Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 20 November 2016

Action points based on findings

  • Maintain coordination mechanism to respond to the needs of survivors of landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW).
  • Support a survivors’ network to create sustainable services and outreach.
  • Address the extensive economic inclusion needs of survivors by providing work and training opportunities.

Victim assistance commitments

The Somali Republic is responsible for significant numbers of mine/ERW survivors and cluster munition victims, although the total number is unknown. Somalia has commitments to victim assistance as a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.


Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2015

3,148 mine/ERW casualties (1,249 killed; 1,552 injured; and 347 unknown)

Casualties in 2015

54 (2014: 84)

2015 casualties by outcome

34 injured; 20 killed (2014: 30 killed; 54 injured)

2015 casualties by device type

54 ERW


At least 54 mine/ERW casualties were recorded by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Somalia (excluding Somaliland) in 2015. One casualty was a soldier, the rest civilians. Of the total, 44 casualties (81%) were children, 13 girls and 31 boys. Of the adult casualties, two were women and the other eight men.[1] All incidents in 2015 were attributed to ERW. It was unclear if any of the casualties occurred as a result of cluster munitions or other explosive devices.

The 54 casualties recorded for 2015 is a 35% decrease in the casualties reported by the Monitor in 2014.

The Monitor identified 3,148 mine/ERW casualties in Somalia (excluding Somaliland) between 1999 and the end of 2015. Of these, 1,249 people were killed, 1,552 were injured, and for the remaining 347 casualties it was unknown if they survived their injuries. Differences between annual reported casualty statistics do not necessarily represent trends, due to the lack of accurate and consistent casualty data across the years.

Cluster munition casualties

The number of cluster munition casualties in Somalia is not known. In a 2014 statement to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Somalia recognized that there are cluster munition victims in Somalia living in severe conditions with mostly unmet needs.[2]

Victim Assistance

The Monitor identified at least 1,552 mine/ERW survivors from 1999 to the end of 2015.

Victim assistance in 2015

In 2015, survivors in Somalia continued to lack adequate emergency and ongoing healthcare, employment, and training and education opportunities.[3] For most mine/ERW survivors and other persons with disabilities, services remain unavailable or inaccessible. The Independent Expert on Human Rights, in his report on Somalia, expressed concern about the situation of persons with disabilities and reported that he “was informed by representatives of civil society that persons with disabilities did not receive any support from the Government or the international community.”[4]

Assessing victim assistance needs

No baseline information on the prevalence and circumstances of persons with disabilities, including mine/ERW survivors, exists in Somalia. The UN Security Council has mandated the establishment of a civilian casualty tracking system in response to reports that the majority of persons with disabilities in Somalia are disabled as a result of the conflict.[5]

The Somalia Coalition to Ban Landmines (SOCBAL) conducted a survey of 850 mine/ERW survivors in eight internally displaced persons’ (IDPs) camps in Mogadishu in collaboration with the Institute for Education for Disabled People (IEDP) in July 2013.[6] The majority of survivors and their families in Mogadishu live in such camps.[7]


Overall disability coordination was lacking in 2015. The lack of coordination was further complicated by the ending of a close partnership of several years between SOCBAL and the International Education Development Program (IEDP).

In May 2014, UNMAS held the first ever inclusive multi-stakeholder Victim Assistance and Disability Working Group meeting in Mogadishu.[8] The Working Group was intended to meet quarterly, but no meeting has taken place since the initial meeting in May 2014.

The Horn of Africa Disability Forum (HADF) hosted a celebration of the International Day of Mine Action and Awareness in April 2016 calling on the government and the international community to fulfill the victim assistance mandate and on the Somali Explosive Management Authority (SEMA) to uphold its responsibilities as the national victim assistance focal point.[9]

As of 1 October 2016, Somalia had not submitted a Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report for calendar years 2013, 2014, or 2015, nor has Somalia provided its initial report for the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which was due on 31 August 2016. Previously, it provided detailed information on victim assistance and the existing lack of planning and services in Form J of its initial Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report, covering the period to March 2013.[10] Somalia did not make any statements on victim assistance at the Mine Ban Treaty Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties in 2015.

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Emergency and continuing medical care

Ongoing armed violence and conflict continued to erode the minimal health resources available.In 2015, the ICRC supported only four hospitals, compared to eight in 2014, and in the course of the year, those four hospitals served fewer war-wounded persons than the eight ICRC-supported hospitals had served in the first nine months of 2014.

Physical rehabilitation including prosthetics

The Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS)-run rehabilitation and orthopedic centers in Mogadishu and Galkayo (in Puntland) provide physical rehabilitation services, including prosthetics for amputees and people with other physical disabilities resulting from conflict. In 2015, the Norwegian Red Cross Society signed a three-year agreement to provide ongoing support to the SRCS centers.[11]

IEDP and SOCBAL reported that the availability of rehabilitation services decreased in 2015 due to the absence of funding and coordination.[12]

Social and economic inclusion

The IEDP provided technical and vocational training for persons with disabilities including mine/ERW survivors; training including tailoring, small machine repair, and henna applications. Unfortunately, none of the persons who participated in the trainings were able to obtain employment due to a lack of start-up capital for investment.[13] IEDP also provided inclusive education opportunities for children with disabilities,[14] but less than 1% of children with disabilities attend school of any kind.[15]

Psychological assistance

Psychosocial support is extremely limited in Somalia with the Mogadishu Memorial Hospital serving as the only formal provider of such services and reaching only a few dozen individuals.[16]

Laws and policies

In October 2015, Somalia’s Federal Cabinet unanimously approved the Persons with Disabilities bill, which is intended to eliminate all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities and to improve their living standards.[17]

In December 2015, Somalia’s Minister of Internal Security announced that the Prime Minister of Somalia had “ratified” the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but as of 1 October 2016, no ratification or accession instruments had been deposited with the UN.

[1] Data provided by email from Dahir Abdirahman, Somalia Campaign to Ban Landmines (SOCBAL), 23 March 2016.

[2] Statement of Somalia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, 3 September 2014.

[3] Email from Dahir Abdirahman, SOCBAL, 13 March 2016; and email from Abdullahi Osman, Institute for Education for Disabled People (IEDP), 1 April 2016.

[4] Human Rights Council, “Report of the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia,” 15 September 2016.

[5] Amnesty International, “Somalia: Prioritise Protection for People with Disabilities,” 12 March 2015, p. 3.

[6] The survey was conducted in eight of the 16 districts of Mogadishu: Karaan, Xamar Weyne, Waberi, Wardhiigleey, Howl Wadaag, Dayniile, Wadajir Xamar, and Jadiid.

[7] SOCBAL, “Mogadishu Landmine/ERW Victims Survey 14–28 July, 2013: Summary Report,” 2013.

[9] Horn of Africa Disability Forum, “International Victim Assistance Day Report 2016,” undated.

[11] 2,200 people were planned to receive support from the three SRCS centers in 2015; the Norwegian Red Cross only provided materials to two of the centers. ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD), “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 1 June 2016, p 13.

[12] Email from Dahir Abdirahman, SOCBAL, 13 March 2016; and email from Abdullahi Osman, IEDP, 1 April 2016.

[13] Email from Dahir Abdirahman, SOCBAL, 21 February 2015.

[14] Ibid.

[16] Email from Dahir Abdirahman, SOCBAL, 21 February 2015.

[17] Abdirahman A., “Somalia Cabinet Approves Persons with Disabilities Bill,” Horseed Media, 9 October 2015.