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Electoral process remained stalled, and Al-Shabaab launched deadly attacks in capital Mogadishu, demonstrating potential to disrupt electoral proceedings. Following constitutional expiration of President Farmajo’s mandate and deadly clashes between opposition supporters and security forces in Feb, third round of talks between PM Roble and opposition bloc of 15 presidential candidates on organisation of parliamentary and presidential elections broke down 4 March, after bloc insisted on being part of national consultative council (NCC) talks on elections. NCC talks involving federal govt and member states 22-23 March concluded without meaningful progress as presidents of Puntland and Jubaland states did not attend, reportedly over security concerns. Govt faced mounting international pressure to hold election. Notably, UN Security Council 12 March unanimously urged govt to organise elections “without delay”, 31 March reiterated call; U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 19 March expressed “deep concern” at electoral impasse and called on political leadership to “immediately” organise elections. Parliament Speaker Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman 27 March called off same day parliamentary session after opposition MPs reportedly disrupted session over allegations that Abdirahman and pro-govt MPs were planning to pass term extension for Farmajo. Former Jubaland state Security Minister Abdirashid Janan, who escaped in 2020 from jail in Mogadishu, 24 March surrendered to federal govt. Meanwhile, Al-Shabaab launched deadly attacks in Mogadishu. Notably, Al-Shabaab suicide bombing 5 March killed over 20 and roadside bomb targeting local govt official 29 March killed at least five civilians; first mortar attacks in Mogadishu since mid-2020 9 and 25 March targeted airport compound that houses African Union mission (AMISOM) base in Mogadishu, killing at least two civilians. In Puntland state in north, Al-Shabaab 5 March raided Bosaso central prison, breaking out hundreds of prisoners; at least seven soldiers reportedly killed. In Lower Shabelle region in south, army 27 March killed 11 Al-Shabaab militants, including senior commander known as Ismail Jiis, in Bula Haji village. UN Security Council 12 March renewed AMISOM mandate until 31 Dec. International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearings on maritime border row between Somalia and Kenya 15 March started without Kenya after latter 11 March pulled out citing ICJ’s “bias” and refusal to delay hearing.
Deadly clashes erupted between federal and Jubaland state forces in Gedo region; amid deadlocked electoral preparations, violence could erupt when President Farmajo’s mandate expires on 8 Feb. In Jubaland state’s Gedo region, fighting overnight 24-25 Jan erupted between federal govt forces and Jubaland state forces in Bula Hawa town near Kenyan border, reportedly killing 21 and displacing at least 30,000; Mogadishu 25 Jan accused “illegal militias armed by the government of Kenya” of launching attack in Bula Hawa; Nairobi same day denied involvement. Meanwhile, PM Roble 9 Jan announced legislative elections would proceed despite federal member states Jubaland and Puntland continuing to boycott electoral process. Opposition bloc of 14 presidential candidates 11 Jan denounced move, warning that partial elections would endanger “the unity and stability of Somalia”. Jubaland and Puntland states 27 Jan appointed regional electoral commissions and called for emergency meeting between federal govt and member states to resolve disputes over electoral process; President Farmajo 30 Jan announced he would meet with heads of federal member states 1-3 Feb. Failure to organise parliamentary and presidential elections as planned by 8 Feb – the day Farmajo’s mandate ends – could trigger violent outbreaks. In south and centre, Al-Shabaab attacks 2-27 Jan left at least 44 security personnel, civilians and officials dead in Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Lower Juba, Gedo and Hiraan regions. In capital Mogadishu, string of Al-Shabaab roadside bombings 5-23 Jan killed at least 15 security personnel, civilians and officials; Al-Shabaab attack 31 Jan reportedly left at least 11 dead. Meanwhile, counter-insurgency operations continued. Security forces 7-29 Jan killed several dozen Al-Shabaab militants in Bay, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Gedo, Lower Juba and Mudug regions. U.S. airstrikes 1-19 Jan killed a dozen Al-Shabaab militants in Lower Juba, Middle Juba, Bay and Bakool regions. U.S. mid-Jan said it had completed “repositioning” of most U.S. troops based in Somalia to neighbouring countries.
Electoral disputes delayed Dec legislative polls and threatened to derail Feb presidential election; tensions rose with Kenya. Federal electoral commission – whose members opposition considers to be loyalists of President Farmajo – 5 Dec appointed chairperson, prompting opposition bloc of 14 presidential candidates to appoint parallel electoral body. Opposition protests 15 Dec resulted in clashes with security forces, reportedly leaving several injured in capital Mogadishu. After missing 10 Dec deadline for conclusion of federal parliament’s upper house election – due to Jubaland and Puntland’s refusal to appoint regional electoral commissions – federal electoral commission 23 Dec postponed upper house poll to late Dec-early Jan and said selection of delegates tasked with electing lower house would begin 7 Jan; opposition bloc of presidential candidates same day rejected new timetable; federal electoral commission 29 Dec again postponed upper house poll early to mid-Jan. Mandate of federal parliament expired 27 Dec. Somalia 15 Dec cut diplomatic ties with Kenya for “constantly interfering” in its internal affairs; move coincided with Somaliland President Bihi’s visit to Kenya during which he and Kenyan President Kenyatta announced that Kenya would open consulate in Somaliland’s capital and that Somaliland would upgrade its liaison office in Kenya by March. In subsequent days, both Somalia and Kenya reportedly deployed troops to their shared border. Mogadishu 19 Dec accused Kenya of hosting and arming Somali militia to launch cross-border attacks and said it would take “all necessary steps” to protect its “territorial integrity”. Farmajo and Kenyatta 20 Dec met during summit of regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD); Mogadishu reportedly asked IGAD to establish commission to look into its complaints, including arming of Somali militia. Djibouti 25 Dec deployed fact-finding mission to assess situation at Somalia-Kenya border. In Hirshabelle state, clan militia opposed to last month’s state presidential election outcome 4 Dec clashed with federal govt forces in Hiraan regional capital Beledweyne, leaving at least two injured. Al-Shabaab continued to launch deadly attacks. Notably, Al-Shabaab suicide bombing 18 Dec killed 21, mostly civilians, in Mudug region’s capital Galkayo. U.S. 4 Dec announced it would “reposition” most of its troops in Somalia to neighbouring countries by early 2021.
