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Afran Qallo (Clan)

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

The Afran Qallo also Kottu (Oromo: Werra Qallo, Arabic:بنوقالو) are a large Oromo clan who are native to the eastern part of the Horn of Africa .[1] The Afran Qallo trace there lineage to Maaram (the mother of Barento ), and wife of Oromo.[2][3] The Afran Qallo are known for their fierce resistance against the Ottoman-Egyptian invasion of Hararghe.[4], and were also mentioned to be one of the first to accept Islam in the Harar area at the arrival of Abadir Umar.[5]

Afran Qallo
Afran Qallo Hararghe
Regions with significant populations
Ethiopia, Somaliland
Harari Oromo
Islam (Sunni)
Related ethnic groups
Somali People , Afar people and other Cushitic Peoples


Afran Qallo pronounced Afar-an-Qallo literally translates to the 4 sons of Qallo (Ala, Babille, Daga, Oborra) in the Hararghe Dialect of Afaan Oromo.[6] Afaran translates to the 4 of them and Qallo is the common ancestor of these 4 tribes thus meaning the 4 people (sons) of Qallo. But they are more commonly referred to as the eastern Gallas or the Kottu.[7]


The Afran Qallo can be found scattered in most parts of Ethiopia but traditionally populate the Eastern Hararghe, and Western Hararghe zones[8] out of the 3 Ittu,Humbana, and Afran qallo[9] Oromo tribes of Hararghe the Afran Qallo heavily outnumber the other two in both size and landmass [10]. Small branches of the Afran Qallo such as the Akiso subdivisions of the Oborra make up a noticeable population in the respective Afar Region[11]. The Afran Qallo make up the largest population in the area between Dire Dawa, and Harar[12] in 1951 Trimingham noted that the Afran Qallo made up half the population of the Hararghe province which included the territory of the Danakil, Karrayu, Ituu,Darood, Dir, and Isaaq Somali Oromo and Afar tribes. The main arm of the Afran Qallo can be found exclusively in in Dire Dawa[13] Harar[14] Mieso[15], Gursum,Asebot,Aweday Chiro,Chinaksen,Tuli Guled[16], and Jijiga whilst the most easternmost tribes are found largely in , Tog Wajaale, and Gabiley amongst the Somali of Somaliland.[17][18][19] they are also found in Somalia.[20]


According to Mohammed Hassan The Afran Qallo are said to have descended from the Djibouti coastline namely namely Badda Fugug which is the traditional homeland of the Afran Qallo. Though the actually location of Fugug is unknown Many Oromos suggest that Fugug was located in Tadjoura north of Afran Qallo territory.[21][22]

Afran Qallo men from Harar in the 19th century.

Not much is known about the ancestor of the Afran Qallo, Qallo himself is said to have probably lived before the 11th century as there are mentions of the Galla in the Eastern Ethiopian and North western Somalian plateau before the 11th century. Qallo is said to have had 4 children Daga who had 3 sons, Ala who had 14 but two split apart, Babille who had 3, and, Oborra 4.[21] Qallo's oldest son was Babille,[citation needed] and his father was Barentu his brothers are Ittu , Humbana, Karrayu, Dhumuga and Maaca.[23][24] [25] Qallo was the second born of Barento after Dhumuga (ancestor of the respective Arusi, and Northern Showa clans.[26] According to some Oromo traditions Qallo was born in the territory east of the anniya which is the country of the Ogaden. His descendants can be found in the north eastern showan Highlands, the Awash valley [27] the Hararghe province, southern As well as central Somalia, and Western Somaliland.

The Afran Qallo Hararghe are devout Muslims [28][29] and have been since the 13th century.[5] During the 18th and 19th centuries Harari Amirs sent out sheikhs to the Afran Qallo to teach the Afran Qallo more knowledgeable things about Islam. the population of the Oromo Hararghe (Afran Qallo) is estimated to be 7,500,000.[10]

Today the Afran Qallo are Muslims who practise sedentary agriculture[30] which they probably adopted from their Harari neigbours in the 16th century. However the Afran Qallo don't claim to have adopted "agriculture" as a whole from hararis, and adopted minor things like the harari tools etc.

