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Hobyo is located in Somalia
Location in Somalia
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Country  Somalia
Region Mudug
District Hobyo
 • Total 11,800
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

Hobyo (Somali: Hobyaa, Arabic: هبيا‎‎), also known as Obbia, is an ancient port city in the north-central Mudug region of Somalia.


Along with Mareeg, Hobyo developed as a coastal outpost of various Sultanates established by Somali pastoralists between the 15th and 19th centuries.[1]

The Sultanate of Hobyo's cavalry and fort.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the town came under the authority of the Sultanate of Hobyo established by Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid. Initially, Kenadid's goal was to seize control of the neighboring Majeerteen Sultanate (Migiurtinia), which was then ruled by his cousin Boqor (King) Osman Mahamuud. However, he was unsuccessful in this endeavor, and was eventually forced into exile in Yemen. A decade later, in the 1870s, Kenadid returned from the Arabian Peninsula with a band of Hadhrami musketeers and a group of devoted lieutenants. With their assistance, he managed to overpower the local Hawiye clans and establish the kingdom of Hobyo.[2]

In 1888, Sultan Kenadid entered into a treaty with Italy, making his kingdom a protectorate known as Italian Somaliland. His rival Boqor Osman would sign a similar agreement vis-a-vis his own Sultanate the following year. Both rulers had entered into the protectorate treaties to advance their own expansionist goals. Kenadid sought to use Italy's support in his ongoing power struggle with Boqor Osman over the Majeerteen Sultanate, as well as in a separate dispute with the Sultan of Zanzibar over an area to the north of Warsheikh. In signing the agreements, the rulers also hoped to exploit the rival objectives of the European imperial powers so as to more effectively assure the continued independence of their territories.[3]

Following independence in 1960, Hobyo was made the center of the official Hobyo District. It was later incorporated into the autonomous Galmudug administration, which was established in 2006.


Hobyo has a population of around 68,800 inhabitants.[4] The broader Hobyo District has a total population of 167,249 residents.[5] The city is primarily inhabited by people from the Somali ethnic group, with the Habar Gidir well-represented.


Hobyo has a small seaport.[6]

For air transportation, the city is served by the Obbia Airport.[7]

Notable residents

See also


  1. Lee V. Cassanelli, The shaping of Somali society: reconstructing the history of a pastoral people, 1600-1900, (University of Pennsylvania Press: 1982), p.75.
  2. Helen Chapin Metz, Somalia: a country study, (The Division: 1993), p.10.
  3. Issa-Salwe, Abdisalam M. (1996). The Collapse of the Somali State: The Impact of the Colonial Legacy. London: Haan Associates. pp. 34–35. ISBN 187420991X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Somalia City & Town Population. Tageo.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-15.
  5. "Regions, districts, and their populations: Somalia 2005 (draft)" (PDF). UNDP. Retrieved 21 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Istanbul conference on Somalia 21 – 23 May 2010 - Draft discussion paper for Round Table "Transport infrastructure"" (PDF). Government of Somalia. Retrieved 31 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Obbia Airport (CMO)". World Airport Codes. Retrieved 18 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>