambo Irrigation Project and Juba Sugar Complex.
Political map of Somalia showing the location of Jowhar (here spelled "Giohar"), north of Mogadishu, with a red dot.
Jowhar only became the regional capital in the mid-1980s when Mogadishu was taken out of Shabeellaha Dhexe to form its own region, Banaadirmarker.

Role in Transitional Federal Government

As part of a 2004 agreement, Jowhar and the town of Baidoamarker were to form a joint administrative capital of the Transitional Federal Government, sited away from Mogadishu for security reasons. Continued fighting has threatened to derail the peace process, but in July 2005, transitional president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed relocated to the town from his base in Bossasomarker, moving the process forward, and joining transitional Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi, already resident in the town one month. Part of the parliament became based in Jowhar, while some ministries were established in Mogadishu. By February 2006, despite Ghedi's security concerns[102368], the two leaders had left to Baidoa, where it was decided the parliament would meet.

Recent fighting

On December 27, 2006, the internationally-backed transitional government forces, united with Ethiopian troops, recaptured Jowharmarker from the Islamic Courts Union.

On May 17, 2009, the Islamic al-Shabab militia took over the town.

External links



  3. Interim Somali government to relocate to Baidoa and Jowhar, Voice of Africa, 23 March 2005
  4. Ethiopian, Somali Troops Regain Jowhar, FOX News, 27 December 2006
  5. Somali militants capture key town, BBC, 17 May 2009
  6. Jowhar] Satellite photo at Wikimapia

See also

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