Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 04 August 2016

Summary: State Party Somalia ratified the convention on 30 September 2015 and it entered into force for the country on 1 March 2016. Somalia has participated in several meetings of the convention and voted in favor of a UN resolution on the convention in December 2015. It has condemned new use of the cluster munitions.

Somalia is not known to have used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions. Remnants of cluster munitions have been cleared from the country’s border areas. Kenya has denied an allegation that it used cluster munitions in Somalia in January 2016.


The Somali Republic signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 and ratified on 30 September 2015. The convention entered into force for Somalia on 1 March 2016.

It is not clear if Somalia intends to undertake national implementing legislation to enforce the convention’s provisions.

Its initial Article 7 transparency measures report is due by 31 August 2016.

On 7 December 2015, Somalia voted in favor of a resolution by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which urges states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.”[1]

Somalia attended one meeting of the Oslo Process that produced the convention (Vienna in December 2007).[2]

Somalia participated in the convention’s annual Meetings of States Parties in 2011–2012 and 2014, as well as intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2013–2014. It was invited to, but did not attend the First Review Conference of the convention in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015.

Somalia’s Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, deposited the country’s ratification instrument with the UN in New York in September 2015. The Somalia Coalition to Ban Landmines welcomed the ratification and called for clearance of cluster bomb remnants, particularly on border with Ethiopia.[3]

At the UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in October 2015, Somalia announced its ratification of the convention and expressed concern at the inability of cluster munitions to distinguish between civilians and combatants, as well as the dangers posed by their remnants, particularly unexploded submunitions.[4]

In September 2014, Somalia said that, “we denounce ongoing use of cluster munitions” in South Sudan and Syria, as well as reported cluster munition use in Ukraine.[5] Somalia has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria.[6]

Somalia is a party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

In September 2014, Somalia informed States Parties that it “is not a user, producer, or stockpiling state” of cluster munitions.[7]

Use allegation in Gedo region

Kenya, a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, has denied an allegation that it used cluster munitions in Somalia in 2016.[8] On 24 January 2016, a Somali media outlet reported an alleged cluster munition attack in the Gedo region of Somalia.[9] It published photographs reportedly taken at the site of the attack that show dead livestock and the remnants of United Kingdom (UK)-made BL-755 cluster bombs and their submunitions. According to the article, the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) carried out the attack against the non-state armed group (NSAG) al-Shabaab after Kenyan troops were forced to retreat from their base near the Somali border town of El Adde. 

The governor of Gedo region, Mohamed Abdi Kalil, accused the KDF of attacking the area around Bardere City “using illegal cluster bombs.”[10]

At the UN Security Council in February 2016, the United States said it was “deeply disturbed by allegations” that Kenya attacked civilian areas in Somalia in January 2016, including “claims that cluster munitions were deployed in violation of international law.”[11] It called for an investigation.

The UN investigated and reported to the Security Council on 9 May 2016, finding that:

In addition to civilian casualties, air strikes by the Kenyan military from 15 to 23 January in the Gedo region reportedly resulted in the killing of livestock and the destruction of water wells and houses. In this regard, allegations of cluster munitions were reported by the media and local communities. However, the Government of Kenya has officially denied them. Unexploded sub-munitions are reported to have been used by Al-Shabaab as improvised explosive devices during attacks. On 31 January, the Federal Government announced a committee to investigate the impact of the air strikes, but the committee has yet to begin its work.[12]

Thus, it is not possible at this time for the Monitor to confirm the use of cluster munitions in January 2016, or to identify the responsible party. The Monitor has previously reported that Kenya is not known to have used or stockpiled cluster munitions. The Monitor has seen no evidence that NSAGs in Somalia are using submunitions to create improvised explosive devices.

Previously, in 2013, mine clearance operators working in Somalia near the border with Ethiopia discovered cluster munition remnants believed to date from the 1977–1978 Ogaden War between Somalia and Ethiopia, but it is unclear who was responsible for the use.[13] Somalia has commented that the cluster munition contamination near the border with Ethiopia dates from the “border wars of 1978–1984,” but has not indicated who was responsible for the use.[14]

[1] Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,mplementation of the Convention on Cluste

[2] For details on Somalia’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 153.

[3] CMC, “Somalia Ratifies the Convention,” 1 October 2015.

[4] Statement of Somalia, UNGA First Committee for Disarmament and International Security, New York, 27 October 2015.

