"What they(Ajuran Kingdom) are remembered for, however, is for being one of the few states strong enough to hold of the Europeans. The Portuguese commander Tristão da Cunha had raided his way down the coast of Africa, but the Ajuran-controlled city state of Moghadishu held him at bay. Moghadishu was culturally the centre of the empire, a powerful city-state in its own right, and its currency was the de facto trading scrip of the empire with foreign powers. Da Cunha did not even attempt an attack, while his countryman João de Sepúlveda would try to do so unsuccessfully. Eventually in the 1580s the Ajurans allied with the Ottoman Empire, and wound up warring
Workers weaving the famous cloth from Mogadisho that was exported Arabia & Egypt. " In 1330, the Arab traveler Ibn Battuta wrote of Somalia's thriving cloth industry In this place [Mogadisho] are manufactured the unequalled woven fabrics named after it, which are exported from there to Egypt and elsewhere."
Haji Foodle(رحمه الله) was one of the first from Abdurahman-Sulaiman(A branch of the Waceysle Sub-Clan) to move to Mogadishu from Southern Mudug in the early 20th century. He would go on to be a very influential Merchant in Mogadishu.
All who stood and fought were killed by our tribal army; and some 60,000 head of stock and 700 rifles, numbers which give some idea of the growing strength of the Dervish- Ogaden concentration, were afterwards brought back into British territory. At the first onslaught, Haji Waraba himself, anxious to win the price set on the Mullah's head, had made straight for the Mullah's hut only to find that its occupant had fled. He must, however, have been taken very much by surprise : for his tea was still hot in its cup and his skull cap lay beside it on the ground. After calling upon the riflemen to hold up the attack until he had had time to get away, he had galloped out of the camp with a few of his intimates, intent as usual on saving his own skin.*
It was now apparent that all the remnants of the Dervish force from the Medishe and Jidali area were converging on Tale ; and the tribal leaders, although they had no proof, were convinced that the Mullah was in the fortress. A large party of Dervishes escorting the Mullah's main caravan had been successfully engaged by the Tribal Levy while trying to make their way into Tale. During the fight many notorious Dervishes had been killed,
274 THE MAD MULLAH OF SOMALILAND
including Haji Sudi, the ex-naval interpreter, and Ibrahim Boghol, the commander of the Mullah's forces in the northern area. The captures comprised many of the Mullah's personal belongings, his correspondence, his clothing and jewellery and, in addition, 1,400 camels, 450 cows, 50 ponies, 51 rifles, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, and 300 camel loads of supplies.
The Camel Corps had joined Gibb on the road to Gaolo which they reached together on the evening of the 8th February. On the following morning the Mullah's second son Abdurrahman Jahid, a feckless youth, and his uncle, Haji Osman, who had deserted the haroun overnight were brought into the Camel Corps zariba. They stated that the Mullah was in Tale but would have left the previous evening, had it not been for the presence of 200 men of the Tribal Levy who were in the vicinity watching developments. They were confident that the Mullah would leave that night. Acting on this information, which might or might not be trustworthy, Ismay and Gibb decided to make a demonstration round Tale that evening
To resume, the Mullah followed up his first coup of April 1899 by a further successful foray against the Habr Yunis in August, and he reoccupied Burao with a force estimated at 5000 men. He gave himself out as the Mahdi; and ominous rumours spread foretelling an advance on Berbera. The Consul General urged an expedition on the Home Government, but our commitments elsewhere, more particularly in south Africa, were such as to preclude the immediate adoption of this course. During the first seven months of 1900, the Mullah was comparatively inactive, but in August he suddenly swooped down upon the Aidegalla tribe and caused all the friendly tribes to evacuate the Haud in confusion. Next month the Habr Awal tribe suffered severely at his hands.
