Xuseen Xassan: Somalian warroir who gave everything to save his people

Xuseen Xassan: Somalian warroir who gave everything to save his people

Hussein Hasan (Somali: Xuseen Xassan) was a well-known Somali poet and warrior of the Eidagale Isaaq clan, renowned for his military superiority and fiery temper.

Hussein belonged to the Eidagale’s Rer Guled branch and was the great grandson of the 1st Isaaq Sultan Guled Abdi.

War within the Eidagale

Tensions were high between the Rer Guled and another Eidagale subclan. Hussein pushed his Rer Guled to keep fighting. Hersi Absiyeh (Somali: Xirsi Cabsiye), a prominent member of the nearly related Rer Abdi Bari who were at odds with the Rer Guled, stood up to Hussein.

In reaction to the fighting, Sultan Deria Hassan, a member of the Rer Guled, called for a regular shir, or conference of subclans, where he would seek advice and make choices for the Eidagale.

Sultan Deria declared that blood payment or mag was adequate for both parties to exchange at the shir, with the Rer Guled losing six and the Abdi Bari losing six as well. Hussein rose and delivered a spirited gabay in opposition to the decision.

Sultan Deria reacted by dispatching Hussein to Berbera and then restarting the battle. Following the Sultan’s decision, Absiyeh was forced to sign a solemn oath not to recite a gabay, but he could not resist, especially while Hussein was away. Hussein returned, bemoaning the fact that he had missed the event, and that the two other men (Deria and Absiyeh) had won that day.

Hussein’s legendary horse Mangalool was the subject of poetry and envy across Somaliland, and many notables, both Somali and British, would inquire about how they could obtain the steed.

In 1893, Hussein accompanied Lord Delamere on a lion hunting excursion, where a lioness nearly killed him and his horse Mangalool in a chase from which they narrowly escaped. Hussein would refuse to place a price on Mangalool because he was practically impossible to capture after raids and made a lot of money robbing animals from his opponents.

In 1894, he ran across Lord Delamere again and told him about an astonishing tale that had happened to him in the previous year. Hussein had departed from his company after a successful raid on a large number of camels in order to avoid notice. Given that it was a very dry year, Mangalool had fainted from exhaustion and was unable to continue.

Hussein rushed his looted camels to the nearby wells and forced them to drink as much water as they could before returning to Mangalool. He then sacrificed a camel every 20 miles on his way back to the safe spring, and gave Mangalool water from the animals he murdered.

He stated that he would rather butcher 100 camels than lose his horse, and that with Mangalool, he could easily gain many more camels than he slaughtered now that he had his horse back.