Hundreds of civilians were killed or injured by indiscriminate attacks by all parties to the conflict. Mortar attacks decreased, but some reportedly caused civilian casualties. Shooting and in-fighting between different TFG units and militia, particularly in Mogadishu, killed and injured civilians. So did improvised explosive devices and grenades, increasingly set off by al-Shabab or their sympathizers. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for suicide attacks that killed or injured hundreds of people. Air strikes – some conducted by Kenya – also killed or injured civilians in southern and central Somalia.
- On 15 January, air strikes in Jilib killed at least seven people, including five children. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
- On 28 March, a mortar attack reportedly targeting pro-government militia landed in the Beerta Darawiishta camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Mogadishu, killing three people, including a three-year-old child. Eight others were reportedly seriously injured.
- In April, suicide attacks in Mogadishu and Baidoa killed at least 22 people. At least 10 people, including the two presidents of Somalia's Olympic Committee and its Football Association, were killed in an attack on the capital's newly reopened National Theatre. In Baidoa, an attack close to a busy market killed at least 12 people and wounded more than 30, including 10 journalists.
Civilians remained at risk of being directly targeted in attacks and killings in Mogadishu.
- On 9 November, Malaaq Isaac Uus, one of the traditional elders responsible for selecting new MPs, was shot dead outside a mosque in Waberi district, Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab factions continued to torture and unlawfully kill people they accused of spying or not conforming to their own interpretation of Islamic law. They killed people in public, including by stoning, and carried out amputations and floggings. They also imposed restrictive behavioural codes on women and men.
- Three men were reportedly shot and killed in public by al-Shabab members in Merka in July. They were accused of spying for the CIA and UK intelligence service MI6, and of being responsible for drone attacks.
- A woman was abducted and beheaded in August near Baidoa. Days before, al-Shabab had reportedly threatened her to stop her selling tea to government forces in the area.
Extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment were reportedly carried out in Baidoa and Beletweyne by militias allied to the government, often in response to ongoing insecurity and attacks by al-Shabab.
- In August, a deaf man was reportedly shot dead by Ethiopian troops in Baidoa, after he failed to stop when they asked him to.
Al-Shabab continued to forcibly recruit children before and during military operations. Most were sent to the front line. Militias affiliated to the government were also accused of continuing to recruit and use child soldiers.
In July, the TFG signed an action plan with the UN to end the recruitment and use of children in its own armed forces. Implementation of the plan had not started at the end of 2012, and children remained in their armed forces.
Freedom of expression
Somali journalists and media workers continued to be attacked, harassed and intimidated by parties to the conflict. At least 18 media workers were killed. In November, the President announced the creation of a taskforce to investigate the killings of journalists and identify the perpetrators. However, no one was appointed to the taskforce and no one had been held accountable at the end of 2012. The Puntland authorities also continued to arbitrarily restrict media freedom.