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

[6]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/69/189, 18 December 2014. Somalia voted in favor of similar resolutions on 15 May and 18 December 2013.

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

[8] UN Security Council, “Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia (S/2016/430),” 9 May 2016, p. 10, para. 51.

[9] “Losses shelling forces arrested Gedo and Juba,” Calanka Media, 24 January 2016. See also, “Sawirro: Kenya Oo Qaaday Weerar Culus Oo Aar goosi Ah!!,” Somalia Memo, 24 January 2016.

[10] Mohamed Abdi Kalil (@GovernorKalil), “#KDF jets pounded #Bardere city area southern #Gedo region, killing Civilians, destroying livestock Using illegal cluster bombs #Somalia @UN,” 5 March 2016, 8:02am. Tweet.

[11]Somalia - Security Council, 7626th meeting,” UN Web TV, 18 February 2016.

[12] UN Security Council, “Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia S/2016/430,” 9 May 2016, p. 10, para. 51.

[13] In April 2013, the director of the Somalia National Mine Action Authority (SNMAA) informed the Monitor that dozens of failed PTAB-2.5M and some AO-1SCh explosive submunitions were found within a 30-kilometer radius of the Somali border town of Dolow. It is not possible to determine definitively who was responsible for this cluster munition use. The Soviet Union supplied both sides in the Ogaden War, and foreign military forces known to have cluster munitions fought in support of Ethiopia, including the Soviet Union and Cuba. Email from Mohammed A. Ahmed, SNMAA, 17 April 2013. Photographs of the cluster munition remnants are available here.

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

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 20 October 2015


The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of the Somali Republic was created under a 2004 charter and occupies Somalia’s seat at the UN. Somalia acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 16 April 2012 and the treaty entered into force for the country on 1 October 2012. Somalia has not yet instituted national implementation measures, but stated that it is aware of its obligation and is “committed to doing so in the future and to reporting on these measures.”[1]

Somalia submitted its initial Article 7 report for the Mine Ban Treaty on 30 March 2013, but did not submit subsequent annual updates due on 30 April 2014 and 30 April 2015.

Somalia attended the Third Review Conference in Maputo, Mozambique in June 2014. Somalia did not attend the treaty’s intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva in June 2015.

Somalia ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 30 September 2015 and will become a state party in March 2016. Somalia is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Several Somali factions previously renounced use of antipersonnel mines by signing the Deed of Commitment, administered by Geneva Call.[2] Most of the signatories that are still active are allied to the TFG.[3]

The Somalia Coalition to Ban Landmines has continued to engage on the Mine Ban Treaty with government officials, as well as with the Somali National Mine Action Agency.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Somalia has stated that it has never had production facilities for antipersonnel mines within the country.[4] Somalia’s initial Article 7 report states that “large stocks are in the hands of former militias and private individuals.” The report also states that Somalia is “putting forth efforts to verify if in fact it holds antipersonnel mines in its stockpile.” No stockpiled mines have been destroyed since the convention came into force for Somalia.[5] Most factions involved in armed conflict in Somalia are believed to possess mines.[6] Previously, demobilizing militias have turned in mines.[7] Some mines have been turned in by armed groups for destruction in the past.[8]

No transfers of antipersonnel mines were reported during 2012 or early 2013. The Monitor has reported transfers in previous years.[9] No open sale of antipersonnel mines has been reported since 2009.[10]


There have been no allegations of use of antipersonnel mines by government forces in Somalia. Previously, reports of use by al-Shabaab insurgents had been alleged in several news reports, but the Monitor is unable to verify these reports.[11] Recent reports seen by the Monitor alleging landmine use by al-Shabaab appear to refer to command-detonated bombs rather than victim activated improvised explosive weapons.[12]

Non-state armed groups (NSAGs) use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in large numbers and media often refer to command-detonated IEDs and bombs as “landmines.”[13] Victim-activated mines and other explosive devices are prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty, but command-detonated mines and devices are not. Monitor analysis of media reports indicates that most, if not all, of the recovered explosive weapons and explosive attacks attributed to mines involve command-detonated or time-detonated bombs. In October 2011, TFG and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces discovered an IED-manufacturing facility in Mogadishu, after which UNMAS noted, “The presence of improvised pressure plates indicates that [al-Shabaab] intends to employ Victim Operated IEDs, against vehicles or dismounted troops.”[14]

In the past, antipersonnel mines were used by various factions in Somalia, but in recent years the Monitor has not been able to verify any reports of new use by any of the NSAGs operating in the country.

