In a small village named Fiinlow (south-west of Marka), a war campaign by a formidable Somali force was mounted close to 120 years ago. A village forever engraved in Somalia’s history, where over thousands of Somali warriors lost their lives resisting colonial rule against a well-armed colonial force. It was a campaign carefully coordinated with their northern Somali brothers, the Daraawiish headed by Maxamed Cabdulle Xasan.
The Italians initially built a heavy fortified fort in order to establish their colonial presence. A move strongly opposed by the Somali locals living in the vicinity. War drums were sounded and the operation to uproot the colonial force was spearheaded by two local Quran teachers: Macalin Kabtooli and Sheikh Abdi Gafle. The teachers had a modus operandi prior to confronting the invading force head-on. This involved reciting a shirib (form of poem) before marching straight on. Amongst their well-known ones are:
Fiinlow minaa la soo fariistay, Fallaar yaa finiiniyaa?
Now Fiinlow is occupied by colonials; who will hurl spears at them?
One of their troops would re-join with:
Fiinlow fadhigayga weeye, Fooldadow miyaan ka fiigayaa!
Fiinlow is my home. Why should I flee when strangers appear!
Another prominent war-cry, employed by the frenzied warriors was:
Reer Jannah waa jid galeen.
Reer Jahanama iska jooga.
Those who fight are bound for Heaven
Those who submit can stay in Hell
The resistance came to an end in 1908 when 1.500 well-equipped Italian colonial troops faced 2,000 Somali warriors armed with thrusting spears. The battle — also known as Dagaalkii Sabti iyo Axad (The Weekend Battle) — ended with the Italians defeating the Somalis decisively. Roughly 1,000 of these Somali warriors were killed or wounded. The Italians, boasting of their manifested victory renamed the site to ‘Vittorio d’Africa’ — African Victory.