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Bosaso Skyline
Bosaso is located in Somalia
Location of Bosaso in Somalia
Coordinates: 11°17′N 49°10′E / 11.283°N 49.167°E / 11.283; 49.167
Country  Somalia
Region Bari Region
 - Total 174,675
Time zone East Africa Time (UTC+3)

Bosaso (Somali: Boosaaso, Arabic: بوساسو‎) is a city in northern Somalia, which serves as the nation's main port. Situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden (11°17′0.70″N 49°10′52.10″E / 11.283528°N 49.181139°E / 11.283528; 49.181139) at the estuary of Baalade Wadi, it is the de facto capital of the Bari region (gobolka) in the autonomous Puntland macro-region.

Formerly known as Bender Qassim, Bosaso is sub-divided into nine districts: Baargaal, Qandala, Caluula, Iskushuban, Bandar Bayla, Waa'iye, Qardho and Galgala, as well as many other small hamlets such as Laag, the latter of which is situated at the mouth of Bosaso. As of August 2008, the city's population was estimated at about 300,000 (up from about 30,000 in the 1990s). While Bosaso is a melting pot, with citizens representing all the major clans in Somalia, most of its population is from the Harti confederation of Darod sub-clans. It also has a significant number of Meheri Arabs, also known as Arab (Maxamuud) Saalax.

A highway connects Bosaso to Garoowe (the capital of Puntland), Las Anod and Galkacyo, and from there to Mogadishu and Berbera. Bosaso has the second busiest port in Somalia, along with a major airport, Bender Qassim International Airport.

Relatively stable in comparison to the southern parts of Somalia,[1] Bosaso is a rapidly growing city. As with Hargeisa, Burao and Galkacayo, the brisk construction it has enjoyed of late has largely been financed by Somalis from the diaspora. Bosaso has grown exponentially since the civil war, as it has attracted people from all over the country. Economically, it is actually doing better now than it was prior to the war.

Bosaso is also a major port for boats carrying emigrants across the Gulf of Aden to settle (sometimes illegally) in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the other Persian Gulf states.[1] Khat is also shipped from the port.



The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea indicates that ancient Greek merchants sailed to Bosaso, providing notes about the strategic and geographical location of the current Bosaso area, which was known as Mosylon in ancient times.[2]

View of Bosaso

Bosaso was previously known as Bender Qassim, a name derived from a Somali trader of the same name who is said to have first settled in the area during the 14th century. Qassim is also believed to correspond with a mythical figure by the name of Kaptanleh, who had a camel called Bosa or Boosaas. The town was thus first called Bender Qassim after its founder ("Qassim's town"), then later dubbed Bosaso after its founder's trusted camel. This story is, however, purely speculative. Members from various Mora'ase subclans (and other Harti clans) and the Dubays subclan of the Warsangali also claim to have been the city's first settlers.

With the start of the Somali Civil War and the subsequent formation of Puntland in the mid-1990s, Bosaso has become the administrative and business capital of the northeastern regions of Somalia. In recent years, it has served as a refueling station for maritime transport between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf ports, and has also become an important commercial point of entry. The city's main port was constructed by the Siad Barre administration during the mid-1980s along with a two-lane highway for annual livestock shipments to the Middle East.


A residential area in Bosaso.

Bosaso is a city that is booming and is experiencing a period of rapid growth. Prior to the civil war, it had a population of under 50,000 inhabitants. Since the conflict, Somalis belonging to the Majerteen, Warsangali, Dhulbahante and other Harti Darod sub-clans began migrating back to their ancestral areas of Puntland. As a consequence of these migrations, Bosaso's population grew tenfold.

Due to the dramatic increase in the city's population, the local housing industry has become increasingly important.[3] Despite the rapid growth, the fishing industry still remains one of Bosaso's main sources of income.


Bosaso currently has more than 30 primary and secondary schools, including Imam Nawawi School (with over 3200 pupils), Boosaaso Public Secondary School (with over 2000 students), Sheikh Hamdan Secondary School (approximately 800 students), Alnajeh and Garisa. East Africa University along with Bosaso College[4] serve higher education needs, as does the Puntland Nursing Institute. UNCTAD, SIBA and Sunshine also provide post-secondary education. The Sam Greathouse School of Modern Technology (SG-SMT) has been working with local governments to construct a large scale dial-up network linking Bosaso to the northern Somali cities of Berbera and Las Anod.


Bosaso has white sandy beaches and clear sea water with a reef. Popular activities in the city include visiting Internet cafés and coffee shops where allegedly khat is served, although sales are illegal. There are also many hotels, the most famous being Hotel Juba and Tropical.[5]

In addition, Bosaso has its own television channel and studios (SBC TV and ETN TV), as well as radio stations such as Radio Midnimo.

The outskirts of the city feature mountains, lakes, and grasslands with wildlife and trees, while also offering a panoramic view of the city's skyline.

See also


  1. ^ a b Lucie Peytermann (September 12, 2009). "Somalia's port of Bosaso: bottleneck of East Africa's misery". Middle East Online. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  2. ^ Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Bosaso College". Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  5. ^ Hotel Juba

External links

Coordinates: 11°17′N 49°11′E / 11.283°N 49.183°E / 11.283; 49.183



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