[1] Mine Ban Treaty Initial Article 7 Report (for the period 16 April 2012 to 30 March 2013), Section A (Somalia did not use the Article 7 report forms but submitted a report following the same format).

[2] Between 2002 and 2005, Geneva Call received signatures from 17 factions. See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 1,064. In August 2009, Geneva Call informed the Monitor that eight signatories were no longer active. Email from Nicolas Florquin, Program Officer, Geneva Call, 26 August 2009.

[3] Geneva Call, “Non-State Actor Mine Action and Compliance to the Deed of Commitment Banning Anti-Personnel Landmines, January 2008–June 2010,” 24 June 2010, p. 4.

[5] Ibid., Sections B and G.

[6] The former TFG Deputy Prime Minister told the Monitor in 2005 that he believed militias in Mogadishu alone held at least 10,000 antipersonnel mines. Interview with Hussein Mohamed Aideed, Deputy Prime Minister, in Geneva, 15 June 2005.

[7] Photographs of the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration program available on the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) website in July 2009 showed mines and improvised explosive devices. See AMISOM, “Pictures of some collected/surrendered Weapons and Ammunitions to AMISOM,” undated.

[8] See ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Somalia: Mine Ban Policy,” 28 June 2013.

[9] Between 2002 and 2006, the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia published a number of reports containing allegations of the transfer of antipersonnel and other mines from a number of countries, including States Parties Eritrea and Ethiopia, to various Somali combatants. See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, pp. 1,004–1,005; Landmine Monitor Report 2007, pp. 978–979; Landmine Monitor Report 2006, pp. 1,065–1,066; Landmine Monitor Report 2005, pp. 870–871; and Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1,112. In response to the claims by the UN Monitoring Group, the Presidents of the Seventh and Eighth Meetings of States Parties wrote to the chair of the group for clarification and further information, but did not receive responses.

[10] In June 2009, Reuters reported the continued sale of mines and other weapons at markets in Mogadishu. One arms dealer claimed to sell mines (type unspecified, but likely antivehicle) for approximately US$100 apiece. “Arms Trade-Dealers revel in Somali war business,” Reuters (Mogadishu), 9 June 2009; for details including sellers and markets identified by the UN Monitoring Group, see also Landmine Monitor Report 2008, pp. 1,003–1,005.

[11] See, “Landmine danger persists in Somalia,” UN IRIN (Mogadishu), 1 February 2013; and Majid Ahmed, “Somalia struggles to deal with threat of landmines and unexploded ordnance,” Sabahi, 8 August 2013.

[12] See, for example: “5 members of Al-Shabaab killed after land mine they were planting exploded,” Wacaal media, 23 March 2015; and “Three soldiers die in landmine explosion in Jubbaland military base,” Goobjoog News, 17 September 2015.

[13] According to a June 2011 UN Monitoring Group report, “Improvised explosive device technology in Somalia is relatively low-tech compared with other conflict arenas. The most common explosives used in attacks are TNT and RDX, which can be extracted from mortars and other high explosive artillery shells. More rudimentary improvised explosive devices include anti-tank mines and medium-to-high-caliber ammunition that can be altered for remote detonation. As for fragmentation improvised explosive devices, bomb makers lay 3-10 cm pieces of rebar, nuts and bolts, and ball bearings cast in resin on top of the explosive.” UN, Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea pursuant to Security Council resolution 1916 (2010), S/2011/433, 18 July 2011, p. 45, para. 138. The UN Monitoring Group found that antivehicle mines were modified for remote detonation and deployed as IEDs in Somalia, sometimes with additional metal objects (bolts, metal filings) welded to the casing to enhance the fragmentation effect. UN, “Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1853 (2008),” S/2010/91, 10 March 2010, p. 50, para. 174. See, for example, recovery of “landmines” by African Union forces in, Abdulkadir Khalif, “Amisom forces uncover buried explosives,” Daily Monitor, 19 December 2011; and “Somalia: Landmine Blast Rocks Ethiopian Convoy in Beledweyne, Central Region,” Shabelle Media Network, 14 May 2012.

[14] UN Security Council, “Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea pursuant to Security Council resolution 2002 (2011),” S/2012/545, 13 July 2012, para. 21, p. 167. Citing an unpublished UNMAS report, “Confirmed Find of Bomb Making Equipment – 12 October 2011,” UNMAS report, 13 October 2011.

