Luuq Ganaane One of the most important commercial and political centers for the Gedo region, about 410 kilometeres northwest of Mogadishu, 170 kilometers from Baidoa and 65 kilometeres from capital region of Garbaharrey. Luuq in in Somali language means a loop or an enclosure. The town is located on high land surrounded on three sides by the meandering Juba River, called Ganane by Luuq’s inhabitants, in the Juba valley.
The fascists built an asphalt road from Baidoa to Luuq, where in 1935 Italian colonial forces gathered to invade Ethiopia. General Rodolfo Graziani, the commander of the fronte sud, considered Luuq vital both for protecting the supply route from Dolow to Harar and for defending the security of the fronte Sud as a whole.
In addition to its strategic and historic importance, Luuq was the southern gateway to the Horn of Africa, from which all trade arived and departed, the crossroads between the commercial towns of northeastern Kenya, southern Ethiopia, and central Somalia and the meeting point where merchants exchaged goods.
The Jubba was navigable from the Ethiopian highlands to the Indian Ocean. Thus, in the 19th century, Omani Arabs traded with the merchants of Luuq. The Omani Arabs, from Zanzibar, and the Ethiopians, from the highlands of Ethiopia, both attempted to capture the city; later, the Ethiopian emperor Menelik II invaded in campaigns from 1892 to 1895, but the city successfully resisted his forces.
European explorers recognized how useful the river was for colonial penetration and domination. However, several early explorers were killed, among them the German Carl Claus Von der Decken (1865) and the Italian Vittorio Bottego (d. 1897), whose diaries were immediately published and used as guides for exploration and colonization.
Another Italian explorer, Ugo Ferrandi, lived in Luuq for 17 months and wrote many useful reports on the city and the surrounding region. Because of Luuq’s reputation, Germany, Britain, Italy, and Ethiopia competed for colonial dominance. Luuq is famous for its suuq(market), where people from all over the region with their different clothing and languages gathered to buy a great range of goods, from vegetables to gold and silver. The town is well laid out and is perhaps the earliest example of urban planning in Somalia. In addition to the royal residence and the merchants’ houses, there are residential quarters where the houses have no windows and are fenced with wooden gates.
Different parts of the town are designated for specific purposes, such as the slaughter of animals (Kawaan), schools(Dugsi), worship(Masjid), the courts (Maxkamad), the dead, that is, the cemetery(Xabaal), and finally, the farms (Beer). The town is exclusively Muslim, mostly from the Marehan clan, with the Gasaaraguse and Gobawein, their subjects, the second most numerous. The are mixed-race groups; Gallas, mostly from Ethiopia; and Swahilis from Zanzibar and the mainland coast of East African.
During the Italian colonial administration, Luuq was part of the Alta Giubba(Upper Jubba Region), but Mohamed Siad Barre, created a new regional entity called Gedo, so that Luuq become part of Gedo region. Indeed, from 1974 the nomadic Reer Hassan clan(a sub-clan of the Larger Marehan), settled in Luuq and drove out the original inhabitants,Share