General overview of the security situation in the city of Mogadishu (2000-2002) [SOM40200.E]

In August 2000, a reconciliation process brokered by neighbouring Djibouti "culminated in the establishment of a government in Somalia, which [had] been ruled by feuding warlords since the overthrow of former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991" (AFP 5 Nov. 2000). A transitional national assembly in Arta, Djibouti, appointed Abdulkassim Salat Hassan, as president of Somalia (ibid. 20 Nov. 2000). However, the reconciliation process in Djibouti was opposed by the warlords, including Musa Sudi Yalahow, Hussein Mohamed Aidid, Osman Hassan Ali "Atto" and Hussein Haji Bod, who had hitherto controlled parts of Mogadishu, and who reportedly refused to recognize the new government (ibid., 8 Nov. 2000). Amnesty International reports that during 2001, the transitional national government (TNG) "was still recognized in only a fraction of the south of the country" (2002, 220).

Several reports indicate that in spite of the establishment of the TNG in Mogadishu in October 2000, insecurity persists in many parts of the country including Mogadishu (SACB 19 Sept. 2002; United States 19 June 2002; Afrol 8 May 2002; IRIN 28 Feb. 2002; United Nations 26 Nov. 2001; United Kingdom Apr. 2002).

According to the United Kingdom's Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND),

There can be long periods of relative stability in Mogadishu, but the political landscape of the city is complicated and can be fluid at times, with sudden changes. Security conditions vary widely in different areas of the city. While most areas are firmly under the control of one particular faction or another, there are also violent armed bandits who operate independently of the political clan factions. Economic conditions are difficult and the main air and seaports are closed because of factional disputes (ibid., para. 4.16).

In February 2002, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan reportedly stated that the security situation in Mogadishu was "too uncertain" to permit the UN's long-term presence there (IRIN 28 Feb. 2002).

In May 2002, the United Nations reportedly suspended "all its activities" in Mogadishu following the abduction in April of a local coordinator of the UNDP Capacity Building Project from his home in Mogadishu (Afrol News 8 May 2002). Afrol News claims that before the April abduction, a representative of the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, had been kidnapped in February 2002 by unidentified gunmen, but was later released without paying a ransom (ibid.).

In August 2002, the Xinhua News Agency reported that the security situation in Mogadishu was "worsening by the day as the freelance gangs and outlawed bandits" were "further tightening their grip on the defenseless civilians by killing some of them and abducting others" (6 Aug. 2002). Xinhua further stated that the situation was particularly dangerous for children and local aid workers (ibid.). In addition, the looting of public transport buses had also increased during the month of August and government forces had ostensibly not intervened to control the situation (ibid.).

At the beginning of September 2002, the United Nations reportedly pulled out all its international staff from Mogadishu "because of the security situation" (ibid., 3 Sept. 2002).

The Puntlandpost BBC reports that following "consistent and broad daylight attacks by armed gangsters," residents in some Mogadishu estates began forming their own armed vigilante groups with the aim of restoring security in their residential neighbourhoods (11 Sept. 2002).

In a 19 September 2002 update on the humanitarian situation in Somalia, the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) commented on "the dangerous operating environment and attitudes of local leaders," which were making it "extremely difficult" for the international community to have direct access to vulnerable communities in Mogadishu.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Afrol News. 8 May 2002. "UN Leaves Somalia, Again." [Accessed 4 Oct. 2002]

Agence France Presse (AFP). 20 November 2000. "Somalia's Peace Process Incomplete: Addis Ababa." (NEXIS)

_____. 8 November 2000. "Controversy Erupts in Somalia Over Armed Forces." (NEXIS)

_____. 5 November 2000. "Two Killed in Factional Violence in Somali Town of Baidoa." (NEXIS)

Amnesty International. 2002. Amnesty International Report 2002. New York: Amnesty International USA.

Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN). 28 February 2002. "Somalia: Mogadishu Still too Dangerous for UN, Annan." [Accessed 4 October 2002]

Puntlandpost [in Somali]. 11 September 2002. "Somalia: Mogadishu Residents Said Forming Armed Vigilante Groups." (BBC/Monitoring 11 Sept. NEXIS)

Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB). 19 September 2002. "SACB Consultative Committee, Humanitarian Update. 19th September 2002."

United Kingdom, Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), April 2002. "Country Assessment Somalia." [Accessed 4 Oct. 2002]

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 26 November 2001[Accessed 4 Oct. 2002]

United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 19 June 2002. "Somalia - Complex Emergency/Drought Situation Report #2 (FY2002) [Accessed 4 Oct. 2002]

Xinhua News Agency. 2 September 2002. "UN Plane Attacked in Somalia: Report." (NEXIS)

_____. 6 August 2002. "Security Situation in Somali Capital Worsening by the Day." (NEXIS)