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3.11.5. Clans which can be considered minority groups in local contexts

Last update: June 2022

This sub-profile refers to persons who belong to groups that are seen as majority under one aspect and as minority under another aspect. These groups include the Rahanweyn (Digil and Mirifle sub-clans), the Tunni, the Begedi and the Geledi.

It should be noted that specific information on the recent treatment of some of those groups was not available in the COI reports used for the purposes of this guidance.

COI summary

Rahanweyn/Digil-Mirifle (Saab)

The Rahanweyn mainly reside in the regions Bay, Bakool and Gedo, in between the rivers Shabelle and Jubba and they are mostly agro-pastoralists, living from farming and animal herding. They are divided into two major clans, the Digil and the Mirifle. All Rahanweyn speak Af-Maay. [Targeting, 4.4., p. 72]

Although partly being considered as a low status group by members of other major clans, Rahanweyn are counted among the majority groups. They are a populous clan family and members of the Hawiye or Darood clan families in the south could intermarry with Rahanweyn. Through establishing their own militia and their own regional administration, they gained respect among other majority groups. Since the early 2000s, Rahanweyn also hold influential positions in the Somali government. [Targeting, 4.4., p. 72]

The frequent adoptions (act of claiming other people’s ancestors as one’s own) create some hierarchy within Rahanweyn. Within the group, bilis (nobles) who claim a purer patrilineal descent distinguish themselves from boon (commoners), who have an adopted descent. Although friendship can exist between them, boon are subject to prejudice, social exclusion and some exploitation as cheap labour force by bilis, within the clan family. [Targeting, 4.4., p. 73]

The Rahanweyn are often subject to discrimination and exploitation by more powerful groups when they have been displaced into other clan-based areas. In 2017, roughly half of the around 369 000 IDPs in Mogadishu were Rahanweyn or Bantu. Members of various Rahanweyn lineages are part of Al-Shabaab with their fighters being motivated mostly by economic incentives. [Targeting, 4.4., p. 74]

Tunni, Begedi and Geledi: ‘in-between’ groups

The Tunni, the Begedi, and the Geledi are often subsumed under the Rahanweyn clan Digil. Parts of these groups are described as having a weak position, partly due to ambiguous reception of their belonging or due to local circumstances. Tunni are often commercially oriented or craftsmen. The Begedi and Geledi, often associated to the Benadiri minority groups, are usually active as farmers and traders. [Targeting, 4.4., p. 74]

There was no available information on the treatment of these groups in the reference period.


Conclusions and guidance 

   Do the acts qualify as persecution under Article 9 QD?   

Some acts reported to be committed against individuals under this profile are of such severe nature that they amount to persecution (e.g. some forms of exploitation). When the acts in question are (solely) of discriminatory nature, the individual assessment of whether discrimination could amount to persecution should take into account the severity and/or repetitiveness of the acts or whether they occur as an accumulation of various measures.

   What is the level of risk of persecution (well-founded fear)?   

The individual assessment of whether there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution in the whole of Somalia, including South-Central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland, should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, such as: their area of origin in relation to the specific minority group they belong to and the local clan dynamics, their status as ‘noble’ or ‘commoner’, gender, etc.

   Are the reasons for persecution falling within Article 10 QD (nexus)?   

Where well-founded fear of persecution is substantiated, available information indicates that persecution of this profile is highly likely to be for reasons of race. Persecution of minority groups in local contexts may also be for reasons of membership of particular social group, based on an innate characteristic or common background which cannot be changed (the family they are born into) and distinct identity, as they may be perceived as different in the local context.


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