The Somali of East Africa and Diaspora
Population: 16-20 million
Location: Somalis live in East Africa and around the world.
History: Somalis have lived in the Horn region of Africa for millennia. Rock painting found in Somaliland date back 5000 years. Somalia was part of the Silk Road- supplying frankincense, myrrh, and spices to Ancient Egypt and others.
Somali sailors were influenced by Muslim traders across the Red Sea in the early centuries of Islam. Somalis were among the first people to convert to Islam in Africa.
In the Middle Ages several powerful Somali empires dominated regional trade. In the late 19th century, they were able to repel colonial forces for 25 years, until the British used airplanes to bomb the capital in 1920.
The territory was eventually divided among colonial powers: French Somaliland, British Somaliland, Italian Somaliland.
British and Italian Somaliland gained their independence in 1960 and united as the Somali Republic. The Haud and Ogaden, traditionally occupied by Somalis, were ceded to Ethiopia by the British in 1948 and The Northern Frontier Distict, also Somali, was given to Kenya by the British in 1960.
French Somaliland gained its independence in 1977 and became The Republic of Djibouti.
In 1969 Mohamed Siad Barre led a military coup and established a socialistic state. He became an oppressive dictator. War with Ethiopia in the late 70s led to over one million displaced Somalis living in refugee camps in Somalia. Resistance movements against Barre began in the North in the late 80s. He responded ruthlessly- 50,000 people were killed between 1988 and 1989 in the North. Civil war broke out in 1991. 1 million people lost their homes in the war. Many hundreds of thousands fled to refugee camps or abroad. 350,000 people died of disease, starvation, or war. Barre was ousted as President, leaving a power vacuum and civil war continued for a decade.
A Transitional National Government was formed in 2000 with UN peace keepers support. A Transitional Federal Government was established in 2004- 2012. Al-Shabaab opposed the government and began attacking in 2007 to the present. The Federal Government of Somalia was established in 2012 and continues in power.
Culture: The name Somali is derived from the words ‘soo’ and ‘maal’ meaning “go and milk”. Many Somalis are pastoralists, caring for herds of camels, goats and sheep. Somalis love poetry and are known as a ‘Nation of Poets’.
Diaspora: Large populations of Somalis can be found in the UK, Europe, Canada, and the US.
Latest Prayer Updates:
Pray for fruitful outreach among our neighbors, colleagues, and patients. Ask the Lord to open doors and open hearts to the Gospel. Pray for a breakthrough! So many are blind and deaf to the good news and held captive by the Evil One.
This is my testimony while I have been in jail for my faith in the Lord: Shalom, I greet you in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. When we went to prison, the Lord did not forsake us, He stood with us as He promised in His Word. He was not far from us a second, and He humbled the hearts of those around us, He caused the inmates, prison guards, and those visiting us to like us. The Lord has made the prison like a home for me. Prison doors are closed at all times but for the last 3 months I have been living alone in a room where I am able to close or open the door of my room. The Lord has given me perseverance and patience. The Lord has given me wisdom to use with inmates, and they all call me Mother. The Lord has given me all his grace and mercy. He wipes away my tears with His hand, my heart is with Him and He is closer to me than the breath I breathe, He is my Father and I am his daughter. He has raised my head to the point where the director of the prison asked me about the situation of the female inmates because he said, “She tells the truth- Christians do not lie.” I am happy to be a prisoner in the name of Jesus Christ because He has promised me that I will inherit the kingdom of God. My husband and I know very well that our real home is the Kingdom of God in heaven, and surely we are just guests on this earth. I love God with all my heart. Finally, my brothers and sisters in Christ, I love you and I know that you always pray for us because we are one body with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. We will definitely come out when we have finished the work that the Lord has brought us here to do and we will all celebrate the joy of our freedom. We are waiting for the day when the Lord will answer us. “The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of its site, And will pursue His enemies into darkness.” (Nahum 1:7-8)