Chronology of Digil & Mirifle History of Somalia

February 05 00:23 2011 Print This Article
Early HistoryDigil and Rahawiin  are descendants of the earliest wave of Somaloid peoples and also the most southern. Firm evidence for the history of the Somali people dates back to only about 1000 AD. Linguistic, cultural and historical evidence indicates D&M came originally from the southern highlands of what is now Ethiopia. The Somali are from the same broad group of early Cushitic peoples from which the Rendille came. The Somali-Rendille are one broad group with similar language and culture.The Maay-speaking group came in contact with the northern Bantu peoples on the coast from Mogadishu south and inland and were an initial cause of migration back south of the Swahili and related peoples. Later the Digil and Rahawiin themselves suffered incursions from northern Somalis and then Oromos, the latter from about 1500. D&M maintained trading relations with the Arabs, Persians and remaining Swahilis on the coast, though preserving their nomadic cattle herding.Digil and Mirifle clans are the descendants of the two sons of Mad Reewin with the Digil being the elder son and the Mirifle the younger son. The Digil settle around the Banadir the Jubba and the Shabelle regions while the descendants of the Mirifle settle around the central and the western portions of the region.The Mirifle is divided into two main groups the sagaal and the siyeed. The Digil are divided into seven clans known as Todobadii Aw Digil.These two groups (Digil & Mirifle) are socioculturally and linguistically different from more nomadic groups of the North.
Colonial PeriodThroughout the colonial period, a condition of neglect and marginality characterized Digil & Mirifle society under colonial rule.
1945 – 1960        The modern political organization of the interriverine area was founded in 1920s as a philanthropic movement under the name of al Jam’iyyah al Khayriyyah al-Wataniyyah.March 26, 1947 The Hisbiya Digil & Mirifle (HDM) was constituted preceding SYL which became a political organization from April 1, 1947.At that time the HDM had 60,871 members and 800,000 supporters.March 1954 when the first municipal elections based on direct male suffrage were held, there were more than 20 parties competing for 281 seats on municipal councils. The HDM won 57 seats in 15 municipalities coming second to the SYL.In 1956 elections four parties won seats; SYL, HDM, SDM and Marehan Union with 43, 13, 3, and 1 seat respectively. However, HDM representing inter-riverine area received not a single ministerial portfolio.Before unification the seats of the national assembly in the south were proportionately divided among the three major clans 30 reewin, 30 hawiye, 30 daarod but the Reewin did not gain a cabinet position despite having 20 out of 60 in the legislative assembly.March 25, 1958 the HDM produced new program reflecting its future policy and its name changed to Hizbia Dastur Mustaqil al Somal (HDMS). The party declared its intention to establish a federal government, believing that a federal system was the only way to lead the entire Somali people.On February 25, 1959 there were violent riots in Mogadishu which led the arrest of all party presidents.The HDMS along with other opposition parties opposed the general elections of March 1959 and once again SYL formed the second Somali Government of Abdullahi Isse.This political disenfranchisement of the Digil and Mirifle continued until 1969.
1969 – 1990October 21,1969 the army seized power, parliament suspended and all parties were banned.The clan orientation and the continued disenfranchisement of the Reewin by the Barre regime between 1969 to 1990 was evident from the beginning. For example, there was no single Reewin among the 25 members of the military junta and also the Central Committee for the Somali revolutionary Socialist Party  (SRSP) in 1976. As a result, Reewin were completely deprived their political rights and representation, and their land tenure systems were violated.D&M have been systematically excluded from the necessary education in the process of Mahatiri language acquisition. The school curriculum was also based on the perceptions and conceptualization of nomad’s world. For instance, certain Mahatiri individuals were glorified as patriotic while the role of southern nationalistic were down placed.Almost all civil servants, local & regional administrators of D&M were Mahatiri speaking Somalis.As a result of this political, linguistic and cultural subjugation the Reewin society was colonized.
1990 – 1995Until the civil war the riverineland was a prosperous land. On the eve of the civil war in 1990, the D&M clans had no access to firearms and thus had no way of protecting themselves. By December 1992, the riverineland was called the “Triangle  Death”. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 people died of starvation. Most died of starvation or fled the area when Siad Barre’s army moved twice through it destroying and looting of every thing they could possibly carry from stored grain to water pumps.After Siad Barre’s army was forced out of the country, Aideed’s militia destroyed the city once again, looting everything that the dictator left behind.The cause of the famine in riverineland was neither the consequence of natural and environmental calamities not the result of an all-out civil war. It was nothing else but genocidal. The main cause of the conflict was not a direct conflict between Darood and Hawiye, but a competition among them to occupy the land of the D&M.“In Baidoa, Somalia, in 1992, I think what stuck in my mind more than anything was the sight of grain markets carrying on a busy trade not 100 yards from where I was watching people dying in the streets of hunger. I suppose it was this more than anything which convinced me that famines are always manmade disasters . . .” By Mr Stephen Jackson-Director, International Famine Centre at University College Cork.During the UN intervention in Somalia, Baidoa become  peaceful & prosperous, a local public service had formed with a council, police judiciary and prison service. Baidoa was also a symbol for many Somalis and the international community that peace, coexistence and reconstruction were possible.In early 1988 a new political organization call Somali Democratic Movement was formed to represent the D&M.During the this period some D&M politician aligned themselves to Aideed and Ali Mahdi. however, in April 1992 both wings of SDM agreed to unite under one SDM.March 7, 1993 D&M reconciliation conference was held in Boonka (Baidoa). It was a very successful conference which spelled out many importance issues such D&M political representation, security, education, health and many other issues.March 1995 UN withdrew from Somalia.
1995 -1999The D&M never fully recovered from 1992 war between retreating Darod and the pursuing forces of Hawiye clans when in September 1995 Aideed forces invaded Baidoa and occupied almost 100% of D&M land.After the occupation, many of D&M politicians abandoned their responsibility and the D&M became despair. In 1995 a new organization called Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA) was formed to combat against the invasion of Aideed’s and his Habrgidir militia.After long struggle of hit & runs and ambushes RRA succeeded to defeat Aideed militia in Hudur and liberated the town. 
1999 – PresentRRA took over Baidoa on June 6, 1999 after they expelled Aideed forces with heavy losses.The population of Baidoa jumped from 15,000 to 50,000 within couple of weeks.December 1999 an autonomous administration for the regions of Bay & Bakool has been established.The struggle to liberate the remaining D&M land continues.This time D&M are far more united  and their recent victories will provide the popular support necessary for a successful regional administration.Djibouti president proposed a Somali peace conference to be held in Djibouti on May 2. The majority of D&M people believe that they were sidestepped again and their plight was ignored, thus it is not going to be beneficial for D&M to attend the conference. RRA officially announced that they will not attend the conference.Now the question remains whether D&M remaking the history of 1950s when HDMS boycotted the election and subsequently Mahatiri formed their own government or whether D&M are in a position for their voices to be heard.
More topics on History you can read continue here
view more articles

About Article Author

Alan Davison
Alan Davison

Alan Davison, internet researcher, full-time writer for 15 years. Writer and publisher of or Follow me on Twitter.

View More Articles