Information on the Asharaf; and on the Luway subclan of the Rahanwein clan family [SOM21562.E]

No information on the Asharaf could be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB to update earlier Responses to Information Requests: SOM21097.E of 10 July 1995 and SOM5588 8 May 1990.

Limited information could be found on the Luway. However, the sources consulted by DIRB provided information on the Luway in the general context of the Rahanwein clan family as a whole.

Lee Cassanelli, in his paper Victims and Vulnerable Groups in Southern Somalia situates the Luway in the Bakool and Geedo regions between the Juba and Shebelle rivers (May 1995, 24). This clan is part of the Merifle branch of the Rahanwein known as the Sagaal (ibid.). For additional information on the relationship of the Rahanwein clans with other groups in this area, please consult this paper which is available at Regional Documentation Centres.

A professor of political science specializing in Somalia at Davidson College in North Carolina stated in a telephone interview on 18 August 1995 that the Luway are agro-pastoralists, who customarily occupied the northern area of the region between the Juba and Shebelle rivers, west of Belet Wen. According to the professor, this area benefitted from the United Nations famine relief operations in 1992, but later it was sporadic fighting occurred (ibid.). This professor considered the Rahanwein, as a clan family, to be weak, vulnerable and unable to make a living outside of their area (ibid.).

In a telephone interview on 17 August 1995, an anthropologist specializing in Somalia at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, stated that the Luway (also spelt Luwai) are dry-land agriculturalists living between the Juba and Shebelle Rivers. The anthropologist said the Luway are politically disenfranchised in national politics, and in addition, are politically weak in their local areas (ibid.). During the recent conflict the Rahanwein clans suffered considerably; for example, many of the Rahanwein clans were driven off their farmlands by armed factions (ibid.). The anthropologist did not know the current state of armed factional activity in the interriverine region. However, security for the Rahanwein subclans traditionally depended on the client-patron relationship which subclan leaders were able to forge with the more dominant groups in their locale (ibid.). The anthropologist also stated that the subclans that constitute the Rahanwein of the interriverine region are closely associated or affiliated with other Rahanwein subclans in the region and that it would be "highly unlikely they would go anywhere else in the country to find security" (ibid.).

A professor of anthropology at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, corroborated the anthropologist's statements on the devastation suffered by the Rahanwein of the interriverine region, as well as the close ties among the Rahanwein subclans and the unlikelihood of the clans finding security outside of the interriverine region (17 Aug. 1995). In a telephone interview this professor stated that subclan lineage was of dubious value for Rahanwein subclans because their lineage was confined to the interriverine region, where they all shared the same fate (ibid.). The Rahanwein had "very little in the way of alternatives" outside of the region, the professor stated (ibid.). For the Rahanwein subclans, the most important ties are within their particular locale or village (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Anthropologist specializing in Somalia, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 17 August 1995. Telephone interview.

Cassanelli, Lee. May 1995. "Victims and Vulnerable Groups in Southern Somalia." Ottawa: Documentation, Information and Research Branch, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada.

Professor of anthropology specializing in Somalia, Colby College Waterville, Maine. 17 August 1995. Telephone interview.

Professor of political science specializing in Somalia, Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina. 18 August 1995. Telephone interview.