The Absama subclan of the Sharifan including size, strength, traditional homelands and security of the homelands, allies and ability to get protection from a larger clan or subclan [SOM33145.E]

The Absama [also spelt Absame in some sources] is reportedly one of the biggest Darod subclans (The Indian Ocean Newsletter 23 Jan. 1999). The clan, which controls the Juba river valley of southern Somalia, is headed by General Abdullahi Aden Nur Gabyow, who is also the chairman of the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) (AFP 31 Aug. 1999; 22 Apr. 1999).

In April 1999 an Italian veterinarian working with an Italian non-government organization, Terra Nuova, was kidnapped by an armed militia whose identity was not known (IRIN 22 Apr.1999). The regional representative for Terra Nuova reportedly negotiated with the Absama community for his release (ibid.). General Abdullahi Aden Nur "Gabyow called for the immediate release of the aid worker saying that "the Absama do not condone abductions" (AFP 22 Apr. 1999).

In terms of the security situation in southern Somalia, a 5 November 1999 Panafrican News Agency (PANA) states that a resurgence of inter-clan fighting in southern Somalia has "disrupted food production activities and assistance to civil war and drought victims." This source further claims that "mounting civilians casualties, destruction of property, a large-scale population displacement and a number of starvation-related deaths have been reported," and that "the escalation of violence against humanitarian workers has further reduced the flow and distribution of humanitarian assistance" (ibid.).

No reports on allies and ability to get protection from larger clans could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate 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. Please see the list of additional sources consulted in Researching this Information Request.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 31 August 1999. "Rencontre controversée de chefs de guerre somaliens à Addis Abeba." (NEXIS)

_____. 20 August 1999. "Réunion à Baidoa de chefs de guerre somaliens." (NEXIS)

_____. 22 April 1999. "Gunmen Demanding 100,000-dollar Ransom for Italian Veterinarian." (NEXIS)

_____. 28 April 1998. "Eight Killed in Faction Fighting in Southern Somalia." (NEXIS)

The Indian Ocean Newsletter [Paris]. 23 January 1999. No. 842. "Tension Mounts in Kisimayo." (NEXIS)

IRIN. 22 April 1999. "Somalia: Kidnap of Aid Worker Strongly Condemned." (NEXIS)

Panafrican News Agency (PANA). 5 November 1999. "Food Crisis Intensifies in Southern Somalia." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential [London]. January- October 1999. Weekly. Vol. 40. Nos. 1-21.

Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series [Oxford]. Monthly. January 1998-January 1999. Vols. 34-35.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1998. 1999. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Press.

Danish Immigration Service [Copenhagen]. May 1997. Report of the Nordic Fact-Finding Mission to Central and Southern Somalia. 15 February to 14 March 1997.

Horn of Africa Bulletin [Uppsala]. Bi-monthly. January - September 1999.Vols. 11. Nos. 1-4.

The Indian Ocean Newsletter [Paris]. January 1998-October 1999.Nos. 793-876.

Electronic sources: IRB databases, LEXIS/NEXIS, World Network Connection (WNC), Internet sites including,;