Update May 2022

From Atrocities Watch Monitor N° 4, May 2022
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Violence in Somalia increased in April in the run up to the presidential elections in May. According to ACLED, 190 battles occurred in April 2022, more than in any month in 2021 or in the first three months of 2022. At the same time, the number of fatalities decreased.[1]

On 14 April, new parliamentarians were sworn in, paving the way for presidential elections.[2] The parliament was attacked on 18 April as the country’s newly elected lawmakers were meeting for the second time since taking office, there were some injuries but no fatalities. Six people were killed at a restaurant in the capital on 22 April, the blast targeted security officers and politicians of the government.[3] Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for both attacks.[4] The group has experienced a bit of a resurgence, exacerbated by political infighting in the government.

At the same time, the country is facing the threat of the worst drought in a generation. 25,468 people were displaced due to the drought in April.[5] An additional estimate 19,000 were displaced by conflict and insecurity.[6] Drought and need can force displacement, making women and girls more vulnerable to sexual violence and forcing children from school.[7] The intense need may increase the vulnerability of the population to mass atrocity.


After suffering through a near constant state of crisis since the fall of former dictator Siad Barre in 1991 and widespread violence under Al-Shabaab militants, the country managed to put in place a Federal Government through limited, indirect elections in 2012. In 2016, legislation passed allowing political parties for the first time since 1969. There was a peaceful transition of power in 2017 to the current president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmaajo, who was again elected indirectly. At the same time, the country made progress in reforming the security forces, judiciary and other key state institutions. This progress is now being undermined by the electoral crisis.

International Response:

At the start of April 2022, the AU Transition Mission in Somalia took over from the AU Mission in Somalia. The new set up is intended to give Somali authorities a stronger role in the management of the country’s security.[8]

On 7 April, the African Union representative, Francisco Madeira, was declared persona non grata by the country’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble because of “acts incompatible with his status,” President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed rejected the order.[9]

[1] ACLED data dashboard, https://acleddata.com/dashboard/#/dashboard

[2] Abdi Sheikh, “Somalia swears in lawmakers, paving way for presidential vote,” Reuters, 15 April 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/somalia-swears-lawmakers-paving-way-presidential-vote-2022-04-14/

[3] Reuters, “Six people killed in blast at restaurant in Somalia’s capital,” 22 April 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/six-people-killed-by-blast-restaurant-somalias-capital-ambulance-official-2022-04-22/

[4] Digital Journal, “WORLD: Shabaab claims mortar attack as Somalia’s new parliament meets,” 18 April 2022,


[5] UN OCHA, “Somalia: Drought Displacement Monitoring Dashboard,” April 2022, https://reliefweb.int/attachments/3404f73f-b4d8-4919-9b46-3c962cd1fb1f/20220516_Somalia_Drought%20Displacement%20Monitoring%20Dashboard-April.pdf

[6] UNHCR, “Somalia: Population Dashboard (1-30 April 2022), 12 May 2022, https://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/somalia-population-dashboard-1-30-april-2022

[7] UNICEF, “At least 10 million children face severe drought in the Horn of Africa – UNICEF,” 25 April 2022, https://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/least-10-million-children-face-severe-drought-horn-africa-unicef

[8] Musinguzi Blanshe, “Somalia: Uncertain Future as AMISOM transitions to ATMIS,” The Africa Report, 1 April 2022, https://www.theafricareport.com/190409/somalia-uncertain-future-as-amisom-transition-to-atmis/

[9] Reuters, “Sparring Somali leaders now at odds over expulsion of African Union envoy,” 7 April 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/somali-leaders-tussle-over-expulsion-african-union-envoy-2022-04-07/