The Afran Qallo dialect is a unique dialect compared to other oromos surrounding them such as the Ittu and Anniya and are not the same, The Afran Qallo who border the Somalis and Harari speak a dialect of Oromo that is heavily influenced by the Harari, Somali, and Arabs who live amongst them.[31]

Social-political-economic syestem[edit]

During the Harar-era the Afran Qallo who lived 30 miles beyond Harar were ruled by the Raba dori [32] system. The Raba was the ruler of the whole of the Afran Qallo the sheikh was the leader of his tribe and the Abba fugug was the war general. The Raba dori had two main seats one in oda bultum which is located in Gelemso[33] and one In Watar.[31] The Ituu,Anniya, and Afran Qallo are known to have gathered around the Oda Bultum[34] every 8 years, but this has stopped for more then a century.[35]

By the late 18th and early 19th century the Afran Qallo surrounding Harar were ruled by defacto rulers which were appointed as rulers by the Emir's of Harar.[36] The Dori was chosen (elected) out of the elders, and were crowned in watar some 20 miles east of Dire dawa. The Dori was passed down through the Heera Gosa (Law and tradition of the tribe).[37] The Abba fugug (Main war General/ ruler of his own tribe) ruled in Gara Mulata where his seat was. The sheikh was also considered to have to highest respect amongst the Oromo. The Jarso,and Babille were ruled by the Abban similar to the Issa Somali. The Abban is said to Have controlled caravan routes[38], and taxed the people passing through Oromo territory.[39] The Abban also protected (ruled) the Somali country.[40] by the 19th century Oromo took control of the Harar-Berbera trade route.[41] The Nole's who inhabit the territory between Harar and Gildesaa were ruled by the Waday.[42] The Raba dori political system was destroyed by the Harari's[37] in the early 19th century however it still did manage to live on till 1887. The last Raba was Bakhar Warre a cheif of the Oromo, and critical leader at the battle Battle of Chelenqo.[43][44]


Adopting one from another tribe is very common amongst the Oromo and is a culture practised all around in the Horn of Africa. One example of Guddifacha in the Afran Qallo is the Hawiye Babille clan who inhabit the area between the Ogaden, and Mogadishu. According to some Hawiye elders they were actually not Oromo, and were Somali. They state that Babille had adopted Hawiye, and gave him his daughter to marry. Whilst there are many who claim Oromo origin amongst the Ogaden, and Babille.[citation needed] Another example of Guddifacha is the Gurgure clan which no one knows for certain there origin. There origin has been disputed ever since 1991 when Oromo lands were given to the Somali region. According to the Gurgura them selfs the Gurgura became brothers of the Nole when a war broke out between them and the neighbouring Ala, Babille, and Ittu tribes the latter not being of Afran Qallo origin. The Gurgura were losing badly so they asked the Nole for help whom they saw as their kinsmen for help. The Nole helped the Gurgura, and managed to push their rivals southward. Ever since then the Gurgura have apparently peacefully lived with the Nole, and were adopted by them (Moggasa). But according to a majority of Gurguras in the Dire Dawa region they are, and always have been Oromos and openly admit that they only started Claiming Somali Origin after 1991.[13] The Oromo do not just assimilate whole ethnic groups, or large clans as said by others, the adoption of one is only is taken into practise if one...

  • Child that lost a parent due to a war or becomes a orphan .
  • Child is thrown on the street by parents and has no one to look for them.
  • Someone who has done great things for the Oromo community, but himself also agreeing to becoming a Oromo.
  • joining Ilma gosa or being adopted into the clan out of your own will.


Early History[edit]

The Afran Qallo are known to be one of the most ancient clans amongst the Oromos and are attributed to multiple Caves which according to archaeologist are thousands of years old. Such are Malko Balo which in the Central Hararghe Dialect translates to Vast river. though river in the most Eastern Hararghe dialect can also be called as Galan, or Laga. Other Caves attributed to the Oromo[45] in the Afran qallo country is the ancient Laga oda Caves located south West of the Dire Dawa region. The cave contains multiple ancient drawings of ancient Afran Qallo spearmen.[46] Laga oda gets its name from the surrounding Oromo population is called Laga Oda due to its riverside location and the sacred Oromo trees the "Oda" surrounding the cave.[47] other ancient Caves is a cave in Laga gafra which is in the territory of the Werra Galan Ala, this cave was discovered in 1971 by Brakumper, and Pavel according to them the rock painting in the Caves are domestic animals that can be found in the Harar region.[48] Though the actuall painters are un known some suggest that they were Harla which according to the Afran Qallo were the ancient forefathers of the Oromo, and People who lived there before them. ancient Hararghe Oromo Caves can be found all over The Hararghe aana and were all probably Afran Qallo.[49]


