Somalia + 3 more

Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea pursuant to Security Council resolution 2244 (2015): Somalia (S/2016/919)

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Letter dated 7 October 2016 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea addressed to the President of the Security Council

On behalf of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea, and in accordance with paragraph 32 of Security Council resolution 2244 (2015), I have the honour to transmit herewith the report on Somalia of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea.

In this connection, the Committee would appreciate it if the present letter and the report were brought to the attention of the members of the Security Council and issued as a document of the Council.

(Signed) Rafael Darío Ramírez Carreño
Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea

Letter dated 28 September 2016 from the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea addressed to the Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea

In accordance with paragraph 32 of Security Council resolution 2244 (2015), we have the honour to transmit herewith the report on Somalia of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea.

(Signed) Christophe Trajber
Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea

(Signed) Jay Bahadur
Armed groups expert

(Signed) Charles Cater
Natural resources expert

(Signed) Bogdan Chetreanu
Finance expert

(Signed) Déirdre Clancy
Humanitarian expert

(Signed) Tapani Holopainen
Finance expert

(Signed) Rufus Kalidheen
Arms expert

(Signed) James Smith
Regional expert

Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea pursuant to Security Council resolution 2244 (2015): Somalia


Vision 2016 established three widely accepted benchmarks for a successful political transition envisaged for Somalia as at September 2016: “one person, one vote” national elections, the completion of the federal state formation process and the adoption of a new constitution. At the time of writing, the format of the elections had been altered and the timing postponed; the federal state formation process had yet to incorporate the Hiran and Middle Shabelle regional state and resolve the status of the Banadir region; and the negotiation of a new constitution had been put on hold owing to more immediate electoral imperatives. Meanwhile, the international community and the Federal Government have prioritized keeping the electoral process on track and taken pains to emphasize incremental progress, even as the goalposts for what constitutes success have shifted. In contrast, the investigations of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea reveal an incomplete, fragmented transition process with adverse implications for peace and security, security sector reform, arms embargo implementation, humanitarian and human right issues, conflict financing and natural resource governance, and corruption.

Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin (Al-Shabaab) remains the most immediate threat to peace and security in Somalia. Contrary to prevailing narratives of successful counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts, the Monitoring Group assesses that the security situation has not improved in Somalia during the current mandate. Al-Shabaab has retained the operational capacity to launch large-scale attacks against African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) contingents, such as the offensive on 15 January 2016 against a Kenyan military company stationed at a forward operating base in El Adde, Gedo region. Al-Shabaab has also continued to launch complex attacks in Mogadishu; six attacks against hotels during the current mandate claimed a combined total of some 120 lives, including three parliamentarians and the Minister of Environment. A new rival faction of Al-Shabaab with about two dozen members has also emerged in the Golis mountains of Puntland, led by Sheikh Abdulqader Mu’min, and has pledged allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. In an apparent attempt to eliminate that faction, Al-Shabaab launched a failed amphibious incursion into Puntland on 13 March 2016, resulting in more than 300 members being killed in clashes with Puntland and Galmudug Interim Administration forces. Lastly, although Al-Shabaab has not successfully launched a major terrorist attack outside Somalia since the massacre at Garissa University College in Kenya on 2 April 2015, the Monitoring Group assesses that it retains both the capability to carry out another such attack and a self-proclaimed motive with regard to targeting countries contributing troops to AMISOM.

Although the Federal Government has committed itself to undertaking substantive security sector reform, continuing problems of corruption, mismanagement and financial constraints have compromised the effectiveness of the Somali National Army. The efforts to address the issue notwithstanding, the process of identifying and registering troops, including the elimination of so-called “ghost soldiers” on the payroll, remains incomplete. Investigations by the Monitoring Group have also revealed significant inconsistencies in accounting for the payment of salaries. The continuing lack of regular salary payments has contributed to an increase in withdrawals from strategic positions throughout southern and central Somalia and the subsequent, albeit temporary in some instances, return of Al-Shabaab. The Group’s investigations have also revealed the likely misappropriation of rations and supplies intended for soldiers through a contract between the Federal Government and a private company. Support provided to the military by Member States has also likely been subject to misappropriation, in particular when the goods have been provided in bulk and through third party contractors rather than directly to troops.

There have been several difficult challenges in implementing the arms embargo during the current mandate: a lack of compliance on the part of the Federal Government with reporting obligations, a lack of compliance by Member States when supporting Somali security sector institutions other than the Federal Government’s forces and the use of an improvised explosive device to target civil aviation. Although the Federal Government has improved some aspects of its compliance with reporting obligations regarding the partially lifted embargo, its reporting to the Security Council has been insufficient and it still lacks the institutional capacity to manage weapons and ammunition effectively. Calls by the Federal Government to fully lift the embargo are based on a false premise that the embargo constitutes an impediment to its importing of arms and ammunition; however, Member States have submitted advance notifications for more than 20,000 weapons and 13 million rounds of ammunition for the Federal Government’s forces since the partial lifting of the embargo in March 2013. Meanwhile, Member States have also increased their military support for regional forces that are not part of the Federal Government, but have persistently failed to comply with notification requirements, thus allowing weapons and ammunition transfers to those entities to flow de facto unchecked. This has undermined the embargo as a whole and reinforced trends towards an increasingly fragmented approach to the security sector. There has been an upsurge in maritime interdictions of illicit arms during the current mandate, with three seizures by the Combined Maritime Forces and one by a Member State. Lastly, the improvised explosive device attack on a Daallo Airlines flight from Mogadishu to Djibouti on 2 February 2016 indicates a substantial new threat to civil aviation within the region.