Muhammed Abdullah had, however, for some time enjoyed considerable influence over the Habr Toljaala and Dolbahanta tribes inhabiting the more remote portions of the Protectorate, and at first this influence appears to have been exercised for good. At the begining of last year, however, the Mullah, on the plea of a theft of camels committed by the Habr Yunis (who live within the Protectorate), raided the territory of that tribe, occupied the town of Burao. Consul-General Sadler's despatch to Lord Salisbury
“Sultan Nur hastily left eastwards, and is supposed to have repaired to Burao, whence he will probably rejoin the Mullah. The eastern sections of the Habr Yunis are still with the Mullah, but the Position has so far improved that the westerly sections, whose attitude had before been doubtful, are now said to have definitely declared against Sultan Nur and the Mullah. At this point there is now every reason to believe this movement will now stop in its movement westwards,leaving the line of division as reported i n my previous despatch. Consul-General Sadler's despatch to Lord Salisbury
Berbera, September 14, 1899. (October 2.)
My Lord, On the instant information was received that the Mullah Muhammad Abdullah, had left Burao and occupied Odweina, in the western Habr Yunis country. He is there coercing the western Habr Yunis tribes who water at Odweina, Adadleh, and Syk, and who had declared themselves against him and Sultan Nur. He has seized some of their principal men and a considerable quantity of their livestock grazing in the Arori and Toyo Plains. |
It is unfortunate that we could not get earlier information of the Mullah's Intention to move to Burao. I have before alluded to the secrecy which covers his proceedings, and to the difficulty of obtaining reliable Information from the Dolbahanta, It will be observed from late reports that I considered the movement was subsiding, and, although we were aware that Sultan Nur had sent several letters to the Mullah to assist him in coercing the western Habr Yunis tribes, our Information was to the effect that all attempts to raise a force had failed. Such was certainly the opinion of Sheikh Mattar, of Hargaisa, whose means of obtaining information are probably unequalled in the Protectorate, and whose good faith there is no reason to question. He did not consider there was any probability of a move on the Mullah's part tiU next spring rains, when he thought that, if he found himself strong enough, he would then create trouble in the western part of the Protectorate, or move into the Ogaden. This opinion was expressed the day I left Hargaisa on my return journey. There seems to have been an altercation, too, between the Mullah and Sultan Nur, the latter saying that he had not collected men and supplies at Burao, as the Mullah had moved earlier than he had expected. Consul-General Sadler's despatch to Lord Salisbury
Pro English Forces
1-Tribal Horse, recruited from the Dolbahanta, Ba Idris, Habr Yunis, and ** tribes, and No. IV, Gadabursi Horse, recruited about entirely from Gadabursi men. The strength of each corps was 600 horsemen, 550 horses or mules, and 50 foot levies. Each man was supplied with a rifle, bandolier, blanket, saddle, water-bottle, and one horse or mule. A red tobe* was also issued as a distinguishing badge. The term of enlistment was for three months from the date of commencement of the operations. Pay was at the rate of 30 rs. for headmen, and 15 rs.for others, per month. After the battle of Jidbalj, both corps were amalgamated and called the Tribal Horse, their combined strength being reduced to 750 men. Of these, 250 picked men were taken for operations with the Mounted Troops, the remaining 5OO returned to Ain Abo and Eil Dab for raiding parties.). Page 419
Dolbahantas had been specially enlisted as Ilaalos, on account of their superior value as Ilalos to Ishak men generally, and their knowledge of the country in which it was proposed to operate. As a result, however, of these desertions it was decided, with certain exceptions, to replace the Dolbahauta by Ishak, and to select such Ishak men from the Habr Toljaalu mostly, Saad Yunis being subjected to careful scrutiny. The exceptions alluded to consisted of : —
(i) Men who were known to have a blood feud with the Mullah
(ii) Men who had recognized guarantees in the sha^K) of relations of property in our sphere ;
(iii) A somewhat large percentage which the intelligence officers at Bohotlo was permitted to retain, in view of the intimate knowledge he had of the Bohotle men who had been with him for some time back. When these changes were carried out, the proportion showed about six Ishak to four Dolbahantas. Page 398
There was little diffaculty in obataining Ilaalos, the pay being good and the service popular. Enlistments were made, as a rule, through some principal men. This had drawbacks, as , for instance, it cannot be doubted but that some considerable “dustoorie” was brought into play; but it is the only practicable method at any rate at present and produce men who can be known and vouched for. The tow men through whom the largest number of enlistments were made were Hersi Isa (Rer Wais Adan) retained as a sort of principal headman to the whole Ilaalo establishment, and Ali Bulali ( a Burkat Achil).