the first direct mention of Afran Qallo subclans was in the 11th century C.E when Abadir Umar ar-Rida came to the Harar plateau from Hejaz to teach Islam to the locals with his companions. A contemporary of Abadir Ali seid was sent to preach to to Ittu Oromo of Galemso, and his sons Al fifi, and Aw Nugus preached Islam in the territory of the Nole, and Jarso. Abadir himself stayed in the vicinity of Harar and converted/ruled many Ala, Noles,Harlas, and Somalis.[5][50] According to Brakumper on one occasion Ali Fifi commonly known by the Afran Qallo Ali fifi Bala Fifi (Ali fifi take away misfortune) sent his daughter to fetch water, instead of fetching water her father had asked she had spent her time playing with a young man, after hearing this Ali fifi cursed them and they both turned into rocks, after striking a spear in the rock a spring emerged which was later known as the Burqa River[51] the modern border between the Afran Qallo and the Ittu Oromo.[52] today the Burqa River can be found in the country of the Oborra Afran Qallo who Burton describes to have no contact with Harar whatsoever.[53] though the Afran Qallo are mainly concentrated in the Hararghe highlands, small numbers of them are scattered in the territories now known as Ogaden, and Somaliland. The first mentions of the Oromos in Somaliland is when Sheikh Isaaq a relative of Prophet Muhammed entered the Somali peninsula, and intermarried with the local Oromo tribes in the area, Winter records that at the arrival of Sheikh Isaaq Berbera was being ruled by its respected Oromo ruler Sultan Harrireh.[54] I.M Lewis states that in the 12th century a priest known as Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn otherwise known as Aw Barkhadle came to Somaliland to teach Islam and Arabic, Yusuf bin Ahmed is said to have defeated the Oromos near Dakkar[55] which is also believed to be his resting place.[56] I.M Lewis also states that later on in the 13th century Amir Umar of Walasma Is said to have a struggle with the Oromo in Somaliland.[55] Cerulli suggest that due to constant pressure from migrating Isaaq,Darood, and Dir clans the eastern Oromo had started migrating from Somaliland in the 10th century and had fully completed their migration in the 15th century. However huntigford argues that the Oromo had only started migrating in the 12th century and had stopped by the 16th century. In this mass migration many Afran Qallo such as the Werra robleh,Wardiq[57],Reer Hinginle, Geri Kombe[58], and Obo were all of Galla origin but assimilated into the immigrant Somali Tribes thus the oromos scattered amongst the Somali adopted by other clans.[59] Evidence suggest that the Migration from Somaliland would have likely ended in the 13th century because according to manuscripts from Harar there were already established Oromo groups in the Ramis river by the 14th century.[60][61] The Ramis river flows through Hararghe, and ends in western Bale.

Another early direct mention of the Werra Qallo was during the time of Ahmed gurey, They are mentioned in the Futuh al habasha as the Werra Qallo of Dawaro.[62][63] The Futuh Al Habash mentioned multiple Afran Qallo tribes such as the Gurgura[64] Who are a tribe of the Nole Daga, and the Geri Kombe a subclan of the Daga Jarso and Qallo Babille tribe.

During the Abyssinian-Adal War many Oromo lives and Oromo lands were lost to the Christian and Muslim forces, Darrell Bates states that the Oromo had watched the struggle between the Abyssinians and the Muslims, and were waiting in their wings for opportunities to exact revenge, and take back their stolen lands from the Muslims and Christians.[65] in this re Conquest the Akisho Qallo Barentu along with the Karrayu had managed to take Back there stolen lands and penetrate deep into the Awash. Mohammed Hassen states that by the reign of Kilole (1538-43) the Akisho were already living in Dawaro[66] alongwith the Ittu and Humbana. Dawaro is described by Huntigford as a region in between Harar, and the Shabelle which is probably the Erer River the current territory inhabited by the Akisho (Obborra today). In the 1540s the Barentu Oromo Akisho were able to drive a large Ethiopian force led under Adal Maqrab out of Dawaro, Mohammed Hassen describes this as the first major Oromo victory over Christian forcers. In the 1550s the Akisho, Karrayu and Warra Daya who were ruled by the Gada Michele are said to have destroyed a force led by Nur ibn Mujahid, and pushed his forcers back to Harar at Hazalo which according according Mohammed Hassen was in the territory of the Afar. According to Bahrey they had been no such slaughter ever in Ethiopian History. Nur ibn Mujahid had died not long after but before his death completed his greatest achivement the Jugol (Joogala) walls of Harar isolating it from the Oromo, thus the Oromo were not able to assimilate any of the Oromo tribes. At the death of Nur the Adal sultanate broke apart into two new states the Sultanate of Aussa, and the Sultanate of Harar the latter being smaller, and isolated from the Oromos. The Oromo also broke into two parts the north eastern (probably the Akisho, and Karrayu) who inhabited the Afar, and the south east who inhabited Harar. The north Oromo continued to raid Aussa, and push the Somalis of the north east directly northwards, and managed to invade the Afar lands.[67] These wars probably ended when the Afar tribes united against the Harari, and Oromo tribes[68] fortunately for the Afar they were Victorious against the Harari warlords and they had established the Sultanate of Aussa. The Oromos south of the Northern Oromo possibly the Daga,Oborra,some Nole, and Ala's had joined the Sultanate. Nur was succeeded by his Abyssinian slave Uthman Al- Habashi, unlike his predecessor Uthman was not aggressive to the Oromos, and actually chose to befriend them. He allowed them to enter the trade market. In the ancient times the Ala,Oborra, and Humbana tribes enjoyed trade with the local Somali Tribes.[69]They also enjoyed control over trade routes, trade routes to Arusi went through Ala territory, and trade routes to Djibouti went through Nole territory.[70] The Jaarso, and Babille occupied trade routes to Jijiga, and similarly to their Somali neigbours were ruled by the Abbans who taxed people crossing into Oromo territory.