Appointment of electoral commissions, in charge of overseeing upcoming indirect elections, sparked major dispute; tensions rose with Kenya; and Al-Shabaab continued deadly attacks. Ahead of Dec parliamentary elections and Feb 2021 presidential vote, federal govt early Nov appointed federal electoral commission, dispute resolution commission and regional electoral commission for breakaway Somaliland, sparking strong opposition. Coalition of six opposition parties, Forum for National Parties, 7 Nov rejected federal electoral and dispute resolution commissions, condemning inclusion of intelligence service agents and civil servants; coalition said federal govt has no legal authority to appoint Somaliland representatives and that Somaliland’s commission should be appointed by speaker of federal parliament’s upper house, Abdi Hashi. Hashi 21 Nov appointed parallel electoral body for Somaliland. Fourteen presidential candidates 26 Nov demanded dissolution of all commissions, accusing President Farmajo of stacking electoral bodies with loyalists; candidates threatened to undertake further actions if demands are not met. Jubaland state President Madobe 28 Nov reiterated that parliamentary polls would not take place in disputed Gedo region as long as federal troops remain deployed there; Mogadishu next day expelled Kenya’s ambassador and recalled its own, accusing Nairobi of interfering in its internal affairs by prompting Madobe to renege on “election agreement” reached in Sept; Kenya next day denied allegations. In Hirshabelle state, candidate backed by federal govt, Ali Gudlawe, 11 Nov won Hirshabelle’s presidential election; following polls, clan militia mobilised outside Hiraan regional capital Beledweyne against election results, and late Nov reportedly clashed with federal forces. In south and centre, Al-Shabaab killed at least 40 civilians and security personnel throughout month in Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba, Bakool, Mudug and Galguduud regions. In capital Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab attacks left at least 15 dead throughout month. After conflict broke out in Ethiopia between federal govt and Tigray regional state (see Ethiopia), Addis Ababa early Nov reportedly began withdrawal of about 3,000 soldiers unaffiliated with African Union mission (AMISOM) from Gedo region in south; Ethiopia 18 Nov said it had disarmed ethnic Tigrayan officers within its AMISOM contingent.
Federal govt and member states reached agreement on electoral timetable but Jubaland state objected to holding polls in contested Gedo region; Al-Shabaab attacks continued. Federal govt and member states 1 Oct agreed to hold indirect legislative and presidential elections in Dec 2020 and Feb 2021 respectively; also decided on location of polls and allocation of parliamentary seats, and resolved to form federal and regional electoral commissions and dispute resolution committee. Jubaland President Madobe 6 Oct however said parliamentary elections could not take place in disputed Gedo region as long as Mogadishu’s forces remain present there; following alleged targeting of civilians by Kenyan forces and brief skirmish between Somali and Kenyan forces in Gedo late Sept-early Oct, Mogadishu, Kenya and reportedly also Jubaland early-to-mid-Oct deployed additional troops to Gedo. In south and centre, Al-Shabaab attacks and counter-insurgency operations 2-12 Oct left at least six soldiers and 32 militants dead in Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Gedo, Lower Juba, Bay and Hiraan regions. Clashes between Al-Shabaab and security forces 14-15 Oct reportedly left at least 18 soldiers and 61 militants dead in Lower Shabelle region. Roadside bombings 15-18 Oct killed at least four soldiers and two civilians in Middle Shabelle region. Security forces 16-25 Oct reportedly killed several dozen militants in Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, Bay and Hiraan regions. In Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab suicide bombing 1 Oct killed senior intelligence official; Al-Shabaab roadside bomb targeting govt official 20 Oct left at least two civilians dead; suspected Al-Shabaab militants 27 Oct shot and killed two aid workers and detonated car bomb, leaving at least three more dead. President Farmajo and Eritrean President Afwerki early Oct met in Eritrea, agreed to upgrade July 2018 agreement that restored diplomatic relations and to accelerate regional integration efforts on basis of Sept 2018 tripartite agreement between Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Federal govt and all member states reached long-awaited agreement on electoral framework; Al-Shabaab attacks continued in south, centre and capital Mogadishu. President Farmajo early Sept met with presidents of Puntland and Jubaland federal member states after they distanced themselves from Aug deal between Farmajo and leaders of Galmudug, Hirshabelle and South West states regarding electoral modalities for Nov 2020 parliamentary and Feb 2021 presidential elections; Farmajo made several major concessions to Puntland and Jubaland; Farmajo and heads of all five federal member states met 13-17 Sept, agreed to indirect electoral framework for 2020-2021 polls. Shortly after reaching deal, Farmajo appointed Mohamed Hussein Roble as new PM following July ouster of former PM Khayre. Parliament approved PM Roble 23 Sept and indirect electoral model 26 Sept. In south and centre, Al-Shabaab 4 Sept abducted some 50 herders in Hiraan region; early Sept withstood army offensives to retake strategic Janay Abdalle town in Lower Juba region and throughout month reportedly killed at least 39 soldiers, civilians and state officials in Mudug, Middle Juba, Lower Juba, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, Bakool, Hiraan and Galguduud regions. Counter-insurgency operations throughout month reportedly left over 100 Al-Shabaab militants dead in Galguduud, Mudug, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, Bay, Gedo, Middle Juba and Lower Juba regions. Security forces 25 Sept rescued 40 children from Al-Shabaab training camp in Lower Shabelle region. In Mogadishu, suspected Al-Shabaab bombing targeting convoy of African Union mission (AMISOM) 6 Sept left one dead; AMISOM soldiers same day shot and wounded at least seven civilians. Al-Shabaab suicide bombing at restaurant 9 Sept killed at least three. In Middle Shabelle region, suspected inter-clan revenge killing 3 Sept left at least five dead. In Gedo region in south, hundreds late Sept took to streets across region after Kenyan forces reportedly operating under AMISOM 23-24 Sept allegedly killed at least one civilian and abducted several others; Kenyan security forces 26 Sept opened fire to deter demonstrators from approaching border prompting Somali forces to return fire which sparked brief firefight.
