- The present report, which is submitted pursuant to paragraph 25 of Security Council resolution 2358 (2017) and paragraph 55 of resolution 2372 (2017), provides information on the implementation of both resolutions, including on the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS). The report covers major developments in Somalia during the period from 23 August to 20 December 2017.
II. Political, security and economic overview
A. Political developments
- The reporting period was marked by strained relations between the Federal Government of Somalia and the federal member states. The Federal Government felt that the federal member states were taking bilateral decisions on Somalia’s foreign relations, which is the remit of the Federal Government, while the federal member states alleged that the Federal Government was taking decisions on key national issues without including them. Divergent positions over the Gulf crisis exacerbated tensions: Puntland, the Interim South-West Administration and the Galmudug Interim Administration publicly broke away from the position of neutrality declared by the Federal Government. Inadequate efforts to institutionalize the relationship and the absence of a mechanism to bring the Federal Government and the leaders of the federal member states together to consult and decide on key political issues rendered the relationship even more vulnerable to internal and external pressures.
In the HirShabelle Interim Administration, the regional assembly elected Mohamed Abdi Waare as the State President on 16 September. The HirShabelle regional assembly had impeached his predecessor, Ali Abdullahi Osoble, in August, citing poor performance and lack of consultation with the Assembly. President Waare was formally inaugurated on 22 October in a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, the presidents of all federal member states, my Special Representative for Somalia and representatives of the international community.
Meanwhile, tensions between the federal member states and the Federal Government escalated amid allegations of attempts to undermine the leaders of somefederal member states by elements within the Federal Government. The Galmudug Interim Administration and the Interim South-West Administration experienced political turbulence, including multiple motions in their state assemblies to impeach their respective presidents. In the Galmudug Interim Administration, conflicting positions by the President, Ahmed Duale Geele “Xaaf”, and his Vice-President, Arabey Hashi Abdi, on the Gulf crisis led to a political confrontation between the two. The leaders of both Galmudug and South-West state alleged that the attempts to unseat them were sponsored by individuals in the Federal Government. The Jubaland administration also made similar allegations.
The Presidents of the five federal member states held a consultative meeting in Kismaayo, Jubaland, from 8 to 10 October, without the presence of representatives of the Federal Government. The meeting focused on, among other issues, cooperation among the federal member states, the relationship between the Federal Government and the federal member states and the fight against Al-Shabaab. The presidents of the federal member states formed a “Council of Interstate Cooperation” and decided temporarily to suspend all cooperation with the Federal Government, including on legislative matters and the constitutional review process, pending resolution of key issues that had strained their relations with the Federal Government.
Following the meeting in Kismaayo, after the deadly Al-Shabaab attack in Mogadishu on 14 October, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” invited all leaders of the federal member states to a consultative meeting in Mogadishu on political and security developments. The consultative meeting was held from 29 October to 5 November, after which a communiqué was issued in which the participants agreed to step up security across the country, build a working relationship based on cooperation, consensus and trust and refrain from activities that could cause political instability. They also agreed to establish a technical committee to reach political consensus on key issues related to federalism within six months.
In “Somaliland” the long-delayed presidential elections took place on 13 November. Musa Bihi Abdi of the ruling Peace, Unity and Development Party (Kulmiye) was declared the winner, with 305,909 votes (55.19 per cent), against the candidate of the main opposition, the National Party (Waddani), who garnered 226,290 votes (40.73 per cent). The Waddani party raised objections that the election was biased in favour of the ruling party. Clan elders played a key role in resolving the disagreement and domestic and international observers, including a team from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, declared the voting to be fair and the outcome credible. The Supreme Court endorsed the result on 28 November.
B. Security developments
The overall security situation remained volatile across Somalia, including in Mogadishu, despite the operationalization of the Mogadishu stabilization force and strengthened security measures. In August, there were a number explosions caused by vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, mainly in the vicinity of Makka Al-Mukarama Road, an area frequented by Government officials, with some commercial establishments. There was a steady flow of low-intensity armed clashes, crime and terrorism-related incidents in September, with two large-scale attacks using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. Targeted assassinations continued in the city with a record number of 12 assassinations targeting businessmen, security personnel, civil servants and Government officials.
Following a brief lull in attacks using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in September, a suicide attack using such a device took place on 14 October at a major junction near the Safari Hotel in Mogadishu, followed by a second explosion some kilometres away. The explosion killed an estimated 512 people, with 230 injured and 70 missing, in what is being regarded as the deadliest terrorist attack in Somalia’s history. One national staff member of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was among those killed. The attack bore the signature of Al-Shabaab although the group has not claimed responsibility.
On 28 October, a complex attack targeted the Naasa Hablood 2 Hotel in Mogadishu, in which 23 people were killed, including the Minister of the Interior, Federalism and Reconciliation of the Interim South-West Administration, Madobe Mohamed Nunow. Thirty people sustained injuries in the attack, including one national staff member of the World Food Programme. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. The Director-General of the National Intelligence and Security Agency and the Commissioner of the Somali Police Force were removed from their posts following the attacks of 14 and 28 October.
In the south and central regions, Al-Shabaab continued to launch remote-controlled improvised explosive devices, ambushes and hit-and-run attacks, particularly against the forces of the Somali national army and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) travelling along the main supply routes in Bay, Bakool and the Shabelle regions. There were four large-scale Al-Shabaab attacks on towns and security installations in these regions, namely on Bulo Gaduud, Belet Xaawa, Ceel Waaq and Afgooye. An increase in the number of attacks by Al-Shabaab was also recorded along the Kenya-Somalia border region in the run-up to the rescheduled elections in Kenya on 26 October. At least eight attacks by Al-Shabaab were recorded during this period, compared to two in September and three in August.
Periodic armed encounters between Al-Shabaab and Somali security forces occurred in Puntland. Al-Shabaab fighters fired six mortar shells at the village of Af Urur in the Galgala mountains on 15 November near a camp of Puntland security forces. No injuries were reported in the incident. Movement and activity by members of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) was reported in and near Boosaaso, Puntland, and responsibility for a suicide attack outside a police station in Boosaaso on 4 October was claimed by ISIL. Reports of incoming fighters from Yemen to areas in Puntland were also received.
While the security situation remained relatively calm in “Somaliland” during the reporting period, there was some unrest before and after the presidential election of 13 November, mainly violent demonstrations in New Hargeysa, Erigavo, in the disputed Sanaag region, and in Burao, in “Somaliland”, by supporters of opposition parties.