Mine Action

Last updated: 25 November 2016

Contaminated by: landmines (extent of contamination unknown), cluster munitions (extent of contamination unknown), and other unexploded ordnance (UXO) (heavy, but extent unknown). 

Article 5 Deadline: 1 October 2022
(Unclear whether on track to meet deadline

Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 4 deadline: 1 March 2026
(Too soon to assess likelihood of compliance

(See separate mine action profile for Somaliland). 

New survey activities commenced along the Somali-Ethiopia border. However, further efforts are still needed to establish a baseline of remaining antipersonnel mine contamination. No land release of mined or cluster munition-contaminated areas was conducted in 2015. Approximately 42.4km2 of land contaminated by other UXO was released through battle area clearance (BAC). 

Recommendations for action

  • Greater priority should be accorded to survey, demining, and cluster munition clearance by the Somali Republic.
  • The Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database should be transferred to full national ownership under the Somalia Explosive Management Authority (SEMA) and efforts made to ensure transparency and accessibility of all mine action data for operators and other relevant stakeholders. Information management and coordination of mine action activities could also be improved through more effective dissemination of information electronically.
  • Continued efforts should be made to ensure reporting and recording of mine action data according to International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) land-release terminology.
  • Somalia should develop a resource-mobilization strategy and initiate policy dialogue with development partners on long-term support for mine action.

Mines and ERW Contamination (except cluster munition remnants, see below)

As a result of the Ethiopian-Somali wars in 1964 and 1977–1978 (also known as the Ogaden war), and more than 20 years of internal conflict, Somalia is significantly contaminated with mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW).

Contamination from mines and ERW exists across Somalia’s three major regions: southcentral Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu; the Federal State of Puntland, a semi-autonomous administration in the northeast; and Somaliland, a self-proclaimed, though unrecognized, state that operates autonomously in the northwest. (See separate mine action profile for Somaliland.)

Southcentral Somalia: No comprehensive estimates yet exist of mine and ERW contamination.[1] However, surveys completed in 2008 in Bakol, Bay, and Hiraan regions revealed that, of a total of 718 communities, around one in 10 was contaminated by mines and/or ERW.[2] Other contaminated areas lie along the border with Ethiopia, in Galguduud, Gedo, and Hiraan regions.[3] Non-technical survey initiated in 2015 identified more than 6km2 of mine contamination and 74 of 191 communities surveyed as impacted by mines and ERW, of which 13 reported an antipersonnel mine threat.[4] 

Puntland State Administration: Mine and ERW contamination was assessed during Phase 2 of a Landmine Impact Survey (LIS) implemented in the regions of Bari, Nugaal, and the northern part of Mudug in 2005.[5] The LIS identified 35 affected communities in 47 suspected hazardous areas (SHAs). It estimated that about 151,000 people—around 6% of the population of some 2.5 million—live in mine-affected communities.[6] Very little mine clearance has been conducted since the LIS was completed. According to Mines Advisory Group (MAG), the impact from mines is still unclear and further non-technical and technical survey is required to ensure the cost effectiveness and positive impact of future clearance.[7]

Insecure and poorly managed stockpiles of weapons and ammunition, as well as use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by non-state armed groups have a serious humanitarian impact in Somalia. The extent of the threat is not well known, except in Puntland, where a range of surveys have been carried out over the past decade.[8]

In 2015, the vast majority of deaths and injuries from explosive hazards in southcentral Somalia were caused by IEDs[9] (for further details, see the Casualties and victim assistance profile). 

The humanitarian imperative to address ERW contamination in Somalia is heightened significantly by the movement of large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to ongoing conflict in the country. In March 2015, it was estimated that 1.1 million Somalis, or one tenth of the population, were IDPs.[10] Contamination from mines and ERW in southcentral Somalia remains a particular threat.[11]

Cluster Munition Contamination

The extent of cluster munition contamination in Somalia is unknown, although cluster munition remnants have been found in southcentral Somalia and Puntland. In 2013, dozens of PTAB-2.5M submunitions and several AO-1SCh submunitions were found within a 30km radius of the town of Dolow on the Somali-Ethiopian border, in the southern Gedo region of southcentral Somalia. Cluster munition remnants were also identified around the town of Galdogob (also spelled Goldogob) in the Mudug province of Puntland. More contamination was expected to be found in southcentral Somalia’s Lower and Upper Juba regions. In June 2016, SEMA reported that two areas of an unknown size were suspected to contain cluster munition remnants in the Bakool region of southwest Somalia.

