Security situation Much need for action

A soldier of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on patrol in Mogadishu
A soldier of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on patrol in Mogadishu

The security situation in Somalia is precarious. Serious terrorist attacks and fighting between Somali security forces and combatants from the militant Islamist group al-Shabaab are both a frequent occurrence.

There is also armed conflict among Somali clan militias and security forces. The state does not have complete control over the numerous groups of municipal, regional and national security personnel.

In 2017, the central government agreed with the federal states to reform the security sector. However, at the end of 2021, the National Security Council, which is meant to initiate and support the implementation process, had still not met. The planned integration of regional security forces and of the numerous local clan militias into uniform state security structures has made scant progress.

Terrorist threat

Al-Shabaab is regarded as a regional branch of the terrorist organisation al-Qaeda. The movement was founded in the 2000s with the aim of establishing an Islamic state in Somalia. By 2011, al-Shabaab had taken control of more than half of Somalia’s territory, including the capital, Mogadishu. In recent years, the organisation has been pushed back, especially thanks to military operations by the African Union. However, it still controls areas in southern and central Somalia and it is also trying to expand its presence in the northern part of the country. Its attacks target security personnel and government buildings, but also hotels, markets and other public spaces.

Since 2007, the African Union has been deploying peace troops in Somalia under a UN mandate. On 1 April 2022, the ongoing peace mission AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) was replaced by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The new mission comprises military, police and civilian components, and is intended to support the Somali government in various areas, including fighting terrorism and establishing national security structures.

Marked progress on fighting piracy

There is increased danger off the coast of Somalia that ships will be hijacked by heavily armed pirates. However, thanks to international deployments, the number of attacks by pirates has fallen sharply.

In 2008, the European Union started its Operation ATALANTA. Naval ships from various EU nations have since been patrolling the waters off the coast of Somalia in order to protect civilian merchant vessels and ships carrying aid provided by the World Food Programme (WFP), and also in order to prevent illegal trading in weapons and drugs, and illegal fishing.

The German armed forces have also participated in this mission. Since piracy around the Horn of Africa has been significantly reduced, the mandate of the Bundeswehr was not extended in early 2022. The deployment ended on 30 April 2022.

As at: 16/08/2022