Al-Shabaab launched deadly attacks in capital Mogadishu and rural areas, while frictions heightened between federal govt and member states Jubaland and Puntland over organisation of elections. In Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab suicide bombings 3 Aug killed at least three including two security guards and 8 Aug killed eight soldiers. Inside Mogadishu’s central prison, Al-Shabaab inmates 10 Aug attempted to break free using smuggled weapons; shoot-out between inmates and prison guards backed up by security forces killed 15 inmates and four prison guards; one Al-Shabaab inmate reportedly managed to escape and killed two civilians outside prison. Al-Shabaab attack on Mogadishu hotel 16 Aug left at least 16 dead, mostly civilians. In south and centre, suspected Al-Shabaab attacks 2-23 Aug killed at least 42 security personnel, officials and civilians in Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Bay, Gedo, Hiraan and Mudug regions. Security forces 2-29 Aug reported over 80 suspected Al-Shabaab militants killed in Lower Juba, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Gedo and Bay regions. Security forces 14 Aug rescued 33 children from Al-Shabaab camp in Lower Shabelle region. U.S. Africa Command said three U.S. airstrikes 20-25 Aug killed eight Al-Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle and Middle Juba regions. In Puntland in north, security operation 20-21 Aug left at least ten Al-Shabaab militants and two soldiers dead in Bari region. President Farmajo and heads of federal member states Galmudug, Hirshabelle and South West mid-Aug signed agreement reiterating July commitment to hold Nov 2020 parliamentary and Feb 2021 presidential elections on time and settling on indirect electoral model instead of “one person, one vote” polls; presidents of Puntland and Jubaland states boycotted meeting, accusing Farmajo of failing to deliver on previous commitments on elections, and 21 Aug jointly distanced themselves from agreement; 27 Aug however said they would soon attend meeting with Farmajo in Mogadishu to discuss 2020-2021 polls.
Al-Shabaab kept up insurgency; federal govt and member states agreed to hold elections as previously scheduled; and parliament ousted PM Khayre. In south, Al-Shabaab 4 July detonated bomb killing at least five civilians and security personnel in Bay region; next day kidnapped and killed regional lawmaker in Middle Shabelle region; 6-13 July launched attacks on security forces reportedly leaving at least seventeen dead in Lower Shabelle and Lower Juba regions. Counter-insurgency operations 6-19 July reportedly killed at least 29 Al-Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba and Bay regions. U.S. airstrikes 9 and 29 July reportedly killed two Al-Shabaab insurgents in Lower Shabelle and Middle Juba region; reports of civilian casualties also emerged. In Puntland in north, security operation with U.S. air support 21 July reportedly left 27 Islamic State (ISIS)-Somalia militants dead in Bari region. In capital Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab 8 July detonated bomb killing two police officers; 13 July launched unsuccessful suicide attack on army chief, General Odowa Rage; 18 July detonated bomb failing to kill deputy security minister; 27 July shot policeman dead. After electoral commission late June said it could not organise “one person, one vote” 2020 parliamentary and 2021 presidential elections on time, presidents of all federal member states 11-12 July met in Galmudug state capital Dhusamareb, agreed that polls should be held on time and invited federal govt to discuss alternative, indirect electoral model; in ensuing conference in Dhusamareb 19-22 July, President Farmajo and federal state leaders agreed to conduct timely elections and create technical committee tasked with formulating recommendations for electoral process; during conference, Farmajo and Jubaland state President Madobe reportedly held informal talks after more than a year of fraught relations; Madobe said they had “agreed to reach truce”. Parliament’s lower house 25 July voted no confidence in PM Khayre notably for failing to deliver direct elections, prompting him to resign; Farmajo same day named Deputy PM Mahdi Mohamed Guleid as caretaker PM. After resuming in June, talks with Somaliland suffered delays (see Somaliland).
Al-Shabaab attacks continued across country, electoral commission said elections could not take place as scheduled and talks with Somaliland resumed after five-year hiatus. In centre and south, Al-Shabaab attacks against security forces throughout month killed at least 14 soldiers and three civilians in Hiraan, Lower Juba, Bay, Gedo, Middle Shabelle, and Lower Shabelle regions. In Lower Shabelle region, fighting between Al-Shabaab and local self-defence militia 18 June left at least seven dead, and unclaimed bombing 20 June killed at least four soldiers and civilians. Security forces 6-26 June reportedly killed at least 67 Al-Shabaab insurgents in counter-insurgency operations in Bakool, Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Hiraan regions. In Puntland in north, security forces 6 June shot and killed Al-Shabaab militant in Mudug region. In capital Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab militants 7-27 June shot and killed four police officers and one local official. Unclaimed roadside bombing 18 June killed at least three civilians. Al-Shabaab suicide bombing at Turkish military base 23 June left two civilians dead. In Galguduud region in centre, inter-clan fighting 24-27 June reportedly left around a dozen dead. Following pressure from international community, federal parliament’s upper house, several federal member states and opposition parties, President Farmajo 24 June invited heads of federal member states to meeting in Mogadishu 5-8 July to discuss modalities of parliamentary elections due by end of year and presidential election scheduled for 2021. Head of electoral commission 27 June announced that it could not organise elections on time citing “significant technical and security challenges”. Amid ongoing standoff with Jubaland state, federal govt 14 June announced it would recognise state President Madobe as “interim” president for two-year period; Madobe immediately rejected move saying he was elected to four-year term. In resumption of dialogue process which broke down in 2015, Farmajo and Somaliland President Bihi mid-June met in Djibouti over Somaliland’s claim to sovereignty which Mogadishu does not recognise; in following days, both sides agreed to further talks and to establish subcommittees to discuss technical issues in July.