Notable people[edit]

  • Ali Birra 1950-2022 (Ali Mohammed also known as Ali Birra was a popular oromo artist and is described by some as the undisputed king of Oromo music, his father was from the Ala clan, and his mother was from the Daga clan.)[71]
  • Bakri Sapalo 1895-1980 ( Bakri was the son of Garad Uthman Oda of Nole Gurgura, he was the first man to write in Afaan Oromo and also invented the Oromo Qubee (Writing/Literature.)
  • Shantam Shubissa 1949- (Shantam Shubissa which translates to 50 the dancer is a popular Nole Gurgura artist, he is known for singing very popular songs in the Oromo language such as Tokomma and many more.)
  • Elemo Qiltu 1936-1974 (Elemo Qilto is described by the Afran Qallo as one of the most smartest and fierce Afran Qallo to ever live, as he fought Armies much larger then his and died a brave death, he is from Girawa with his father being from the Ala Werra Galan Areele tribe.)
  • Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa 1935-2013(Jaara Abaa Gadda was a Afran Qallo from the Ala Metta tribe, he is credited for establishing the Oromo Liberation Front, and Oromo Liberation Army[72].)
  • Orfo Jilo Biko 19th century (Orfo Jilo Biko later Umar Mohamed was the Raba, and later Sultan of all the Afran Qallo tribes. He successfully managed to subdue the Afran Qallo, and Anniya tribes in the late 19th Century. Along with his Ala kinsmen Kormoso, and Galmo Boru. He showed fierce bravery and resistance against the Ottomon Empire in their invasion of Harar, and after Ottomon occupation was restored to the seat).[37]
  • Ahmed Shide (Ahmed Shide belongs to the Gurre Oborra tribe which claim Somali origin).
  • Afran Qallo band 1960 (the Afran Qallo band was a very famous brand established in Mogadisbu and produced the "best ever Hararghe Music in history", The band was made up of Afran Qallo Members including Ali Birra[71], and many more.[73][74] )
  • Mume Ali early 20th century (Mume Ali was a well known Police captain in Harar, and served Harar during the early 20th century)
  • Malik Ambar was a Nole Oromo Sultan of the Ahmednagar sultanate in the early 17th century. The Birthplace of Malik born chapu waku is disputed as some historians claim he was born in Harar whilst others disagree, and state that he was born in Haramaya. Malik born Chapu was stripped from his family his name and his homeland. Malik had grown up In the house of a wealthy Arabian man, and due to his cunningness, and charm he was given the name Malik Ambar, later on in his life he had moved to the Decan With his master, and was later sold to another slave master, hes new slave master was a member of the court, and after his death Malik became a independent man starting his own army and walked up the ranks of social statuses society. Later one he became the defacto ruler of Ahmednegar, and built several cities.
  • Kadija bint .M 19th century ( Wife of the Amir of Harar , Muhammad ibn 'Ali 'Abd ash-Shakur Kadija was the daughter of a wealthy Ala Oromo man[75], and was the Mother of the late 'Abd Allah II ibn 'Ali 'Abd ash-Shakur, she was one of the most important figures in the Harari civil war, and was the one who planned his revolution.
  • Kormoso Galmo Boru 19th century (was the de facto ruler of Harar, and his power stretched to the Anniya, he was one of the Ala generals who supported Muhammad ibn 'Ali 'Abd ash-Shakur on his revolution to gain control over Harar.)
  • Ugaas Buux Gedid (the Ugaas of the Gurgura Nole in Dire Dawa.)
  • Muhammed/Mume Umar 1886-1972 (Muhammed son of Orfo Jilo Biko. He was the Garad of the Gara mulata province after the death of his father Orfo Jilo Biko[76], near the end of his life time he was interviewed by a certain Caulk in 1971.)
  • Abu Bakhar Warre ?-1887 was the last Raba of the Afran Qallo and hailed from the Nole clan. According to Afran Qallo traditions he was a major general at the battle of Chalenqo and was a martyr. He is said to have kept on fighting even when the Christian Abyssinian forcers had cut his leg off and showed great fierce resistance against Menelik's Showan forcers.[44]
  • Mooti Qorkii/Aacko Manooye (Duri Duri) was a mythological Afran Qallo queen who hailed from the Oborra Akisho tribe, during her reign women were given higher rights then men, and that the men had stayed in the house cleaning and doing chores,and the Women were the leaders of the nation. The Men of the kingdom gathered one day and planned to kill her by digging a large hole and burying her alive in broad daylight at a gathering of the Women leaders. When the Queen was being carried on her chariot by the Men they had purposely let go of the chariot when when had reached the hole, and the queen fell inside, after the events of Mooti Qorki the Afran Qallo were never ruled by a Women ruler.
  • Garad Adam Asahabiyye ?- before 1885 was from the Jarso warra Sayo tribe, and was the Garad of the Jarso/Gerhi[77] Oromos. At the arrival of the Egyptians in 1875 he was quick to aid his Oromo allies such as Kormose Orfo Jilo Biko, and Garad Jibrhil, the Jaarso describe Garad Adam as (Bulchaa Kha Samuu Qabu) one who has a brain and uses it they call him this because instead of continuing to wage war on the Egyptians who had weapons which the Oromo didnt he chose peace.[78] Garad Adam did not live up to 1885 because Egyptian chronicle notes that during the Egyptian occupation 1875-85 time span a Egyptian officer married his "orphaned" daughter.[79]
  • Galmo Boru ?-1875 was a Ala Abaado, and Gerhi Jarso elder, and noblemen who had heavily influenced the Ala tribes, he along with his grand son in law Muhammed Ali Mayu, and son Kormso was able to rule over the Afran Qallo tribes and was the defacto ruler of the territories ruled by the Emirate of Harar.
  • Sheikh Billisa[80] 1830-1998 was a famous war general, and shaykh in Hargeisa and was the most popular Oromo man, he is known for feeding people, and torturing them, he is also famously known in Mogadishu and Hargeisa for throwing away the large amounts of money Siad Barre, had given him, and striking him in a time period of where everyone feared Barre.
  • Gaal Gurey[81] was the last Oromo cheif of Jijiga in the 17th century. He had once ruled the wells of Jijiga but was defeated by Wiil Waal[82] Oromo king of Jijiga before being[83] defeated by the Somali forcers.[84]


