During the reporting period (1 January 2016 - 1 June 2017) security incidents took place in Puntland, Somaliland and the disputed territories. These incidents can be roughly subdivided into five categories: armed attacks and targeted killings, armed confrontation with al-Shabaab, violent actions by an ISIS offshoot (active in Puntland only), fighting between clan militias and armed confrontations between security services. The violence in the region sometimes causes civilian casualties and (temporary) displacement. According to several sources, all parties to the conflict commit serious crimes during combat operations and in the areas they control.
Several sources state that the security situation in the areas controlled by Somaliland is stable. Fighting between Khatumo clans and militias sometimes causes civilian casualties.
Regarding Puntland, the latest report of the UN Monitoring Group mentions that the activity of the IS offshoot led by Mu’min together with al-Shabaab’s violent reaction to the presence of this offshoot have a strong impact on the security situation. During the reporting period Al-Shabaab carried out its first bomb attack against a hotel in the region and also conducted a striking amphibious assault. Al-Shabaab was more active in Puntland during the reporting period, according to several sources.
In the second half of 2016, several actions by the ISIS offshoot led by Mu’min were reported, the most important being the attack in November and December 2016 on the coastal town of Qandala, which they briefly occupied. This ISIS offshoot started as a very small group (30 men) but managed to attract many new recruits in the space of one year, according to several sources. By the end of May 2017, it carried out its first suicide attack in Bosaso, causing civil casualties.
In the town of Galkayo, armed confrontations between Puntland and the GIA and clan militias caused a significant number of deaths during the reporting period. The fighting in Galkayo, which reached a peak in October and November 2016, caused a large number of people, including IDPs, to flee the town. According to HRW, both parties take little heed of civilians and their belongings. Since the conclusion of a truce in December 2016, open violence has decreased.
During the reporting period, several sources mentioned that the Puntland security services are seriously overstretched: they have to control the border with Central Somalia, keep under control the rebel clans in Sool and Sanaag, fight against armed groups in Galkayo (the GIA forces), fight in the Galgala Mountains against al-Shabaab and in Qandala against the Gallan militia.
Fighting between individuals or militias from different clans is causing civilian casualties in the disputed territories.
During the reporting period, armed violence (especially in Galkayo and during the brief capture of Qandala) and the worsening drought have caused population movements. In northern Somalia, the regions of Toghdeer, Sool and Sanaag are those worst hit by the drought.
Regarding conflict-related displacement, the UN Security Council noted a sharp increase in 2016, leading to concern for the security and protection of the IDPs, especially women and children.
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.