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Published: February 21, 2014

Somalia: latest security incidents

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Some analysts looked at the 2012 elections in Somalia as a possible turning point for the country, and the first months afterwards saw a renewed sense of optimism. Unfortunately, that possibility has yet to materialise and the country continues to be plagued by security concerns. In fact, the UN has warned that a food crisis similar to that witnessed in 2011 is possible if current aid funding is not increased significantly. Operational difficulties are evident; in August 2013, MSF decided to pull out of Somalia due to safety reasons. Since then, the security situation has continued to deteriorate.

Political and Donor Support

On the political front the Turkish government, which until the end of 2013 was one of the largest donors to the Somali government and one of the few that gave direct cash contributions, has decided to remove direct budgetary support to Somalia. Instead, Turkey has now taken a greater interest in the states of Puntland and Somaliland, which have traditionally had less support from international donors. A recent academic paper argues that it has been this fact, namely the lack of external donors, that has promoted a greater degree of co-dependence between local elites and better institutions in the state of Somaliland.

Security Incidents

On the 13th of February, a car bomb detonated outside of the international airport in Mogadishu. Witnesses believe that the attack was aimed at a U.N. convoy passing by near the airport, which killed 5 civilians, injuring 12, including 4 Somali security forces. During the week of the 10th February, Somalia’s major telecommunications network Hormuud closed down its mobile internet service after receiving threats from Al-Shabaab. This situation compounded difficulties for humanitarian organisations trying to communicate with staff working in country, delaying donor reporting and feedback and raising the potential impact of security incidents by hampering the flow of information between field, country and HQ offices. Recent news also suggests that a spike in violence in the capital of the country has led a number of civilians to flee Mogadishu.

On the 21st of February, an attack on the presidential palace by a car bomb underscored the current lack of stability and security in the capital, and Al-Shabaab personnel have infiltrated the presidential compound, although at the time of writing no one from the government was injured and news reports say that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has already been contacted and remains safe.

 

SOURCES:

Somalia

Somali presidential palace: ‘Car bomb’ attack in Mogadishu, BBC, 21 February 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26288846

Somalia diverting arms to Al-Shabab, UN report claims, ABC News, 20 February 2014, http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/hundreds-somalias-capital-flee-clashes-22596399

UN warns of ‘grave humanitarian crisis’ in Somalia as more than 850,000 face starvation, The Independent, 19 February 2014, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/un-warns-of-grave-humanitarian-crisis-in-somalia-as-more-than-850000-face-starvation-9138630.html

Somaliland v Somalia: great new paper on an extraordinary ‘natural experiment’ in aid and governance, From Poverty to Power, 19 February 2014, http://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/somaliland-v-somalia-great-new-paper-on-an-extraordinary-natural-experiment-in-aid-and-governance/

Some aid groups affected by mobile Internet shutdown in Somalia, Devex, 18 February 2014, https://www.devex.com/en/news/some-aid-groups-affected-by-mobile-internet/82875

Somalia diverting arms to al-Shabab, UN report claims, BBC, 14 February 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26200015

Biggest donor Turkey stops direct budget support to Somalia, Reuters, 13 February 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/13/us-somalia-budget-turkey-idUSBREA1C1S320140213

Car Bomb Kills 5 Outside Airport in Somalia, NY Times, 13 February 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/14/world/africa/car-bomb-outside-airport-in-somalia.html?_r=0

Background Information:

Humanitarian Bulletin Somalia January 2014, ONCHA, 19 February 2014, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/OCHA%20Somalia%20Humanitarian%20Bulletin%20January%202014.pdf

Somalia: Puntland’s Punted Polls, International Crisis Group, 19 December 2013, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/horn-of-africa/somalia/b097-somalia-puntland-s-punted-polls.aspx

Political Settlements and State Formation: The Case of Somaliland, Developmental Leadership Program, December 2013, http://www.dlprog.org/ftp/download/Public%20Folder/Political%20Settlements%20and%20State%20Formation%20-%20the%20Case%20of%20Somaliland.pdf

Assessing Turkey’s Role in Somalia, International Crisis Group, 8 October 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/horn-of-africa/somalia/b092-assessing-turkeys-role-in-somalia.aspx

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