Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 16 October 2020


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, and submitted updated transparency reports in 2018 and 2019.

Somalia attended the Mine Ban Treaty’s Fourth Review Conference in Oslo, Norway in November 2019, but did not attend the intersessional meetings held in June–July 2019. Somalia made a statement at the Fourth Review Conference where it expressed support for the convention and the Oslo Action Plan.[2]

Somalia is a party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. 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.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Somalia has stated that it has never had production facilities for antipersonnel mines within the country.[3] Somalia has also stated that it possesses no stockpile and has not retained mines, and that searches have not turned up any unknown stockpiles.[4] Previously, in its initial Article 7 report, Somalia stated that “large stocks are in the hands of former militias and private individuals” and that it was “putting forth efforts to verify if in fact it holds antipersonnel mines in its stockpile.” Some factions involved in armed conflict in Somalia are believed to possess mines.[5] Previously, demobilizing militias have turned in mines,[6] and some mines were turned in by armed groups for destruction in the past.[7]

No transfers of antipersonnel mines have been reported since 2012. The Monitor reported transfers in previous years.[8] No open sale of antipersonnel mines has been reported since 2009.[9]


There have been no allegations of use of antipersonnel mines by government forces in Somalia. Previously, reports of use by al-Shabaab insurgents have been alleged in several news reports, but the Monitor is not in a position to verify these reports.[10] Recent reports alleging landmine use by al-Shabaab appear to refer to command-detonated bombs rather than victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs).[11]

Non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in Somalia use IEDs in large numbers, and media reports often refer to command-detonated IEDs and bombs as “landmines.”[12] 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 2019, the United Nations Security Council’s Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea documented use of large bombs, but no improvised landmines.[13] Previously, in October 2011, Somali authorities and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces discovered an IED-manufacturing facility in Mogadishu, after which the United Nations Mine Action Service (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.

[2] Statement of Somalia, Mine Ban Treaty Fourth Review Conference, Oslo, 29 November 2019.

[5] The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of the Somali Republic was created in 2004, and ceased being the official government name in 2012. 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.

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

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

[8] Between 2002 and 2006, the United Nations 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 Mine Ban Treaty Seventh and Eighth Meetings of States Parties wrote to the chair of the group for clarification and further information, but did not receive responses.

[9] 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, 9 June 2009. For further details, including sellers and markets identified by the UN Monitoring Group, see Landmine Monitor Report 2008, pp. 1,003–1,005.

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

[11] See, for example, “At least 7 killed in landmine attack in central Somalia,” Xinhua, 2 April 2018.

[12] 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. For details on the recovery of “landmines” by African Union forces, see: 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, p. 167, para. 21. Citing an unpublished UNMAS report, “Confirmed Find of Bomb Making Equipment – 12 October 2011,” UNMAS, 13 October 2011.