Al-Shabaab attacks persisted in south and capital Mogadishu and intensified in Puntland state in north where security forces also confronted Islamic State (ISIS)-Somalia. In south, Al-Shabaab militants 3-7 May killed at least two civilians in Lower and Middle Shabelle regions. Counter-insurgency operations 10-31 May left at least 70 Al-Shabaab dead in Middle Juba, Lower Juba, Lower Shabelle, Bay, Hiraan and Gedo regions. In Lower Shabelle, Middle Juba and Bay regions, string of Al-Shabaab and unclaimed bombings 24-31 May killed at least fourteen soldiers and fourteen civilians; according to local elders, soldiers 27 May abducted and killed seven aid workers and one civilian suspected of sympathising with insurgents in Middle Shabelle region, army denied involvement. In Puntland in north, ISIS militants 9 May attacked security forces in city of Bosaso, leaving soldier and at least two militants dead; in following days, security forces shot and killed ISIS militant and arrested four others in Bosaso. Al-Shabaab 14 May launched attack on military base near Bosaso leaving soldier and three assailants dead; 17 May detonated suicide bomb in Mudug region’s capital Galkayo killing at least four including Mudug governor. In capital Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab continued to target security personnel reportedly killing at least five throughout month. In north and centre, clan militias 3-19 May clashed over land disputes reportedly leaving at least ten dead in Mudug and Galguduud regions. Fighting 23 May reportedly broke out between clan militia and army leaving at least eight dead in Mudug region. In Bay region in south, Kenyan-registered aeroplane carrying COVID-19 medical supplies 4 May crashed in Bardale area killing all six Somali and Kenyan passengers; amid media reports that Ethiopian soldiers may have shot aeroplane down, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia next day launched joint investigation. International Court of Justice 22 May postponed hearing on Somalia-Kenya maritime border dispute from 8-12 June to March 2021, after Kenya requested delay on account of COVID-19. UN Security Council 29 May extended mandate of African Union mission (AMISOM) until Feb 2021.
Inter-clan violence erupted in south and centre leaving more than 100 dead; Al-Shabaab attacks continued against security forces and civilians in rural areas and capital Mogadishu, and against officials in Puntland state in north; and amid ongoing tensions with federal govt, president of federal member state Jubaland consolidated his position. Inter-clan violence late March-early April killed more than 100 in Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba, Bay (all south) and Galguduud (centre) regions. Notably, rival clans 2 April reportedly clashed over land dispute in Kismayo area, Lower Juba, leaving at least twenty dead; days later, clan in town of Wanlaweyn, Lower Shabelle, reportedly launched revenge attack against rival clan, leaving over twenty dead. In south, Al-Shabaab militants launched several attacks on civilians and security forces, including Ethiopian contingent of African Union mission (AMISOM), in Gedo, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Lower Juba, and Bay regions; violence left at least eleven soldiers and eleven civilians dead throughout month. In Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab militants killed at least three soldiers and six civilians in several attacks, including 26 April mortar attack at UN compound which struck nearby house killing four civilians. In Puntland in north, Al-Shabaab militants 5-10 April killed two local officials in Mudug region’s capital Galkayo. U.S. airstrikes in several regions 2-10 April killed 32 Al-Shabaab insurgents including senior leader Yusuf Jiis. Ethiopian army 13 April said it had killed at least seventeen Al-Shabaab militants in airstrikes in Jubaland state’s Gedo region. Also in Gedo, fighting 22 April broke out between federal govt forces and Jubaland forces near Bula Hawa town, number of casualties unknown. Jubaland state President Madobe 23 April signed reconciliation agreement with opposition leaders who had contested his re-election in Aug 2019; late April said he was willing to reconcile with federal govt which continues to reject his re-election. Police 24 April shot and killed two civilians reportedly violating COVID-19 curfew in Mogadishu, prompting hundreds to demonstrate in following hours and day.
Clashes between federal troops and Jubaland state forces including on Kenyan soil raised Somalia-Kenya tensions before leaders took steps to de-escalate; security forces continued to fight Al-Shabaab, which launched attacks on several officials in Puntland in north. In Jubaland state’s Gedo region in south, standoff between federal govt troops and Jubaland forces continued and fighting erupted again 2 March in Bula Hawa town near Kenyan border reportedly leaving at least eleven civilians and combatants dead. Fighting spilled over into Kenya’s Mandera town prompting Nairobi to accuse Somalia of violating its sovereignty. President Farmajo 8 March agreed to meet Kenyan President Kenyatta at regional summit in bid to lower tensions, but Kenya 13 March postponed summit to focus on COVID-19. In south and centre, Al-Shabaab attacks in March left at least 22 security force members dead in Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Lower Juba, Hiraan, Bay and Gedo regions, while Al-Shabaab roadside bombing 25 March left five civilians dead in Lower Juba, and in Middle Juba, Al-Shabaab 31 March executed six civilians accused of spying. In capital Mogadishu, militants 1 and 18 March launched mortars at UN compound; Al-Shabaab suicide bombing 25 March left at least four dead. Meanwhile, security forces 5 March killed eight Al-Shabaab militants in Hiraan; 16 March took back Janaale town in Lower Shabelle from Al-Shabaab militants, number of casualties unknown; 21-29 March killed at least 37 militants in Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle. In Puntland state in north, Al-Shabaab militants 17-29 March reportedly killed three local officials. Local politicians and traditional elders 15-17 March convened in Puntland capital Garowe to assess acrimonious relationship between Puntland and federal govt. Puntland President Deni 17 March called for dialogue between federal govt and member states. Coalition of six opposition parties, Forum for National Parties, 5 March formed unified party headed by former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Fighting erupted in Galmudug state after election of state president, and federal govt forces deployed to Jubaland state’s Gedo region where fighting could intensify in coming weeks. Tensions rose in Gedo following late Jan escape from capital Mogadishu prison of former Jubaland security minister Abdirashid Janan: Janan reportedly arrived in Gedo in early Feb via Kenyan capital Nairobi, and federal govt deployed some 700 troops to region; federal govt forces 4 Feb launched offensive and captured Dolow and Bula Hawa towns near Kenyan border prompting Janan to flee across border in Kenya to Mandera town; federal govt 5 Feb accused Kenya of interference for allegedly aiding Janan. Federal govt forces 8 Feb clashed with Jubaland forces in Bula Hawa, leaving at least two dead. Also in Jubaland, fighting 12 Feb broke out in capital Kismayo between state forces and supporters of state President Madobe’s political rival, death toll unclear. In Galmudug state in centre, parliament 2 Feb elected federal govt-backed candidate Ahmed Abdi Qoor Qoor as state president; federal govt forces 27-28 Feb clashed in state capital Dhusamareb with local Sufi paramilitary group Ahlu Sunnah Waa-Jama’a (ASWJ) which opposed federal govt-controlled electoral process, at least 22 reportedly killed; ASWJ leadership 29 Feb surrendered to federal govt and announced their exit from Galmudug politics. Inter-clan fighting erupted in Lower Juba region in south in early Feb leaving at least twenty dead. In south and centre, security operations and Al-Shabaab attacks 2-27 Feb left at least 34 soldiers and 61 militants dead in Feb. U.S. airstrikes 2-28 Feb reportedly killed ten Al-Shabaab militants, including Al-Shabaab commander involved in early Jan attack in Kenya’s Lamu county. In Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, President Farmajo 11 Feb for first time met Somaliland President Bihi; 13 Feb issued apology to Somaliland for atrocities under Barre regime, which Bihi welcomed 18 Feb.
