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Sultan Olol Diinle (Somali: Suldaan Olol Diinle) was the last sultan who ruled at Kelafo (Qalaafe in Somali) as a sultan of the Ajuran (or Ajuuraan) Somali clan lineage to rule an independent kingdom.

Historical Context

The Ajuran clan, under the Gareen Dynasty, had once ruled a powerful Imamate in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia centered at Kelafo. Following the peace agreements between Ethiopia and Italy in 1896, Ethiopia was granted the Ogaden.

The Gareen empire had collapsed during the 16th century, and a slow decline had set in over the centuries, leading to the eventual demise of the Ajuran state during the 18th century and the end of strong central leadership amongst the Ajuran. Ajuran tribes lived and still live throughout Somali inhabited lands in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

According to some Ajuran traditions, Olol Diinle was related directly to the Gareen Dynasty, Olol Diinle carved a new Ajuran Sultanate out of the upper reaches of the Wadi Shabelle, centered at Kelafo, the traditional capital at the turn of the 20th century.

Olol Diinle and his sultanate became embroiled in the politics of the day, aligning himself with the Italian colonial authorities. In 1915, Sultan Olol Diinle of Kelafo, Sultan Ali Yusuf Keenadid of Hobyo, and the Italian Somaliland government attempted to dislodge the Darwiish forces of Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, who had conquered Beledweyne in their rapid advance southwards.As Olol Dinle He had the quality of leadership

Conflict with Ethiopia

The expansion of Ethiopian control deep into the Ogaden during the 1920s led to the capture of Kelafo, leaving Olol Diinle with a very small patch of territory on the Ethiopian side of the border between Ferfer and Kelafo. This tiny patch of land along the Shabelle River was strategically critical however, as any invasion of Ethiopia from central or southern Somaliland would have to go through this area. Sultan Orfa was placed in control of Kelafo, but Olol Diinle's attacks against Ethiopian forces were so serious that Ethiopian government intervention was required to avoid famine along the Shabelle.[1]

In recognition of Italy's alliance with Olol Diinle, he was dubbed the "Sultan of Sciavelli (Shabelle)" in the early 1930s. Olol Diinle was only too happy to receive Italian aid against Ethiopia, as his father remained in an Ethiopian prison and the Ethiopian flag flew above his people's ancestral capital of Kelafo. Ethiopia took to supporting Omar Samatar's raids into Italian Somaliland, the former general of the Sultanate of Hobyo seeking a similar goal as that of Olol Diinle in that he sought to reinstate Majerteen clan rule in Hobyo.

In 1931, the Dejazmach ("Commander of the Gate") of Harar, Gebremariam, to whom the Ogaden had been assigned, attacked and destroyed Olol Diinle's fortress at Mustahil and menaced the Italian Rezidenza at Beledweyne, though Gebremariam avoided armed confrontation and withdrew.[2]

To prevent further raids by Olol Diinle, a large force under Balambaras ("Commander of the Fortress") Afawarq Walda Samayat was deployed in Kelafo from Jigjiga in 1933, as Olol Diinle's forces of roughly a thousand Dubat cavalry had grown to pose a serious threat to Ethiopian control of the Shabelle River area.

During the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Olol Diinle's forces along with the Italians under then-Colonel Luigi Frusci invaded Ethiopia from Hiraan, and attacked the forces of Dejazmach Beine Merid (also spelled Beyene Merid) at Goba[1].


  1. ^ "Local History in Ethiopia" (pdf) The Nordic Africa Institute website
  2. ^ Mockler, Anthony (2003) [1984]. Haile Selassie's War. New York: Olive Branch. ISBN 1-56656-473-5.  


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