According to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the Ethiopian National Defense Forces used cluster munitions in clashes with Somali armed forces along the Somali-Ethiopian border during the 1977–1978 Ogaden War. The Soviet Union supplied both Ethiopia and Somalia with weapons during the conflict. PTAB-2.5 and AO-1Sch submunitions were produced by the Soviet Union on a large scale.

While the extent of cluster munition contamination along the Somali border with Ethiopia is not known, in 2014, Somalia claimed it posed an ongoing threat to the lives of nomadic people and their animals. 

Program Management

According to SEMA as of October 2016, mine action management in Somalia is “temporarily” divided into two geographical regions: Somalia (including Puntland) and Somaliland.[12] (See the separate mine action profile on Somaliland for further details.) SEMA is responsible for mine action in southcentral Somalia and Puntland.

SEMA reported that it maintains a presence across Somalia through its recently formed Federal State Members, the SEMA Puntland State Office, SEMA Galmudug State Office, SEMA Hiraan/Middle Shabelle State Office, SEMA South-West State Office, and SEMA Jubaland Office.[13] 

SEMA’s goal was to assume full responsibility for all explosive hazard coordination, regulation, and management by December 2015.[14] UNMAS reported that “significant steps” were made in late 2015 towards “the full transfer of responsibilities to a national authority” with Somalia’s Council of Ministers endorsing of SEMA’s legislative framework, policy, and budget, making it responsible for managing and coordinating all explosive hazards in Somalia.[15] 

SEMA developed a national mine action policy in 2015, aiming to develop state-level coordination mechanisms to support SEMA’s work and to create employment in local communities.[16] In June 2016, SEMA reported that its legislative framework, which had been endorsed by the Council of Ministers, was awaiting the approval of the Federal Parliament.[17] Due to the lack of parliamentary approval, however, SEMA did not receive funding from the government in 2016, nor did it receive any financial assistance from UNMAS since December 2015.[18]

In October 2016, SEMA reported that at the institutional level, SEMA had established consortiums in five of Somalia’s Federal Member states, which it said will work in partnership with NGOs operating in their areas of influence.[19] 

The SEMA Puntland State Office, formerly known as PMAC, was established in Garowe with UN Development Programme (UNDP) support in 1999. Since then, PMAC coordinated mine action with local and international partners, including Danish Demining Group (DDG) and MAG.[20] It runs the only police explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team in Puntland State Administration, which is responsible for collecting and destroying explosive ordnance. In June 2015, it requested assistance to increase its capacity and deploy three EOD teams in Bosasso, Galkayo, and Garowe.[21]

In 2015, UNMAS continued to support, train, and equip national police in EOD in Somalia and Somaliland.[22] In 2016, UNMAS reported it was developing a four-year plan for comprehensive police EOD support.[23] 

Strategic planning 

Mine action in Somalia since 2013 has been increasingly tied to implementation of the Somali Compact, and its priorities for government stabilization and development, infrastructure initiatives, and humanitarian assistance.[24] Focus is placed on national ownership of mine action and training of national police EOD capacity, as a source of employment for local people and former fighters, and to contribute to stabilization.[25]

In 2015, the Federal Government of Somalia’s Ministry of Internal Security and SEMA developed the “Badbaado Plan for Multi-Year Explosive Hazard Management,” in coordination with Federal State members, the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), and UNMAS. The plan’s overarching objective over the next “two to three years” is to support the Federal Government in fulfilling its obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, with a focus on national ownership through the institutional development of SEMA federal state entities, the training of national police EOD teams, and the creation of employment opportunities for local Somalis, including at-risk groups such as youths and former combatants, to undertake clearance operations in their own communities.[26] According to SEMA, the Badbaado Plan’s objectives for mine and ERW clearance in southcentral Somalia include areas “reported with cluster munition presence.”[27] A separate plan was developed for explosive hazard management by the police.[28] 

UNMAS’s Explosive Hazard Management Strategic Framework for Somalia for 2015–2019 (including Somaliland and Puntland), was also approved by SEMA and the Federal Government of Somalia in 2015.[29] The Framework specifically includes addressing the threat from cluster munition remnants through survey and clearance in its strategic objectives, alongside capacity building for SEMA.[30]


UNMAS has developed National Technical Standards and Guidelines (NTSGs) for Somalia that were used by implementers in 2015.[31] The NTSGs do not include specific guidance for cluster munition survey or clearance and SEMA stated in June 2016 that it did not have the capacity to revise the existing NTSG to include provisions specific to cluster munition remnants.[32]


In 2015, four international NGOs were operational in Somalia: DDG, HALO Trust, MAG, and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), as well as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), UNMAS, and the Ukrainian commercial operator Ukroboronservice.

