Annual Report: Somalia 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Somalia 2013

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Somali Republic

Head of state Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (replaced Sharif Sheikh Ahmed)

Head of government Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid (replaced Abdiweli Mohamed Ali)

Head of Somaliland Republic Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud

Armed conflict continued between pro-government forces, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Islamist armed group al-Shabab, in southern and central Somalia. Pro-government forces took control of a number of key towns from al-Shabab, including the port of Kismayo. Political transition ended the mandate of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). A new parliament was selected in August, a new president was appointed in September and a new prime minister in October. Thousands of civilians were killed, injured or displaced by armed conflict and generalized violence. Aid agency access remained constrained by fighting, insecurity and restrictions imposed by parties to the conflict. Eighteen journalists were killed; others were attacked, harassed and forced into exile. Humanitarian and human rights workers also remained targets for abuses. Armed groups continued to forcibly recruit people, including children, and to abduct, torture and unlawfully kill people. Serious human rights abuses, including war crimes, remained unpunished. In Somaliland, freedom of expression deteriorated, and one journalist was killed.

Background

The TFG and AMISOM remained in control of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. Clashes with al-Shabab continued throughout the year, but there were fewer reported incidents and civilian casualties. Al-Shabab lost control of a number of key towns, including Baidoa, Afgoye, Merka and Kismayo, but remained in control of large parts of the countryside. Insecurity remained high. Civilians were at risk of indiscriminate fire, direct targeting and suicide attacks.

In July, Kenyan troops were formally incorporated into AMISOM, following their intervention in October 2011. International support for government security forces and allied militias continued, despite their lack of accountability for ongoing, serious human rights abuses.

In July, the UN Monitoring Group highlighted continuous violations of Somalia arms embargoes.

In February, the UN declared an end to famine in Somalia, but warned that a humanitarian crisis remained. By the end of 2012, 31% of the population remained in food crisis and required assistance.

In August, the TFG mandate ended. The 20 August deadline set for the TFG to hand over power to a new, more representative government was delayed several times. The parliament was selected in August and a new president appointed in September. A group of 135 elders was chosen to form a National Constituent Assembly (NCA), which would select 275 new MPs and approve Somalia's new Constitution. The NCA approved the Constitution on 1 August. While it did not amend the document, it made a number of recommendations for the new parliament to consider. The public referendum required to approve the Constitution had not taken place by the end of the year. A Technical Selection Committee (TSC) supported the NCA in vetting prospective MPs. Candidates were assessed according to a range of criteria, including consideration of whether they faced allegations of human rights abuses. The High Court overturned the TSC's decision to reject 16 nominated MPs because they were alleged warlords. In September, parliament elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as President. He defeated the incumbent, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, in a run-off by 190-79 votes. In October, the President appointed Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid as Prime Minister. Parliament approved his nominated Cabinet of Ministers in November. It included Somalia's first woman Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In January, the state of Khatumo was created, claiming to consist of Sool, Sanag and Ayn regions, and claiming affiliation with the Mogadishu-based government. These regions are subject to disputes over control between Somaliland and Puntland. Clashes between Somaliland armed forces and militias allied to Khatumo state displaced thousands of people.

Abuses by parties to the armed conflict

Indiscriminate attacks