from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ethnic groups in Somalia

The Benadiri or Reer Hamar are an ethnic minority in Somalia, predominantly based in the cities of Mogadishu, Merka and Baraawe on the Benadir Coast.

They are descendants of immigrants who had come from Arabia, Persia and possibly also from South Asia since the 12th century. They differ from the Somali majority by a slightly lighter skin colour, which is why they are also called Gibil Cad (“light-skinned”).

Benadiri derives from the Benadir coast, which takes its name from the Persian bandar (“port”). Hamar (Somali: Xamar) is an old name for Mogadishu, said to be of Persian origin; Reer Hamar means “people of Mogadishu” or “people of the city”.

Traditionally, the Benadiri are engaged in trade as well as tailoring and fishing. They are generally wealthier and better educated than the rest of the population, which also results in envy and discrimination. As a small and militarily weak group not belonging to any of the major Somali clans, the Reer Hamar of Mogadishu were particularly caught between the fronts of the Hawiye subclans and warlords fighting in the city during the civil war since 1991.