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Somalia: Situation Reports

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Mar 30, 2010 (100330)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

"The current military stalemate in southern Somalia is less a reflection of opposition strength than of the weakness of the Transitional Federal Government. Since the nomination of Sheikh Sharif to the presidency and the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from Somalia early in 2009, armed opposition groups -- Al-Shabaab in particular -- have lost their popular support base and been gravely weakened. ... Despite infusions of foreign training and assistance, government security forces remain ineffective, disorganized and corrupt." - UN Monitoring Group on Somalia, March 2010

UN Special Representative for Somalia Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah had a more upbeat judgment, highlighting the Transitional Federal Government's recent signature of an agreement with the Sufi Muslim group Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama'a. But he also stressed that the "status quo is not an option," and called for more outreach for peace and reconciliation (

This AfricaFocus Bulletin, available on the web, but not sent out by e-mail, contains a news story on an international consultation on public sector needs in Somalia, and the observations and conclusions from from the latest report of the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia. Full monitoring group reports are available at:

Two other AfricaFocus Bulletins released today on Somalia include USA/Somalia: Engage or Disengage? (
and Somalia: Somali-Led Peacemaking (

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Somalia, visit

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++

Somalia: Nation Needs More Humanitarian Aid, Less Military Help

Garowe Online (Garowe)

26 March 2010

Ugandan government said sending more peacekeepers to Somalia will not bring peace to the war-torn country unless the poor humanitarian conditions are improved.

Speaking at the Opening the Consultative Needs Assessment Workshop for the Somalia TFG organized by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in Kampala, Uganda's UPDF Commander of Land Forces, Lt. Gen Katumba Wamala said Somalis are likely to lose confidence on TFG if the services are not improved.

"The problem of Somalia cannot be solved by having thousands of guns in Mogadishu. We need a holistic approach to this conflict. People need water, they need drugs, and those in the camps need food," he said.

The three day consultative session which closes on Friday has brought together twenty five officials, including a minister and civil servants from the Office of the President, Office of the Prime Minister and six ministries, of the Somalia TFG whose consultations with officials from AMISOM is being facilitated by public sector development experts from African Union Member States.

On his part, The Deputy Special AU special envoy for Somalia Wafula Wamunyinyi said emphasisi on the need to build the capacity of the fragile UN-backed government in Mogadishu so that it can provide basic service to its devastated people.

"Normalcy can only return to Somalia if the government is able to provide basic services to the people and this can be made possible if there is a public service that is equipped with the necessary knowledge and is committed to service delivery. What we are doing here therefore is to help the TFG build that public service," he noted.

Uganda, one of two only Africa Union peacekeeping troops contributor to Somalia after Burundi, has some 2050 troops that make up the 5,100-strong AU peacekeeping force in Somalia.

The Horn of African country has been without a central government since 1991 when warlords toppled the regime of President Mohammed Siad Bare.

UN Monitoring Group on Somalia

Report March 10, 2010

United Nations S/2010/91

[Excerpts: Full report and earlier reports by the Monitoring Group available at

VIII. Observations and conclusions

272. The current military stalemate in southern Somalia is less a reflection of opposition strength than of the weakness of the Transitional Federal Government. Since the nomination of Sheikh Sharif to the presidency and the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from Somalia early in 2009, armed opposition groups -- Al-Shabaab in particular -- have lost their popular support base and been gravely weakened. Through necessity, they have also become more self-reliant. Where the Transitional Federal Government depends on foreign assistance and African Union forces for its survival, the opposition relies on "taxation", extortion, and a sophisticated international network of activists and propagandists to raise funds for the struggle. Foreign fighters still represent an important resource for Al-Shabaab, despite their small numbers. But the skills those foreigners once contributed to the fight are increasingly being acquired by Somalis.