In 2015, DDG did not conduct any mine or BAC operations, focusing instead on EOD and risk education.[33]

In the first half of 2015, HALO opened a new program in southcentral Somalia and began surveying along the Somali border with Ethiopia. The program employed 34 operations staff, primarily survey teams, and 44 support staff.[34]

In 2015, MAG continued its arms management and destruction (AMD) program across Somalia. It also carried out risk education in Puntland.[35] 

In 2014, NPA initiated a program in southcentral Somalia for survey, BAC, and capacity-building assistance to SEMA.[36] In 2015, NPA was operating in Mogadishu and its outskirts, within Banadir. It deployed three eight-strong multi-task teams (MTT).[37]

In 2015, AMISOM deployed 11 EOD teams. UNMAS deployed four MTTs in support of AMISOM to conduct survey, clearance, and risk education on three main supply routes connecting out of Mogadishu, along with nine community liaison officers to support AMISOM projects in nine regions in Somalia. Ten government police EOD teams were also deployed in Somalia.[38]

In 2015, UNMAS continued to contract the Ukroboronservice to undertake mine action-related tasks in southcentral Somalia. It deployed four survey teams in 2015 and in the first half of 2016.[39]

Quality management 

SEMA reported that it lacked the capacity to carry out external quality assurance (QA) or quality control (QC) activities in 2015. It stated that UNMAS’s QA/QC capacity was limited to ERW clearance activities and did not extend to mine clearance. It underlined as a matter of concern, that as of June 2016, mine clearance activities had been initiated under the Badbaado Plan but without a capacity for external quality management control for ongoing activities.[40]

HALO stated that while extensive QA was conducted by senior national operations staff on its survey teams’ activities in southcentral Somalia, international managers were unable to visit the field to conduct QA due to security concerns.[41] 

Information management 

SEMA has reported a number of improvements in mine action information management in 2015, including in staff training, data entry QA, and standardization of reporting forms. An upgraded version of IMSMA was installed, providing the opportunity for a review of historical data in the database and integrity and consistency checks. SEMA, though, has reported that it had not received training to use the IMSMA software.[42] As of October 2016, full responsibility for the management of the database had yet to be transferred from UNMAS to SEMA.[43]

NGO operators have noted that uncertainty as to who “owns” the IMSMA database is a significant concern. Despite plans to transfer data to SEMA for more than two years, SEMA and mine action operators still had only limited access to the database in 2015. Questions have also been raised in connection with the fact that, despite being a civilian asset, the IMSMA database was being used to record security-related data on IEDs; information that was deemed classified by AMISOM.[44]

Land Release (Mines)

Approximately 42.4km2 was released through BAC in Somalia in 2015.

No areas containing mines were released in Somalia in 2015; however 6km2 of area was confirmed as mined by survey. This compares to some 4.6km released by BAC in Somalia in 2014.[45]

No formal land release occurred in Puntland in 2015; operations consisted only of risk education and EOD spot tasks.[46]

Survey in 2015 

No comprehensive overview of SHAs exists in Somalia, and as of 2016, no nationwide survey had been conducted, mainly due to the security situation.[47] 

Both HALO Trust and NPA initiated survey activities in southcentral Somalia in 2015.[48] As of 31 December 2015, HALO reported identifying 6,052,744m2 of mine-contaminated areas in southern Somalia, including more than 75 minefields and one former battlefield, through non-technical survey.[49] It fielded nine non-technical survey teams along a 450km stretch of the Somali-Ethiopian border between Dhabad and Yeed in the second half of 2015 and the beginning of 2016.[50]

In the first half of 2015, NPA trained its MTTs to carry out survey activities in southcentral Somalia and began conducting systematic survey and clearance in the north of Banadir region, on the outskirts of Mogadishu, and along the Afgoye corridor.[51]

Clearance in 2015 

No antipersonnel mine clearance occurred in Somalia in 2015.

Land Release (Cluster Munition Remnants)

No survey or clearance of cluster munition remnants was conducted in 2015, and no cluster munition remnants were found.

Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Somalia is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 October 2022. 

