This COI Focus describes the security situation in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu, in particular for the period from 1 September 2016 to 1 June 2017. This document updates the COI Focus of 6 September 2016.
The security situation in Mogadishu varies depending on the district. According to various sources, certain metropolitan districts are considerably safer than others, whereas according to a study of the Austrian BFA in 2015, certain districts belonged to the most violent areas in the country and, according to the Danish migration service, there was hardly any government presence in these districts. According to ACLED, Banadir was the second most violent (but not the second most deadly) region in Africa in 2016. The capital is regularly hit by complex terror attacks, in particular on hotels and institutions that are popular with government officials, targeted attacks on persons connected to the government or international organisations, and bomb and mortar attacks. Although Al-Shabaab often claims responsibility, many acts of violence can also be attributed to other actors, according to various sources.
Exact statistics on civilian casualties are not available. In the first five months of 2017, the number of violent incidents and victims in Mogadishu has proportionately risen compared to 2015 and 2016, according to figures from ACLED. In the same period, the number of civilian casualties approaches the number of civilian casualties in 2016. UN sources also observe a rise in the violence against civilians.
According to various European asylum authorities, “being in the wrong place at the wrong time” is the greatest risk for the civilian population in Mogadishu. According to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, residents of the capital control to a large extent their individual safety. However, the Swedish Lifos thinks that the risk has increased in 2016 and notes, just like a number of Somalia experts, that Al-Shabaab is increasingly targeting civilians. On the other hand, the ECHR states in 2013 and 2015 that the human rights and security situation in Mogadishu, albeit fragile and unpredictable, does not imply a real risk of an act contrary to article 3 of the ECHR for every person in Mogadishu.
Over the past few years, ten thousands of refugees returned to Somalia from Yemen, where a conflict is raging, and from Kenya. However, according to HRW, returns from the refugee camp of Dadaab take place under severe pressure from the Kenyan government. Somalians also return from the diaspora, often because of business opportunities in Somalia. A returnee is recognized as such by the local population and has an interest in a local family and clan network.
Various sources signal positive developments in the capital, such as the economic revival and an improvement in basic social services such as health care and education, which are still rather limited. The large numbers of IDPs in Mogadishu on the other hand live in precarious circumstances and are very vulnerable to violence.
Law enforcement and security operations in Mogadishu are accompanied by abuses. Women and children are very vulnerable to sexual violence and other human rights violations. The humanitarian situation deteriorates drastically in 2016 and 2017 because of long-lasting drought and impending famine. More than half of the population needs humanitarian assistance.
After the fall of president Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia sank into chaos. Various authorities have taken power since then. Somaliland and Puntland became de facto states independent of Somalia in the 1990's. The general security situation in Somalia is largely determined by a long-term, ongoing, internal armed conflict which has resulted in many Somalis being uprooted or seeking refuge in other countries. In order to assess the need for international protection, the Commissioner General takes into account the fact that there are fundamental differences between the situations in Mogadishu, Central and Southern Somalia on the one hand, and the situation in Somaliland and Puntland on the other.