Protection Cluster Update Weekly Report, 24th February 2012
This update provides information on the protection environment in Somalia, including apparent violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law as reported during the last two weeks through the IASC Somalia Protection Cluster monitoring systems. Incidents mentioned in this report are not exhaustive. They are intended to highlight credible reports to inform and prompt programming and advocacy initiatives by the humanitarian community and national authorities.
Military tensions increased in South and Central Somalia over the past two weeks, resulting in increased displacement of people, civilian casualties and arbitrary arrests of civilians by various warring parties.
Despite the AMISOM advances in the capital, sporadic fighting between Al Shabaab and AMISOM troops continued in Yaqshiid, Heliwa, Dherkenley, Karaan and Dayniile districts. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) continued its eviction operations of people, including a large number of protracted internally displaced persons (IDPs) in public buildings in Mogadishu, with approximately 7.500 IDPs being evicted from public buildings in Mogadishu since the beginning of February. The majority of those evicted arrived in Hodan and Wadajir districts of Mogadishu. The humanitarian community continued to express their concern to the authorities, while trying to find common and alternative ways to assist the evicted IDPs.
On 13 February, TFG supported by AMISOM forces announced their plan to increase their offensive in densely populated Al Shabaab controlled area of Afgooye district in Lower Juba region.1 The TFG warned the Afgooye residents to evacuate the area. The price of transportation rise as the fighting continued, leaving many families in Afgooye in despair while forcing many to flee by foot to safer areas. Reports also indicate that Al Shabaab authorities increased the fees for crossing the checkpoints for IDPs travelling to Mogadishu. Despite the increased costs of movement, the PMT data indicates that between 13 and 24 February over 22.000 people left Afgooye and arrived mainly in Mogadishu, as well in various districts of Lower Shabelle region.
On 22 February Baydhaba district of Bay region was taken over by the Ethiopian Defence Forces (ENDF) following Al Shabaab retreat from the district. Reports however indicate that Al Shabaab forces had planted a number of landmines prior to their departure from the town. The tensions in Baydhaba further resulted in over 6.800 people fleeing the district due to fear of retaliation. The majority of those displaced arrived in other districts of Bay and Banadir region.
Increased tensions in Al Shabaab controlled regions, as well as in Belet Weyne district of Hiraan region, resulted in arbitrary arrests by both by TFG and allied forces and Al Shabaab, of suspected members having links with enemy forces. Nevertheless, intensive recruitment by Al Shabaab of men and boys, particularly in Afgooye district, Bay and Lower Juba regions was also reported. Reports indicate that families were also told to marry off their daughters to Al Shabaab militias.
The latest influx of IDPs into Mogadishu from both Afgooye corridor and Bay region, at a time when the TFG is trying to re-build the public buildings may lead to additional tensions between the affected population due to increased competition over resources and land. Moreover, possible advancement by AMISOM troops in Lower Shabelle may result in residents being further displaced in Middle and Lower Juba regions.