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ጎዴ (Amharic)
Godey (Somali)
Gode is located in Ethiopia
Location within Ethiopia
Coordinates: 5°57′10″N 43°33′06″E / 5.952655°N 43.551579°E / 5.952655; 43.551579Coordinates: 5°57′10″N 43°33′06″E / 5.952655°N 43.551579°E / 5.952655; 43.551579
ZoneShabelle Zone Shabelle
 • Total579,782
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)
postal code
Area code(s)+251

Gode (Amharic: ጎዴ, Somali: Godey) is a city in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. Located in the Shabelle Zone, the city has a latitude and longitude of 5°57′N 43°27′E / 5.950°N 43.450°E / 5.950; 43.450. Gode was the capital of the Somali Region until 1995, when Jijiga became the capital for political reasons.

Gode Airport (IATA code GDE) has regular flights by Ethiopian Airlines. A bridge over the Shebelle River was built near Gode in 1968.


Before the start of the Ogaden War, Gode was garrisoned by the 5th Brigade of the 4th Division, distributed around the town in five military camps.[1] Gode's capture near the end of July 1977 by the Western Somali Liberation Front allowed the Somali side to consolidate their hold on the Ogaden, and concentrate their forces on an advance that led to the capture of Jijiga.[2] Although Gode remained in Somali hands at the end of the Ogaden War, Ethiopian units under Brigadier-General Demisse Bulto, commander of the First Revolutionary Army, recovered Gode as part of Operation Lash by November 1980, Soviet advisors and Cuban troops used the city as one of its three bases to successfully clear the rest of eastern Ethiopia of Somali troops by 3 December. However by this point many in the Somali army joined the liberation front (WSLF) and the conflict continued, albeit without international attention.[3]

According to the historical notes of the Somali Army, Gode was liberated on July 24, 1977 by the regular Somali Army under the leadership of the then General Abdullahi Ahmed Irro and his deputy Major Abdulkadir Koosaar.[4][5]

In spite of unreserved support by Cuba and the Soviet Union, it took nearly three years for the Ethiopian Army to gain full control of the Gode region long after the Somali Army has systematically withdrawn from the Southern Front in March 1978. The most remarkable strategic retreat of 6 Brigades of the Division 60 of Somalia's National Army involving massive movements of troops from Gode and Negeille in the Bali Sidamo Front.[3]

Gode has been at the center of several recent famines: one in 1981; the next in 1991, which required the UN High Commission for Refugees to airlift food to 80,000 people stranded outside the town; and most recently in 2000, which had caused Gode to swell to a reported size of 100,000 inhabitants. This led John Graham to grimly remark in the Addis Observer, "The main claims to fame of Gode are not inspiring - they are famine and war."[1]

The mayor of the city in 1994, Muktar Aden Gedden, was murdered on 26 July. For several weeks afterwards it was still not clear who was responsible, as no individual or groups had taken responsibility or had been accused.[6]


Based on 2010 figures from the Central Statistical Agency, Gode has an estimated total population of 1,520,342, of whom 788,235 were males and 732,089 were females.[7] Gode is the largest settlement in Gode woreda.

According to the 1997 national census, the city's total population was 45,755 of whom 26,081 were males and 19,674 were females. The ethnic breakdown was 99 % Gode primarily inhabited by the Ogaden clan of the Somali people,[5] especially Tolomoge Somali and 1 % non-somali Ethiopians. 11,044 inhabitants, or 24.1% of the population, were in school, of whom 2,766 were males and 1,563 were female; on the other hand, 35,478 or 77.5% were illiterate of whom 17,273 were male and 18,205 female.[8]


Gode has a hot desert climate (Köppen BWh) with uniformly very hot weather and scanty, extremely variable rainfall. The average annual temperature in Gode is 28.8 °C or 83.8 °F, and virtually every afternoon exceeds 32 °C or 89.6 °F, whilst mornings seldom fall below 20 °C or 68 °F.

There are two short wet seasons in April-May and October-November which provide 291 millimetres or 11.46 inches – about ninety percent of the mean annual rainfall of 325 millimetres or 12.80 inches. These wet seasons are caused by brief passages of the Intertropical Convergence Zone over the region; however, they are extremely erratic even for an arid region.[9] The wettest calendar year between 1967 and 1999 was 1967 with 754.2 millimetres (29.69 in) and the driest 1980 with 38.8 millimetres (1.53 in).[10]

Climate data for Gode
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 35.8
Average low °C (°F) 20.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 0
Source: Climate Data[11]


  1. ^ a b "Local History in Ethiopia" Archived May 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 21 November 2007)
  2. ^ I.M. Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, fourth edition (Oxford: James Currey, 2002), p. 233
  3. ^ a b Gebru Tareke, "From Lash to Red Star: The Pitfalls of Counter-Insurgency in Ethiopia, 1980-82", Journal of Modern African Studies, 40 (2002), p. 471
  4. ^ The Ogaden War (in Somali) http://www.mudugonline.com/Qoraalo/dagaalkii_ogaadeenya/d_o_casharkii45.htm Archived 2011-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Brothers-In-Arms "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2012-02-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Gode and Kalafo zones Region 5 (Somali), UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia report, dated 15 August 1994 (accessed 20 December 2008)
  7. ^ CSA 2005 National Statistics Archived November 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, Table B.4
  8. ^ The 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Somali Region, vol.1 Archived November 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Tables 2.3, 2.14, 3.4 and 3.7. The 1994 Ethiopian National Census was delayed in the Somali Region until September 1997.
  9. ^ Dewar, Robert E. and Wallis, James R; ‘Geographical patterning in interannual rainfall variability in the tropics and near tropics: An L-moments approach’; in Journal of Climate, 12; pp. 3457–3466
  10. ^ KNMI Climate Explorer; Time series plots per year (Jul-Jun) GODE GHCN v2 precipitation (all)
  11. ^ "Climate Data : Ethiopia". Retrieved 28 May 2013.