In seeking to meet this deadline, Somalia must confront a number of challenges, not the least of which is the security situation in much of the country. It does not effectively control mine action operations in Somaliland, which are managed by the Somaliland Mine Action Center (SMAC) under the authority of the vice-president of Somaliland (see separate mine action profile for Somaliland).

In May 2016, HALO reported that it was not possible to accurately assess whether Somalia was on-track to meet its Article 5 deadline as insufficient non-technical survey had been carried out.[52] Likewise, NPA asserted it is too early to speculate on the likelihood of Somalia meeting its 2022 deadline, but noted that the Badbaado plan was an encouraging step forward, along with the increase in survey activities, which will provide greater clarity on the extent of the challenge remaining and the time required for completion of clearance.[53]

SEMA highlighted the need for international assistance, greater transparency on bilaterally funded projects, better coordination and information sharing between operators, SEMA, and its Federal State member offices, and ensuring sufficient capacity to conduct independent QA/QC activities as key areas of concern.[54]


The Monitor gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review supported and published by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), which conducted mine action research in 2016 and shared it with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

[1] Response to questionnaire by Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 27 April 2014; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for 16 April 2012–30 March 2013), Form C.

[2] UNMAS, “Annual Report 2011,” New York, August 2012, p. 68.

[3] Response to Monitor questionnaire from Klaus Ljoerring Pedersen, Danish Demining Group (DDG), 8 May 2012; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, (for 16 April 2012–30 March 2013), Form C.

[4] Email from Tom Griffiths, Regional Director North Africa, HALO Trust, 25 May 2016.

[5] Email from Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 October 2016; and Survey Action Center (SAC), “Landmine Impact Survey, Phase 2: Bari, Nugaal and Northern Mudug Regions,” 2005, p. 5. Phase 1 and Phase 3 of the LIS covered regions of Somaliland in 2003 and 2007 respectively.

[6] SAC, “Landmine Impact Survey, Phase 2: Bari, Nugaal and Northern Mudug Regions,” 2005, p. 5. Of the 35 communities, nine were categorized as “high impact” and nine as “medium impact”; eight sites were identified for spot-clearance tasking.

[7] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Homera Cheema, MAG, 28 April 2014.

[10] Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and Norwegian Refugee Council, “Somalia: Over a million IDPs need support for local solutions,” 18 March 2015, p. 1.

[11] Ibid., p. 5; and presentation by Kjell Ivar Breili, UNMAS, 18th International Meeting of Mine Action National Programme Directors and UN Advisors, Side event “Mine Action in Support of Stabilization in Somalia,” Geneva, 16 February 2015. Notes by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

[12] Email from Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 October 2016.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Response to questionnaire by Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 19 June 2015.

[15] UNMAS, “2016 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects, Somalia,” undated.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Email from Mohammed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 June 2016.

[18] Ibid., 14 October 2016; and from Terje Eldøen, NPA, 22 October 2016.

[19] Email from Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 October 2016.

[20] UNMAS, “UN-suggested Explosive Hazard Management Strategic Framework 2015–2019,” p. 9.

[21] Response to questionnaire by Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 19 June 2015.

[22] Email from Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 October 2016; and UNMAS, “UNMAS in Somalia,” updated February 2016; and UNMAS, “2016 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects, Somalia,” undated.

[23] Email from Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 October 2016; and UNMAS, “UNMAS in Somalia,” updated February 2016; and UNMAS, “2016 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects, Somalia,” undated.

[24] UNMAS, “2015 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects, Somalia,” undated; and UNMAS, “UN-suggested Explosive Hazard Management Strategic Framework 2015–2019,” undated, p. 6.

[25] UNMAS, “2015 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects, Somalia,” undated.

[26] “Badbaado Plan: Multi-Year Explosive Hazard Management proposal outlined by the Federal Government of Somalia – Ministry of Internal Security and Somalia Explosive Management Authority,” HMSWQ/31/8/15/025, 31 August 2015.

[27] Email from Mohammed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 June 2016.

[28] UNMAS, “2016 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects, Somalia,” undated.

[29] Ibid.; and UNMAS, “UNMAS in Somalia,” undated.

[30] UNMAS, “UN-suggested Explosive Hazard Management Strategic Framework 2015–2019,” undated.

[31] Email from Terje Eldøen, NPA, 5 June 2016; and response to questionnaire by Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 19 June 2015.

[32] Ibid.; and email from Terje Eldøen, NPA, 5 June 2016.

