Somalia. According to countryaah, the current population of Somalia is 15,893,233. The fight against the militant Islamist movement al-Shabab continued during the year. One of the most notable attacks the militia committed was the January attack on one of the African Union bases in southern Somalia when more than 60 Kenyan soldiers were killed.
In the same month, 20 people were killed when a popular restaurant in the capital Mogadishu suffered a terror attack. Another 40 people fell victim to attacks in Mogadishu and Baidoa in February. In February, al-Shabab also expelled AU troops and took control of the port city of Marka, southwest of Mogadishu. In March, the Islamists entered the city of Garad in Puntland and in October the city of Halgan in central Somalia after Ethiopia withdrew its forces from there.
US warplanes and drones, for their part, attacked Islamist bases and killed up to 150 militia members in March. In June, Mohamed Kuno was killed, who in April 2015 led the attack on the university in the Kenyan city of Garissa. In the same raid, three other high-ranking al-Shabab leaders and another 15 militia members were killed. In April, a reporter who previously worked at Radio Andalus controlled by al-Shabab was executed. He was accused of helping Islamists murder five Somali journalists in 2007-11. In May, two men were sentenced to life imprisonment for an attack on an airplane in February and eight other people were given shorter prison sentences for involvement in the same act.
The bloody attacks continued during the year and al-Shabab also threatened to step up its activity after the elections were announced. The announcement of the upcoming elections was made in July and the elections were scheduled to be held in September – October. For various reasons, the elections to Parliament were postponed until November but could be held in stages in November. The OAG reported on widespread corruption and was supported by information published by the BBC on its website. The presidential election, which was appointed by Parliament, was postponed several times and could never be carried out during the year.
- Abbreviation Finder: Check to see how the 3-letter abbreviation of SOM stands for the nation of Somalia in geography.
Despite the violence, a regional summit with the heads of state from Somalia, Uganda, Kenya and Djibouti as well as the Prime Minister from Ethiopia could be held in Mogadishu in September for the first time since 1991. In September, a sudden ban was imposed on the import of the drug khat by flight from Kenya. Before the ban, an estimated 15 freight plan with khat came daily to Mogadishu. In September, the Kenyan authorities and the UN Refugee Commission (UNHCR) were criticized by the human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) for dealing with Somali refugees who were tempted to leave the huge Dabaab refugee camp in Kenya. According to the report, many broke out of the camp for fear of being forced to do so later without receiving the compensation promised.
In November, fighting broke out between militia forces from the autonomous regions of Puntland and Galmudug in the city of Gaalkacyo, which is on the border between the regions. According to thereligionfaqs, the dispute concerned new buildings in the city. After several food shortages during the year, a large number of aid organizations in November warned of a famine disaster of the same magnitude as that which Somalia suffered in 2011. Like then, the situation with insufficient rainfall was aggravated by the ongoing violence.
The government presents a new election plan
The federal government in Mogadishu presents a new election plan, which, however, has not been approved by the opposition. According to the plan, the election to the upper house of parliament will take place between 31 December and 6 February, while the indirect election to the lower house, the House of Commons, will take place from 7 January. The Speaker of the House of Commons, Mohamed Mursal, has previously said that the current parliament will remain in office until a new one is appointed, despite the fact that its mandate expires on 28 December. Previous governments have acted in a similar way in connection with delays in the 2012 and 2016/2017 elections.
Conflicts delay Somalia’s indirect parliamentary elections
The indirect parliamentary elections that were due to begin on December 1 have not yet begun due to conflicts between the federal government in Mogadishu and several states. This means that it is uncertain whether both chambers of parliament will be able to hold presidential elections as planned on 8 February 2021. According to a September agreement, each of the 275 members of the lower house, the House of Commons, will be appointed by clan-based electoral colleges with 101 members. while the upper house members are to be elected by the state assemblies.
At least 16 people have been killed in a suicide bombing in Galkayo
At least 16 people have been killed in a suicide bombing in the town of Galkayo, about 600 km north of Mogadishu. At least three senior soldiers are killed in the act, which is being carried out on the day Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble is on his way to the city. However, most of the victims are civilians. The militant slam group al-Shabaab assumes the act.
Somalia breaks diplomatic ties with Kenya
Somalia breaks diplomatic ties with Kenya. It comes after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta received Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi in Nairobi and promised to maintain good ” bilateral ” relations. Somaliland declared itself an independent state in 1991, but has not been recognized by the outside world. The Mogadishu government still sees Somaliland as part of Somalia. In November, Somalia recalled its ambassador from Kenya and expelled the Kenyan ambassador to Somalia after accusations that Nairobi was interfering in Somali politics (see November 2020). It is uncertain how this will affect Kenya’s participation in the African Union, the AU’s participation in the Amisom peacekeeping force in Somalia.