Al-Shabaab continued to attack security forces and civilians, tensions mounted in Galmudug as rival camps appointed parallel parliaments, and in coming weeks militia fighting could erupt in Jubaland state in south. In capital Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab killed at least six people 8-11 Jan. In Lower Juba, Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regions in south, clashes between Al-Shabaab and security forces and Al-Shabaab attacks 7-25 Jan left at least sixteen soldiers and civilians dead, and some 80 militants. U.S. airstrikes 3-27 Jan left nine Al-Shabaab militants dead. In Bosaso, on Puntland’s coast in north, security forces 6 Jan killed four suspected members of Islamic State (ISIS)-Somalia. Suspected ISIS militants shot dead former official in Bosaso 21 Jan. In Galmudug, following standoff between federal govt and Sufi paramilitary group Ahlu Sunnah Waa-Jama’a (ASWJ) over latter’s seats in new parliament, electoral committee appointed by federal govt 3 Jan approved twenty ASWJ MPs, mid-Jan announced new state parliament and postponed election of president to 2 Feb. Incumbent state President Ahmed Geele Haaf 4 Jan announced parallel electoral committee which 19 Jan announced rival parliament in Galkayo; rival parliament 30 Jan elected Haaf as state president. ASWJ 21 Jan rejected federal govt-led process and announced third rival parliament, which 29 Jan elected ASWJ leader Sheikh Mohamed Shakir as state president. Four presidential candidates 22 Jan said they would boycott presidential polls, accusing federal govt of hijacking process. In Jubaland, state’s VP replaced mayor of Baardheere after latter expressed support for federal govt, prompting Mogadishu to deploy troops to Baardheere where tensions ran high end month. Federal parliament’s upper house 6 Jan approved petroleum law, but Puntland President Deni deemed it unconstitutional on grounds that federal states had not been consulted. In Saudi capital Riyadh 6 Jan, eight countries on Red Sea and Gulf of Aden including Somalia established regional bloc to ensure maritime security.
Al-Shabaab continued to launch attacks in capital Mogadishu and in south and centre leaving over 100 dead and inter-clan violence flared in centre and Mogadishu leaving some 60 dead. In Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab raid on hotel near presidential palace 10 Dec left ten dead. Truck bombing at Ex-Control checkpoint north west of Mogadishu 28 Dec killed at least 90 including two Turks; Al-Shabaab 30 Dec claimed responsibility, authorities said foreign govt helped plan attack without identifying which one. In south, Al-Shabaab attacks and security operations killed at least 51 insurgents, eight soldiers and five civilians. In Galmudug region in centre, Ethiopian security forces 19 Dec clashed with nomads leaving some twenty dead along border. Al-Shabaab suicide bomb 20 Dec killed at least eight in Galkayo. Militias clashed with Al-Shabaab in Hiraan region 29 Dec reportedly leaving at least ten militants dead. U.S. airstrikes 9-29 Dec killed six Al-Shabaab militants. Al-Shabaab 12 Dec claimed it had destroyed U.S. drone in Hiraan region. In Mudug region in centre, rival clan militias clashed over land dispute 5 and 9 Dec leaving around 50 dead; following mediation by elders and security officials, clans agreed to ceasefire. In Bosaso, Puntland in north, unidentified men killed security official 13 Dec. In Galmudug federal member state, federal govt and local Sufi militia Ahlu Sunnah Waa-Jama’a (ASWJ) 11 Dec reached agreement that ASWJ would be allocated twenty of 89 seats in new state parliament, but tensions over forthcoming elections persisted. After federal govt committee published criteria for candidates, ASWJ 24 Dec said it did not recognise committee and called on federal govt to honour agreement. ASWJ 30 Dec clashed with security forces in Galmudug capital Dhusamareb. Federal parliament’s lower house 28 Dec approved electoral law despite outcry over clause that allows delay of elections and govt to remain in power until elections.
Tensions rose between federal govt and local militia in Galmudug federal member state, while Al-Shabaab kept up insurgency. In Galmudug, federal govt forces 2 and 3 Nov seized Guriel and Mataban towns from local Sufi militia Ahlu Sunnah Waa-Jama’a (ASWJ) which opposes what it calls Mogadishu’s efforts to manipulate state’s forthcoming presidential elections. Federal govt 4 Nov deployed additional troops to state capital Dhusamareb and 25 Nov released timetable scheduling presidential elections for 17-23 Dec. Ethiopian forces unaffiliated with African Union mission (AMISOM) late Nov reportedly deployed in Dhusamareb. Jubaland federal state govt 21 Nov claimed non-AMISOM Ethiopian soldiers and working on behalf of federal govt early Nov arrested several state and security officials, took them to Ethiopia where federal govt officials coerced them into handing over control of their territories and security forces; demanded removal of non-peacekeeping Ethiopian troops from Jubaland. Federal govt 10 Nov briefly prevented former presidents and now opposition leaders Hassan Sheikh and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed from travelling to flood-hit Beledweyne to deliver aid; tensions reportedly diffused following meeting between former presidents and President Farmajo 20 Nov. Al-Shabaab attacks on Somali and AMISOM bases 1-23 Nov left at least nine dead. U.S. airstrikes 12-30 Nov killed at least two Al-Shabaab militants. In Gedo region in south, security forces and Al-Shabaab clashed leaving at least six militants dead. In Puntland in north, after state MPs tabled motion to remove parliament speaker from office, clashes erupted in Garowe 6 Nov between police and speaker’s bodyguards leaving at least four dead. Also, in Puntland, clashes between Bari regional forces and clan militias mid-Nov reportedly left several dead in Bosaso. In Bay region of South West state, clashes broke out 18 Nov between security forces and mayor of Dinsor’s bodyguards over latter’s refusal to hand over authority to new mayor, five soldiers killed. President Farmajo and Kenyan President Kenyatta 14 Nov met in Kenyan capital Nairobi and agreed to normalise relations.