273. The reluctance of the Transitional Federal Government to forge effective partnerships with potential local allies is the result of internal political caution rather than external pressures. Despite infusions of foreign training and assistance, government security forces remain ineffective, disorganized and corrupt -- a composite of independent militias loyal to senior government officials and military officers who profit from the business of war and resist their integration under a single command. As a result, external assistance to the Transitional Federal Government continues to function as a major loophole in the general and complete arms embargo, through which arms, ammunition, equipment and skills all flow to armed opposition groups. Although difficult to verify, it is increasingly plausible that the Transitional Federal Government represents a more important source of arms and ammunition than foreign sponsors for its adversaries. The Transitional Federal Government seeks to mobilize additional external resources, but the success of the military effort hinges far more on courting domestic allies, enhancing the cohesion of the security sector, improving discipline and reducing corruption.

274. Likewise, provision of counter-piracy support to the Puntland authorities is not only rewarding bad behaviour, but also risks passing on counter-piracy tactics and equipment to pirate militias themselves. The battle against piracy can most effectively be advanced by holding the current leaders of Puntland individually and collectively responsible for their complicity in the piracy phenomenon, and holding them to the same standard as neighbouring Somaliland, which pursues and prosecutes pirates with genuine vigour. The central Somali piracy networks operating from Xarardheere and Hobyo would of course continue to present a challenge, but a reliable counter-piracy ally in Puntland would be incalculably more valuable than committing more naval assets to the fight.

275. The suspension of WFP operations in much of southern Somalia, while dramatic, offers an opportunity to assert greater accountability and control over the food aid pipeline. The move must not become, however, simply a realignment of operations from Al-Shabaab to Hizbul Islam-controlled areas, such as Afgooye, which will reinforce the existing dynamics between WFP, its principal contractors and armed opposition groups. Rather, WFP should take immediate steps to dismantle the de facto cartel that has monopolized its Somali operations for so many years, and to distance itself from those business interests and individuals manifestly aligned with armed groups or criminal activities. A more diverse, transparent network of contractors will serve not only to enhance competition and possibly reduce costs but also to spread financial benefits more equitably through the Somali economy.

276. Lastly, the growing internationalization of the Somali conflict, especially through extremist infiltration of diaspora communities, poses a new and complex problem. Part of the solution requires the more vigorous pursuit of individual leaders, recruiters or fund-raisers using available domestic legislation, or designation for targeted measures under resolution 1844 (2008). A far greater challenge involves understanding why so many ethnic Somali youth have become so susceptible to radicalization and recruitment in their home countries, and beginning to address the root causes.

IX. Recommendations

277. The Monitoring Group recommends that the Security Council remind all United Nations agencies working in Somalia that they should provide all necessary assistance to the work of the Monitoring Group, including access to United Nations Humanitarian Air Service flights.

A. Threats to peace and security

278. The Monitoring Group recommends that:

(a) The Committee should proceed without further delay to designate individuals and entities proposed by the Monitoring Group or Member States for targeted measures under Security Council resolution 1844 (2008) and/or resolution 1907 (2009);

(b) Further to the provisions of resolutions 1844 (2008) and 1907 (2009), the Government of Eritrea should cease any subsidies to members of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia-Asmara and any other armed opposition groups currently based in Asmara, cancel and/or revoke any Eritrean passports issued to members of those groups and permit international inspection of any facilities alleged to be employed for training of armed groups from Somalia and the region;

(c) The European Union Governments take urgent steps to investigate incidents of immigration fraud and take measures to better coordinate consular functions among their embassies in East Africa. Recommended actions include information-sharing with respect to visa requests; and a ban should be placed on Somali ministers, members of parliament and officials who make fraudulent requests for travel.

B. Violations of the arms embargo

279. The Monitoring Group recommends that:

(a) The Committee should review the arms embargo exemption regime, taking into account the Monitoring Group's observations in the present report; specifically:

(i) Provisions regarding exemptions to the arms embargo should be clarified with respect to the responsibilities of international, regional and subregional organizations;

(ii) Private security companies operating in Somalia should be required to request exemptions for their operations from either their host government or the government that contracts them to provide services;

(iii) The Committee should request the Member States to bring to the attention of defence and security companies registered in their territories the existence of an arms embargo on Somalia and relevant Security Council resolutions;

(b) The Committee should exercise greater diligence in enforcing compliance with the arms embargo exemptions regime; specifically:

