Who are the Somali Bantus?
The Somali Bantu ( also Called Jareer, Gosha, Maimai and Mashunguli) are an ethnic minority
group in Somalia. Who primarily reside in the Southern part of the Country near the Juba and
Shabelle rivers. They are descendants of people from various Bantu ethnic groups, Whom were
captured from Southern Africa and sold into slavery in Somalia and other areas in Northeast Africa
and Asia as part of the 19th Century Arab slave trade.
Bantus are ethnically, physically, and culturally distinct from Somalis, and they have remained
marginalized ever since their arrival in Somalia. These Bantu are not to be confused with the
members of Swahili society in coastal towns, such as the Bajuni, who speak dialects of the Bantu
Somalia Civil War
In 1991 during the Somalia civil War, many Bantu were forced from their lands in the lower juba
River Valley, as militiamen from various Somali Clans took control of the area. Being visible
minorities and possessing little in the way of firearms, the Bantu were particularly vulnerable to
violence and looting by gun-toting militiamen!
To escape war and famine, tens of thousands of Bantus fled to refugee camps like Dadaab in
neighboring Kenya, with the most vowing never to return to Somalia. In 2002, the International
Organization for Immigration ( IOM ) moved a large number of Bantu refugees 1500 Km northwest
to Kakuma because it was safer to process them for resettlement further away from the Somali
Resettlement in the United States
In 1999, the United States classified the Bantu refugees from Somalia as a priority and the United
States Department of State first began what has been described as the most ambitious resettlement
plan ever from Africa, with thousands of Bantus were scheduled for resettlement in America in