The obstruction of humanitarian assistance and violations of international humanitarian law affecting civilians have continued to be fundamental problems. Obstacles include a lack of humanitarian access stemming from Al-Shabaab economic blockades, attacks on humanitarian workers and the diversion and misappropriation of humanitarian aid. In extreme situations, small networks of individuals have so tightly controlled humanitarian operations through a monopoly on political power, finances and the use of force that they have in effect constituted a criminal cartel. Trends in violations of international humanitarian law suffered by civilians during the previous mandate were accentuated during the current mandate, especially in terms of the intensity and scope of Al-Shabaab attacks, violence against civilians by international forces (including as a result of the use of aerial weaponry) and the impact of armed conflict associated with political and inter-clan disputes frequently involving federal and regional forces and local militias. Targeted killings of civilians by Al-Shabaab included government officials, civil servants, parliamentarians, international agency staff, civil society activists and journalists. Furthermore, there was an overall increase in the number of verified instances of recruitment and use of child solders, in particular by Al-Shabaab before the group’s failed offensive in Puntland in March 2016. Lastly, armed conflict and insecurity internally displaced some 598,000 Somalis between 1 January 2015 and 30 June 2016, including numerous forced evictions from informal settlements in urban centres.

There have been some positive trends in terms of the implementation of the ban on charcoal and with regard to natural resource governance during the current mandate. As first observed by the Monitoring Group in late 2015, Al-Shabaab continued its strategic shift away from the charcoal trade, instead often attacking or jailing charcoal burners and traders within territory where it wields influence. There has also been improved enforcement of the charcoal ban by importing countries, in particular the United Arab Emirates, which had created an identifiable deterrent effect on charcoal exporters in Somalia as at May 2016. These two factors have contributed to a pattern of a declining volume of charcoal exports from Somalia compared with the previous few years. Nevertheless, the commercial networks that sustain charcoal exports from Somalia and imports into the United Arab Emirates remain in place, the Monitoring Group continues to receive reports of dhows with charcoal departing from Somalia and arriving in the United Arab Emirates and there are currently no effective barriers to prevent Al-Shabaab from reverting to systematically taxing the production and transport of charcoal. Al-Shabaab has also proved adept at offsetting declining charcoal revenue by the increased taxation of other natural resources and commodities, such as the illicit sugar trade, agricultural production in southern Somalia and livestock in central Somalia. In terms of natural resource governance, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has taken positive steps towards establishing a regulatory framework for the oil industry, including drafting a model production-sharing agreement for exploration and development contracts, but other challenges remain, such as creating viable implementing institutions and reaching a constitutional revenue-sharing agreement between the Federal Government and regional entities.

Although some steps have been taken towards improving the regulation of the financial sector, the Federal Government nonetheless lacks sufficient institutional capacity for effective implementation. Remittances from abroad continue to comprise a significant proportion of the Somali economy, with at least $1.2 billion sent through hawala companies in 2015. While remittances remain a crucial lifeline for many Somalis, in particular for people living in rural areas, the hawala companies do not have sufficient monitoring systems and due diligence procedures in place to ensure that the remittances do not finance terrorism. National mobile money services through telecommunications companies pose an analogous problem because they remain largely unregulated in Somalia, thus also providing an opportunity for use by Al-Shabaab. In an attempt to address these types of problems, the President signed an act to counter money laundering and terrorism financing in May 2016; however, the implementing bodies lack both financial resources and institutional capacity. More generally, the Monitoring Group assesses that the Federal Government currently lacks the ability to credibly implement targeted asset freezes imposed by the Security Council on individuals and entities in Somalia. Lastly, corruption remains a problem, including with regard to public contracts and in other areas such as the misappropriation of public land for private gain.

Sanctions have never been more relevant for assisting Somalia through a difficult dual process of conflict resolution and state formation: Al-Shabaab still constitutes an imminent threat to peace and security; the Somali security sector reform remains far from complete; the non-compliance by the Federal Government with the terms of the partial lifting of the arms embargo and a lack of Member State compliance with reporting obligations when supporting regional forces need to be addressed; the obstruction of humanitarian assistance and violations of international humanitarian law against civilians continue to plague Somalia; conflict financing from natural resources remains a significant problem and only initial steps have been taken towards establishing effective natural resource governance; and corruption remains a problem because nascent regulatory frameworks lack functional implementing institutions. In keeping with its mandate, the Monitoring Group has proposed 14 recommendations for the consideration of the Security Council to improve the effectiveness of sanctions design and implementation.