Jowhar (Jowhar) is the capital town of the Shabeellaha Dhexe region of Somalia (located at ), and, along with Baidoa, used to form the joint administrative capital of the Transitional Federal Government, which has recently recaptured it from the Islamic Courts Union.
Italian mountaineer and nobleman Luigi Amedeo founded the eponymous Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi as an agricultural settlement experimenting with new cultivation techniques. In 1926 the colony comprised 16 villages, with 3,000 Somali and 200 Italian inhabitants.
Situated between the Darod and the Hawiye, the area is strategic. It is of great economic importance notably due to its banana, cotton and sugar plantations. From 1911 in Jowhar (ex-Giohar), Italians like the prince of Savoy, Luigi Amedeo, started to expropriate the local farmers and resettle them in specific villages. At Independence, the Italians went away and were not replaced by the new elites in charge because cattle trade and urban assets were more profitable at this time. With a "socialist" regime in 1969, such a fertile land was nationalized anyway and was only available to cultivators through fifty years leases. The government fixed the prices of agricultural products and could purchase up to 80% of the harvests. Under Co-operative Act n°70 of 1973, petty farmers were expropriated again to leave place for the State orientated Fanoole Rice Farm, Mogambo Irrigation Project and Juba Sugar Complex.6
Many historians accuse the Italian of forcing the local population into forced labor. He is accused of committing numerous acts of cruelty against the local people. As Somali interaction with the Italian colonizers increased, common understanding between the people of Jowhar region and the Italians ensued. In fact when the Italian explorer Luigi Amedeo was diagnosed with an imminent death, he refused to go back to Italy and spend the last days in his native country. Instead he chose and dead in Jowhar where he is still buried. The Italians, who appreciated the economic potential of the region, also built a railroad system that linked the cities of Mogadishu and Jowhar for 30 years.7
Jowhar only became the regional capital in the mid-1980s when Mogadishu was taken out of Shabeellaha Dhexe to form its own region, Banaadir.
In June 2006, the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism warlords lost Mogadishu after several months of sporadic fighting. The victorious Islamic Courts Union was reported to be approaching the town, but Union chairman Sheikh Sharif Ahmed stated that they had no intention of attacking Jowhar, unless attacked themselves. However, on 13 June 2006, the Union of Islamic Courts attacked the town from the north, clashing with the forces main local warlord Mohamed Dhere, quickly overcoming resistance and capturing the town.