And this brings us down to the Time covered by the Colonial Blue Book mentioned at the threshold of this article. It seems that early in 1906 some members of the Habr Unis tribe raided the Mad Mullah’s reservation and carried off a few hundred camels. The Mad Mullah quickly retaliated, laid waste the farms of this tribe, and captured and occupied the town of Burao, whose English garrison retreated. This of course, again brought him into conflict with Downing Street.
There ensued a long series of diplomatic correspondence between the Colonial office, which had in the meantime taken over the protectorate from the foreign office, and the commissioners in Somaliland. The Commissioners urged again and again that a strong expedition be sent out, while the Foreign Office thought that the Mad Mullah might be bought off by subsidy. To this Capt. Cordeaux replied:
“It would provide him with the means of purchasing more arms and ammunition and would encourage him to make further demands, which would become more extravagant as his strength increased.”
Collection 324A/131 Somaliland operations, 1919: report and recommendations for reward, measures to prevent mullah's escape (Mullah Mahommed Abdullah). IOR/L/MIL/7/14634 1919-1933
, and the list was as this:
HL Deb 06 April 1910 vol 5 cc556-98556
LORD CURZON OF KEDLESTON
I should like to recover my reputation in the estimation of the noble Earl. I said that Chitral and Afghanistan were cases where 595 in the one instance the policy of evacuation favoured by the Government of the day had been abandoned by their successors, and we had been compelled to go back, and where in the other it would be rash to prophesy as to the future. However, that is neither here nor there. There is another small point of fact about which I should like to put myself straight. There has been some dispute as to what has happened as the direct consequence of this evacuation of the interior of Somaliland. There has been a little controversy as to what has occurred in the case of these unfortunate Dolbahanta. The noble Earl represents the matter as an ordinary incident of tribal warfare—that these people attacked the Mullah's force and secured some momentary advantage, and the Mullah's force attacked them in return and they were defeated. It really is very much more than that
Mr Philip Glazebrook
House Of Commons. 24 February 1914
While affairs are getting worse and worse among our friendly tribes, the other problem, that of the Mullah, advanced one more step, by a raid on the Dolbahanta tribe in February, 1912, as a result of which a large number of the Dolbahanta became destitute refugees. We must remember that the Dolbahanta tribe is one of the friendly tribes who have taken our side in previous conflictswith the Mullah. I admit that the Camel Corps was not formed for the purpose of protecting them against the Mullah, but it was formed very shortly after, that date, and was ready by December, 1912.
THE EARL OF CREWE
That is not so. There has been a good deal of desultory fighting between the Mullah and the Dolbahanta for some time past. What really happened is that the Dolbahanta are now so well armed that they thought themselves strong enough to go and attack the Mullah.
LORD CURZON OF KEDLESTON
I am speaking on the authority of those who have recently been in the country, who have just come from the country and have had contact with the tribes to which I refer. I am assured by them that these incidents have occurred since the intention of His Majesty's Government to retire became known. I mention it in illustration of the argument that the news of evacuation, and still more the effect of evacuation, have already had consequences which we should all deplore. One other word about the tribes. The noble Earl tells us that the tribes have always been armed. I believe he is not altogether correct in that statement.
THE EARL OF CREWE
I did not say that the tribes have been armed in the sense that every man, or anything like every man, has been armed, but a certain number of them have had arms undoubtedly