(i) The Chair should send letters on behalf of the Committee to all States cited above for substantive or technical violations of the arms embargo, namely, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Sudan, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates, reminding them of their responsibilities under relevant Security Council resolutions and bringing to their attention the possible consequences of non-compliance;

(ii) The Security Council should request AMISOM to inspect inventories of weapons and ammunition obtained in accordance with Council resolution 1772 (2007), paragraphs 11 (b) and 12, in order to ensure that all such weapons and ammunition are accounted for, and to share such information on a regular basis with the Monitoring Group;

(c) The Committee should remind Member States of their obligations under the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons, adopted by the General Assembly in its decision 60/519;

(d) The Security Council require States and international organizations that come into possession of weapons, ammunition or military material that is either on Somali territory or is destined for Somalia or has originated in Somalia to record the identifying characteristics of those items and report them to the Monitoring Group, in accordance with paragraph 6 of Council resolution 1425 (2002);

(e) The Security Council authorize international naval forces in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, including the United States-led Coalition Maritime Force (TF 151), the European Union Naval Force (Operation Atalanta -- TF 465) and the NATO maritime force (Operation Ocean Shield -- TF 508), to seize any weapons encountered in the course of their operations and to actively interdict arms trafficking in accordance with their capabilities;

(f) That the Committee act upon its decision to send a mission to the Horn of Africa region, led by the Chair, to raise awareness among Member States, international and regional organizations and the private sector with respect to the provisions of resolutions 1844 (2008) and 1907 (2009), specifically the expanded mandate of the Monitoring Group.

C. Piracy

280. The Monitoring Group recommends that:

(a) The Security Council request international naval forces in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, including the United States-led Coalition Maritime Force, the European Union Naval Force (Operation Atalanta) and the NATO maritime force (Operation Ocean Shield), to transmit any information in relation to seizures of weapons and pirate paraphernalia to the Monitoring Group;

(b) The Security Council call upon the Puntland authorities to demonstrate their sincerity in combating piracy by apprehending and surrendering for prosecution in foreign countries known pirate leaders, their supporters and financiers; to consider possible targeted measures against individual leaders who aid or abet the commission of acts of piracy or who benefit from the proceeds of piracy; and to prohibit the provision of security sector support to the Puntland authorities unless and until there is measurable improvement;

(c) The Security Council encourage Member States to provide capacitybuilding and training and other relevant forms of support for the operations of the Transitional Federal Government and the Somaliland coastguard forces, as well as other branches of the security services engaged in the fight against piracy;

(d) All Member States engaged in counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia consider deployment on vessels of trained military forensic teams or trained coastguard policemen to improve the collection, registration and preservation of evidence.

D. Obstruction of humanitarian assistance

281. The Monitoring Group recommends that:

(a) The Security Council urge the Secretary-General to initiate a genuinely independent investigation of the WFP Somalia country office, with authority to investigate contracting procedures and practice, including any discriminatory practices and preferential treatment, to undertake an accurate ground assessment of delivery operations, and to make recommendations for action;

(b) WFP revise its internal procedures to truly diversify the issuance of contracts, and to ensure meaningful oversight of the Somalia country office and transparency in the organizational adjustments it makes;

(c) The United Nations Somalia country team empower the new position of Risk Management Officer to conduct rigorous due diligence with regard to companies to be awarded major contracts and their subcontractors, with specific reference to who is actually in control of a business as opposed to who is formally presented as responsible;

(d) The United Nations Somalia country team, the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM and the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, with the Monitoring Group, develop a means of information-sharing regarding the Somali business community contracted by the United Nations, with due regard to social/clan, business and political affiliations;

(e) The United Nations Somalia country team, in consultation with the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM, the United Nations Political Office for Somalia and the Monitoring Group, should establish a database of businessmen, their associates and subcontractors involved in supporting or financing armed groups, or who have engaged in corrupt practices in the context of United Nations contracting. Financial audits are only one means of identifying corruption, and regular investigations beyond formal paperwork are necessary and feasible;

(f) The Department of Safety and Security of the Secretariat, in collaboration with the United Nations Somalia country team and the NGO Consortium, establish a database of individuals identified as perpetrators or facilitators of kidnapping of aid workers for the purposes of blacklisting or taking further action.

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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