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  • Caulk, R. A. (1977). "Harär Town and Its Neighbours in the Nineteenth Century". The Journal of African History. 18 (3): 369–386. ISSN 0021-8537
  • "The Oromo of Harerghe:". Bilisummaa Online.
  • Hassen, Mohammed (2015). The Oromo and the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia: 1300-1700. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 978-1-84701-117-6.
  • LEWIS, I. M. (1959). "The Galla in Northern Somaliland". Rassegna di Studi Etiopici. 15: 21–38. ISSN 0390-0096. JSTOR 41299539.
  • Abdurahman, Chala (2020). "Reconstructing the identities of Afran Qalo Oromo: A case of Babile Tribe a View of Recent Raiding Conflicts in Babile, Eastern Ethiopia". International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications (IJSRP). 10 (3): 9998. ISSN 2250-3153.
  • W.C Barker "Extract Report on the Probable Geographical Position of Harrar; With Some Information Relative to the Various Tribes in the Vicinity", Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 12 1842
  • First Footsteps in East Africa'', 1856; edited with an introduction and additional chapters by Gordon Waterfield (New York: Praeger, 1966)
  • Civil status documents from Harar under Egyptian Administration 1875-1885
  • Avishai Ben-Dror "Emirate, Egyptian, Ethiopian Colonial Experiences in the late 19th Century Harar". Syracuse University Press ISBN 978-1-84701-117-6

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