Al-Shabaab maintained its insurgency, tensions persisted between federal govt and federal member states Jubaland and Galmudug, and between Somalia and Kenya. In Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab militants 13 Oct launched mortars at compounds of UN and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM); suspected Al-Shabaab 16 Oct killed three people; bombing 28 Oct killed at least two civilians. In south and centre, Al-Shabaab kept up attacks in Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Bay and Hiraan regions, killing at least sixteen Somali and international soldiers and three civilians. Security forces 15-19 Oct reportedly killed several dozen Al-Shabaab militants in Gedo and Hiraan regions. Somali airstrikes 20 Oct left unknown number of militants dead in Lower Juba. U.S. airstrike 25 Oct killed three Islamic State (ISIS) militants; at least three civilians reported missing. Federal govt 7 Oct filed complaint against Kenya at UN aviation agency after Kenyan-chartered aeroplane few from Nairobi to Jubaland state capital Kismayo without touching down in Mogadishu, violating govt directive; federal govt 10 Oct accused Kenya of violating its sovereignty. Federal govt 11 Oct renewed ban on direct flights to Kismayo. Madobe 12 Oct called for dialogue with federal govt. After federal govt announced in Sept that it would form committee to oversee formation of Galmudug state administration and presidential election guidelines, Galmudug chief minister and head of Sufi paramilitary group Ahlu Sunnah Waa-Jama’a (ASWJ) 22 Oct announced parallel committee. ASWJ late Oct reportedly deployed fighters in and around Galmudug capital Dhusamareb, but returned to bases following 28 Oct meeting between Galmudug chief minister and interior minister. Following Kenya’s second request for delay, International Court of Justice 17 Oct postponed hearing of Kenya-Somalia maritime border dispute from 4-8 Nov to June 2020. U.S. 2 Oct announced re-establishment of its embassy in Somalia.
Al-Shabaab intensified attacks and relations between federal govt and federal member state Jubaland soured further. In capital Mogadishu, suspected Al-Shabaab attacks on checkpoint 2 Sept, president’s compound 11 Sept and govt official 18 Sept left at least seven dead; roadside bomb 30 Sept struck Italian military convoy in EU mission, no casualties. In south and centre, Al-Shabaab stepped up attacks on national forces and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops. Attacks against AMISOM 8-17 Sept left at least seventeen Burundian and five Djiboutian soldiers dead in Middle Shabelle and Hiraan regions respectively. At least five attacks on security forces and officials in Bay, Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regions 12-22 Sept left at least 52 dead. Army operations in Hiraan, Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle regions 17-27 Sept reportedly killed 80 Al-Shabaab militants. U.S. and Somali airstrikes in Middle and Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle 3-30 Sept reportedly killed 33 militants. Federal govt continued to reject Aug re-election of Jubaland state president Ahmed Madobe. Authorities in Mogadishu 22 Sept prevented ex-President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed travelling to Jubaland for Madobe’s inauguration 26 Sept and banned all flights to and from Kismayo 23-27 Sept; Jubaland govt postponed inauguration. In preparation for presidential polls in Galmudug state, following Galmudug Reconciliation Conference 5-16 Sept, federal govt 16 Sept said it would form committee to oversee formation of state administration and election guidelines. Opposition parties next day accused federal govt of “hijacking” process. Galmudug President Haaf 29 Sept reneged on agreement with federal govt to facilitate elections, saying it had failed to deliver tangible results in recent months and said he would reassume his executive role. Following Kenya’s request for delay, International Court of Justice postponed hearing on Somalia-Kenya maritime border dispute from 9-13 Sept to 4-8 Nov. In New York, Farmajo and Kenyan President Kenyatta 24 Sept agreed to normalise relations.
Jubaland state’s presidential elections heightened tensions within Jubaland and between its administration and federal govt, tensions persisted between federal govt and Kenya, and Al-Shabaab maintained insurgency. In run-up to presidential elections in federal member state Jubaland in south, candidates barred from running 8 Aug formed parallel electoral commission accusing official electoral commission (JIBEC) of favouring incumbent President Madobe. JIBEC 12 Aug appointed assembly tasked with electing president; parallel electoral commission next day appointed its own assembly. Jubaland forces supported by Kenyan soldiers in African Union (AU) mission (AMISOM) 19 Aug blocked Ethiopian military aeroplane from landing in state capital Kismayo. Under pressure from UN envoy James Swan and other internationals, JIBEC briefly reopened candidate registration and delayed vote till 22 Aug. Under tight security, assembly 22 Aug re-elected Madobe. Parallel assembly same day elected Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig. Federal govt rejected both results. Madobe 25 Aug discussed how to move forward with two opposition candidates. Federal govt 29 Aug said flights to and from Kismayo would first need to land in Mogadishu, prompting hundreds to demonstrate against it in Kismayo. Police in Mogadishu 31 Aug arrested Jubaland security minister. Federal govt 21 Aug rejected AU’s offer to mediate between it and Kenya over disputed maritime border, expressing confidence in International Court of Justice hearing set for 9-13 Sept. Al-Shabaab continued to clash with security forces in south, especially in Lower Shabelle region. In Mogadishu, security forces 16 Aug killed four militants attempting to kill official; bombing 25 Aug left one dead. In Lower Shabelle, security forces 6 Aug captured Awdheegle town from Al-Shabaab; 11 Aug clashed with militants in Sham, reportedly killing at least seventeen and injuring spokesperson Ali Dhere who allegedly died 16 Aug; 25 Aug fought militants in Sablale, reportedly killing at least eighteen. Al-Shabaab attacks on military bases in Lower and Middle Shabelle 13-21 Aug reportedly left dozens of militants, at least seven soldiers and two civilians dead. Unclaimed airstrikes in Lower Shabelle and Middle Juba 5 and 16 Aug reportedly killed dozens of militants. U.S. airstrike near Qunyo Barrow, Lower Shabelle 20 Aug killed one militant. President Farmajo 22 Aug replaced security chiefs, including heads of army, police and intelligence agency.