[33] Email from Tammy Hall, DDG, 3 June 2016.

[34] Email from Tom Griffiths, HALO, 25 May 2016.

[35] Emails from Bill Marsden, MAG, 12 May 2016, and 14 October 2016; and MAG, “MAG Somalia: Humanitarian Action to reduce the impact of the conflict,” undated. MAG has had a presence in Somalia since 2008. Activities began in Puntland in 2011 with Community Liaison Teams working in collaboration with the MAG-trained police EOD team to conduct risk education. Also in 2011, MAG began its AMD project operating throughout Somalia, Puntland, and Somaliland, which aimed at tackling the problem of weapons and ammunition management and limiting the diversion of weapons by providing secure facilities for the weapons already being held by the security services.

[36] NPA, “Humanitarian Disarmament in Somalia,” undated; and emails from Terje Eldøen, NPA, 29 April 2014; and from Ahmed Siyad, NPA, 1 May 2014.

[37] Email from Terje Eldøen, NPA, 5 June 2016.

[38] Email from Mohammed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 June 2016.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ibid.

[41] It stated that all survey data was collected by inexperienced survey teams so forms were quality assured by senior managers in Mogadishu as a desk exercise and the teams were sent out to resurvey dozens of tasks where the quality of survey had not met the required standards. Email from Tom Griffiths, HALO, 25 May 2016.

[42] Emails from Mohammed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 June 2016, and 14 October 2016.

[43] Emails from Mohammed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 June 2016, and 14 October 2016.

[44] Emails from Tom Griffiths, HALO, 17 June 2016, and 26 June 2016; from Tammy Hall, DDG, 17 June 2016; and from Terje Eldøen, NPA, 5 June 2016.

[45] Emails from Terje Eldøen, NPA, 5 June 2016; from Tom Griffiths, HALO, 25 May 2016; from Mohammed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 June 2016; and from Kjell Ivar Breili, UNMAS, 7 July 2015; and response to questionnaire by Tom Griffiths, HALO, 20 May 2015.

[46] Email from Tom Griffiths, HALO, 25 May 2016.

[47] UNMAS, “2016 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects, Somalia,” undated.

[48] Response to questionnaire by Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 19 June 2015; and email from Tom Griffiths, HALO, 22 June 2015.

[49] Emails from Tom Griffiths, HALO, 25 May 2016; and from Mohammed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 June 2016.

[50] Email from Tom Griffiths, HALO, 25 May 2016.

[51] Response to questionnaire by Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 19 June 2015.

[52] Email from Tom Griffiths, HALO, 25 May 2016.

[53] Email from Terje Eldøen, NPA, 5 June 2016.

[54] Email from Mohammed Abdulkadir Ahmed, SEMA, 14 June 2016.

Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 06 October 2016

In 2015, eight donors contributed US$9.9 million for mine action activities in the Federal Republic of Somalia, this is $2.6 million more than in 2014 (a 35% increase).[1]

The largest contribution came from Japan ($2.4 million), with three additional countries—Germany, the United States (US), and Norway—contributing more than $1 million each. Two donors, Italy and Norway, contributed a combined total of $1.2 million to support victim assistance activities in 2015.

International contributions: 2015[2]



Amount (national currency)

Amount ($)














Clearance and victim assistance








Clearance and risk education




Victim assistance












International support to Somalia’s mine action activities has fluctuated greatly since 2011, ranging from a minimum of $4 million in 2011 to a maximum of $25 million in 2012.

Summary of contributions: 2011–2015[3]


International contribution ($)














[1] Germany, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 4 April 2016; Italy, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, May 2016; Japan, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, April 2016; Sweden, Convention on Conventional Weapons Amended Protocol II Annual Report, Form E, 29 March 2016; response to Monitor questionnaire by Niels Peter Berg, Head of Section, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2 June 2016; emails from Ingrid Schoyen, Senior Adviser, Section for Humanitarian Affairs, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 24 May 2016; and from Katherine Baker, Foreign Affairs Officer, Weapons Removal and Abatement, US Department of State, 12 September 2016; and “Aid for humanitarian mine action in 2015,” Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, 29 October 2015. [Note, footnote amended 15 December 2016.]

[2] Average exchange rate for 2015: DKK6.7263=US$1; €1=US$1.1096; ¥121.05=US$1; NOK8.0681=US$1; SEK8.4350. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 4 January 2016.

[3] See previous Monitor reports. 

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.