Somalia. In early January, UN envoy Nicholas Haysom was ordered to leave Somalia. The South African diplomat was accused by the government of interfering with the country’s internal affairs. In a letter to the security minister, Haysom had asked why UN-backed forces participated in the arrest of Muhktar Robow (also known as Abu Mansur), a defeated former high ranking leader of the Islamist terrorist organization al-Shabab. Robow was the favorite to win the presidential election in the Southwest State region, but was not allowed to stand and was subsequently arrested in the said campaign, which cost at least 15 civilians his life. The UN Security Council regretted the Somali government’s decision to oust Haysom but agreed to appoint a replacement. At the end of May, US diplomat James Swan was appointed.
The Islamist movement al-Shabab remained a major threat to security in the country and carried out several deadly attacks. One such outside a hotel in the capital Mogadishu in early March, which killed at least 20 people and killed hundreds, was followed a few weeks later by an attack on a government building, killing at least 15 people, including several policemen and the country’s Deputy Labor Minister. Other acts include the July attack on a hotel in the port city of Kismayu, where politicians and other influential people gathered to discuss upcoming regional elections. At least 26 people lose their lives. In the same month, Mogadishu Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman was among the at least 17 victims killed by a car bomb near the international airport in the capital. According to al-Shabab, 121 US soldiers were killed in an attack in September against a base 10 miles west of Mogadishu, where US experts train Somali military. The information was denied from the US.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of SOM in general and in geography as Somalia in particular.
A particularly bloody attack was carried out in Mogadishu at the end of December. At least 78 people, possibly over 90, were killed by a car bomb near a road construction. The majority of the victims were civilians and many of them were believed to be college students. The government blamed al-Shabab.
The United States, for its part, continued with its efforts to knock al-Shabab off the air, both with aircraft and drones. In January, more than 50 al-Shabab members will have been killed, and in March a further 25. After consistently asserting the opposite for a long time, the United States admitted in early April that there were also civilians among the victims.
In January, in the partially self-governing region of Puntland, Parliament voted for a new president among some 20 candidates, including incumbent President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali. After three rounds, it was clear that businessman Said Abdullahi Deni was elected new president. Even in the Jubaland region, the regional parliament elected president. Here, the incumbent President Ahmed Mohamed Madode was re-elected. Several opposition candidates were banned from running, and the Mogadishu central government refused to approve the election of Madode. However, there was no parliamentary election in Somaliland this year either. The election, which has been postponed several times, was scheduled to be held in March but will be released by the earliest by 2020. Somaliland proclaimed its independence in 1991, but this is not recognized by Somalia or the international community.
In mid-February, the Kenyan government called on Somalia’s ambassador to leave the country. At the same time, Kenya called home its ambassador from Mogadishu. This follows Kenyan accusations that Somalia had at the beginning of the month auctioned off the right to extract oil and natural gas in a disputed sea area between the two countries. As a result of the dispute, several Somali Catholics stopped importing the drug from Kenya. Various mediation attempts during the year resulted in the two countries approaching each other again. In September, a meeting was held between Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, in conjunction with the UN General Assembly opening its annual meetings. In November, the two heads of state met again, this time in Nairobi, and then agreed to normalize diplomatic relations between countries. The question of where the border should go to sea has previously been referred to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
In May, the Norwegian Refugee Council raised an alarm that close to 2 million people in Somalia were in urgent need of food assistance. A report from the organization in October indicated the number of people forced to leave their homes in January – September due to either drought or violent conflicts. Paradoxically, the middle part of the country was hit by severe flooding in November. At the end of the month, at least 17 people were reported killed, while 370,000 people were forced to flee due to high water levels.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Somalia in 2019 was 15,442,794, ranking number 73 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.900% yearly, and the population density was 24.6165 people per km2.