Al-Shabaab stepped up attacks in capital Mogadishu and elsewhere in south, tensions persisted between federal govt and federal member states and between it and breakaway Somaliland. In Mogadishu, two Al-Shabaab attacks 8 July left nine dead; suicide car bombing near airport 22 July killed at least seventeen; suicide bombing in municipal govt HQ 24 July killed six and seriously wounded others including city’s mayor (Al-Shabaab said suicide bombing target was U.S. diplomat recently appointed U.N. envoy to Somalia). Al-Shabaab kept up attacks elsewhere in south, notably Al-Shabaab militants 12 July stormed hotel in Kismayo, Jubaland state capital, killing at least 26. Attacks also reported in Middle Juba, Lower Juba, Gedo and Lower Shabelle regions killing at least 50 civilians and soldiers. U.S.-backed security forces continued offensives against Al-Shabaab: notably, unclaimed airstrikes 11 July reportedly killed dozens of Al-Shabaab militants in Jilib, Middle Juba. In north, unidentified gunmen opened fire on vehicle in Galkayo, Puntland 11 July killing at least five civilians. U.S. airstrike 27 July killed one member of Islamic State (ISIS)-Somalia. Jubaland federal member state 8 July rejected federal govt’s announcement previous day that it would help identify elders who would select Jubaland’s assembly members in Aug polls; 25 July suspended co-operation with govt accusing it of interfering in electoral process. Govt 1 July called Kenya’s late June reference to Somaliland as a country an affront to Somalia’s sovereignty. Govt 4 July cut diplomatic ties with Guinea after it gave Somaliland President Bihi official welcome 2 July. President Farmajo 17 July appointed six-member committee to represent govt in any new talks with Somaliland; latter 19 July rejected committee reportedly because it included members from Somaliland whose legitimacy it does not recognise. Puntland federal member state 19 July also rejected committee since govt had not consulted federal member states before forming it.
Al-Shabaab kept up insurgency in capital Mogadishu and rural areas, tensions remained high between Puntland and Somaliland over contested areas and between Somalia and Kenya over disputed maritime border. In Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab 15 June launched two car bomb attacks in heavily secured govt areas killing eleven. In south, security forces killed five Al-Shabaab fighters in Gedo region 3-9 June; Al-Shabaab ambush of Kenyan soldiers in African Union mission (AMISOM) in Burgavo, Lower Juba 24 June left nine militants dead; clashes between security forces and Al-Shabaab near Bur Eyle, Bay region 22 June left eleven soldiers and five militants dead; Al-Shabaab attack on military base in Bulo Marer, Lower Shabelle 27 June left three militants and two soldiers dead; clashes between security forces and Al-Shabaab 27 June left at least eight militants dead in Jamame, Lower Juba; three Al-Shabaab militants surrendered to security forces in Bay and Gedo regions 2-11 June. In north, Al-Shabaab fighters 8 June captured military base in Af-Urur in Puntland only for Puntland forces to retake it 11 June without a fight; after suspected Al-Shabaab militants killed police officer near Galkayo, local militia 14 June killed nine members of Rahanweyn clan which it believes provides recruits to Al-Shabaab; Al-Shabaab bombing of teashop in Af-Urur 25 June killed four Puntland soldiers and one civilian. Puntland and Somaliland forces 14 June reportedly clashed in Badhan town in Sanaag region, which both administrations claim, no casualties. U.S. claimed its airstrikes killed six Islamic State (ISIS) militants and four Al-Shabaab fighters 4-25 June. Arab Parliament, legislative arm of Arab League, 20 June called on Kenya to recognise Somalia’s maritime borders. International Court of Justice 25 June scheduled hearing for maritime border dispute between Somalia and Kenya for 9-13 Sept.
Relations between federal govt and federal member states deteriorated sharply raising risk of further instability in June, and Al-Shabaab stepped up attacks in capital Mogadishu and rural areas. President Farmajo and PM Khayre held talks with heads of federal member states in Garowe, Puntland 5-9 May, but failed to agree on way forward on critical issues including reform of electoral law and management of oil and gas. Puntland 27 May said it would stop cooperating with federal govt on matters of constitutional review, federal elections and national security and Galmudug state 30 May severed ties with federal govt. Govt 13 May cancelled ongoing national high school exams citing discovery of cheating racket, prompting thousands of students to protest in capital. In Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab 12 May detonated car bomb, killing Turkish citizen; suicide car bombing near president’s residence killed four civilians 14 May; car bombing at security checkpoint 22 May killed at least nine including former FM Hussein Elabe Fahiye. In Middle Shabelle region in south, Al-Shabaab militants 6 May ambushed security forces killing four and clashes between security forces and Al-Shabaab militants 11 May left fifteen militants dead. Al-Shabaab 14 May kidnapped two local aid workers in Gedo region, Jubaland state; 16 May clashed with Somali forces in Gedo region, leaving at least seven militants and two soldiers dead. Fighting between Al-Shabaab and security forces in Middle Shabelle region 28 May left five militants dead. Senior Al-Shabaab leader Sidow Abdi Gedi 18 May contacted govt forces in Kismayo, Jubaland requesting to surrender. U.S. claimed its airstrikes killed eleven Al-Shabaab militants and nineteen Islamic State (ISIS)-Somalia militants 5-26 May. Relations between Somalia and Kenya continued to sour following flare-up over disputed maritime border; Kenya 10 May suspended direct flights between Mogadishu and Kenyan capital Nairobi until 9 Aug and 20 May denied entry to three Somali govt officials who travelled to Kenya on diplomatic passports. UN Sec-Gen Guterres 30 May appointed U.S. diplomat James Swan as new UN envoy to Somalia. UN Security Council 31 May renewed for one year mandate of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Clashes between security forces and protesters in capital Mogadishu left five civilians dead, as Al-Shabaab kept up attacks in Mogadishu and rural areas and could escalate insurgency in month of Ramadan starting 5 May. In Mogadishu, after police shot dead young rickshaw driver at checkpoint in Howl-Wadag 13 April, residents same day protested against govt; protests led to clashes between protesters and security forces, that left five civilians dead. President Farmajo accused opposition of orchestrating protests. In Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab car bombing near police academy 4 April killed at least one person; car bombing near police station and hotel 17 April killed four; unclaimed car bombing 22 April injured at least two civilians. In Lower Shabelle region in south-centre, following heavy fighting between army and Al-Shabaab in Sabid 1 April, govt forces seized truck loaded with explosives. In Bosaso town, Bari region, Puntland, at least six soldiers injured in roadside bombing 11 April; also in Bosaso unclaimed land mine targeting governor of Bari region 24 April injured at least three security guards. In Lower Juba, Hiraan, Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regions, suspected Al-Shabaab attacks 17-23 April killed a dozen Kenyan soldiers in African Union mission (AMISOM), seven Somali soldiers and one local official. Senior Al-Shabaab official Aden Abdi Mohamed “Aden Obe” 23 April surrendered near Bardhere in Gedo region in south. U.S. airstrikes continued, killing five Al-Shabaab militants four Islamic State (ISIS)-Somalia militants including deputy leader of ISIS-Somalia 9-26 April. Following late March allegations by NGO Amnesty International that U.S. airstrikes had caused civilian deaths, U.S. conducted internal review and 5 April for first time admitted that airstrikes in 2018 caused two civilian deaths. After Kenya mid-Feb recalled its envoy to Somalia and expelled Somali ambassador over maritime border dispute, officials from both countries in Nairobi 3 April agreed to allow ambassadors to return to station.
Al-Shabaab attacks continued in Mogadishu and rural areas, while govt stepped up diplomacy in bid to improve relations with neighbours and federal states. In Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab car bomb attack 7 March left four people dead; Al-Shabaab detonated suicide car bomb and stormed govt building 23 March, at least fifteen reported killed including assistant labour minister. Road side bomb same day killed three, including one soldier, at security checkpoint in Mogadishu. Car bomb 28 March exploded near restaurant and hotel, reportedly killing at least fifteen. In Middle Shabelle, Al-Shabaab land mine targeted African Union (AU) mission (AMISOM) military convoy in Balcad 16 March, no casualties. In Lower Shabelle, Al-Shabaab 27 March executed five, including three Kenyans, for allegedly spying for AMISOM and U.S. military and 31 March clashed with security forces backed by AU troops, after militants ambushed military checkpoint in Qoryoley; number of casualties unclear. U.S. continued airstrikes targeting Al-Shabaab: airstrike killed eight militants in Gambole area, Middle Shabelle state 8 March, according to local media; in Lower Shabelle state, airstrikes killed eight 11 March, two 12 March and three 18 March; and in Malayle, Jubaland state, airstrike killed three militants 13 March. NGO Amnesty International 20 March called on U.S. to investigate “credible evidence” its air strikes have killed numerous civilians. In Jubaland, PM Khayre 13 March met Jubaland’s state leader in Kismayo to discuss restoration of cooperation between federal govt and federal member state; parties agreed to end standoff. In Galmudug state, clan fighting erupted 18 March in Xeraale, leaving thirteen civilians dead. President Farmajo discussed strengthening regional peace and security with Ethiopian PM Abiy in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa 5 March and held talks with Kenyan President Kenyatta mediated by Abiy to restore diplomatic ties 6 March after dispute over maritime border escalated in Feb; parties failed to agree on how to settle dispute.
Al-Shabaab stepped up attacks in capital Mogadishu and rural areas, President Farmajo lobbied regional leaders to delay withdrawal of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as Burundi refused to withdraw troops as planned, and maritime border dispute with Kenya flared. In Mogadishu, suspected Al-Shabaab detonated car bomb 4 Feb killing nine; killed Deputy Attorney General 20 Feb; opened fire on street cleaners 25 Feb killing nine; and 28 Feb launched suicide bomb and gun attack near hotel and judge’s residence, killing at least 29, militants continued to exchange fire with security forces 1 March. In Middle Shabelle region in south, roadside bomb targeting AMISOM convoy in Balcad 16 Feb reportedly killed two soldiers. Al-Shabaab 20 Feb attacked Balcad, heavy casualties reported. Al-Shabaab 17 Feb attacked bases of Djibouti AMISOM troops in Jalalaqsi in Lower Shabelle, Djibouti forces 18 Feb retaliated, casualties undisclosed. In Jubaland state in south, roadside bombs 20 Feb targeted Ethiopian AMISOM convoy in Baardheere, no casualties reported. U.S. conducted at least five airstrikes on Al-Shabaab in Lower Shabelle and Hiran regions, killing over 90 militants. Farmajo met Burundian President Nkurunziza in Burundian capital Bujumbura 19 Feb to discuss planned withdrawal of 1,000 of some 5,400 Burundian troops from AMISOM by end-Feb. Farmajo and Nkurunziza, both opposed to withdrawal, 19 Feb called for summit of leaders of AMISOM troop contributing countries to revisit security transition plan. Burundi withdrew some 400 soldiers 21-23 Feb but refused to repatriate more, denouncing “injustice” of withdrawing only Burundian soldiers, claiming withdrawal would endanger remaining troops and threatening to withdraw all its troops. Farmajo visited Djibouti 19 Feb to ask for delay in withdrawal of Djibouti troops. Maritime border dispute with Kenya flared: Kenya 16 Feb claimed Somalia had auctioned offshore oil blocks in disputed maritime area at 7 Feb London conference, summoned its envoy to Somalia back to Kenya and expelled Somali ambassador; Somalia denied accusation and said it would not offer any blocks in disputed area for exploration until International Court of Justice had ruled on border dispute.
Federal govt expelled UN envoy to Somalia and Al-Shabaab continued attacks on Somali and international forces. Govt 2 Jan expelled UN Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Haysom accusing him of undermining Somalia’s sovereignty; Haysom had publicly questioned legal basis for arrest of South West state’s presidential candidate and former Al-Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow in Dec. UN said it would replace Haysom. Al-Shabaab 15 Jan attacked Ethiopian forces in African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) near Bur Hakaba in Bay region of South West state; casualties undisclosed. Al-Shaabab 19 Jan overran Somali army base in Sanjuni village, near port city Kismayo in south east, later claiming it killed 40 Somali forces; in response U.S. same day carried out airstrike on Al-Shabaab militants, killing 52. U.S. 23 Jan carried out two more airstrikes near Jilib, Middle Juba region in south east, casualties undisclosed. Suspected Al-Shabaab car bombing near petroleum ministry in capital Mogadishu 29 Jan killed at least two. U.S. airstrike near Shebeeley, Hiraan region 30 Jan killed 24 militants. Al-Shabaab militants 15 Jan launched terror attack in Kenyan capital Nairobi (see Kenya). Former federal planning minister Said Abdullahi Deni elected president of semi-autonomous Puntland 8 Jan.