Somalia may be considered one of the longest standing failed states in the world today. Two decades of intermittent but fierce conflict, widespread fragmentation of society, climatic hazards, massive displacement and questionable international interventions have left Somalis in a very dire situation.
As a result of the past two decades of conflict, Somalia is now characterised by a significant displacement of populations, erosion of the rule of law and institutional collapse, a massive proliferation of small arms and light weapons, widespread use of landmines, in addition to high levels of food insecurity.
The vast amount of uncontrolled arms and ammunitions are accessible for the majority of the population; these help to sustain a culture of violence in which the use of weapons is seen as normal and legitimate. Consequently, the excessive use of force by one individual or groups against others, clan-based conflicts, piracy and the threat from militant Islamist groups are commonplace.
Danish Demining Group’s (DDG) operations in Somalia are focused in and around the Central and Southern states of Somalia. These include Southwest State, Jubaland, Hirshabelle, Puntland and Galmudug, focusing on Stabilization, Peacebuilding, Security and Governance, and Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA).
Puntland and Galmudug states/Galkayo area
DDG has been working in the town of Galkayo, split by a “green line” between the semi-autonomous State of Puntland in the North and the self-declared State of Galmudug which claims Galkayo’s Southern part. Since September 2018, DDG has been working in the districts of Saaxo, Towfiiq and Galkayo town, North and South in building confidence and trust between security service providers and communities, alongside initiating peacebuilding efforts between the conflicting communities of Puntland and Galmudug. These peacebuilding efforts are rolled out through Community Police Dialogue and Cooperation (CPDC) Committees/Forums which intend to bridge the gap between committees, local government officials and security providers.
Hirshabelle of Somalia contains the capital Mogadishu and as such is the epicentre of the Federal State Government. With this comes a host of security challenges alongside political wrangling. Regular shooting, targeted attacks against government officials and security forces, often sees Mogadishu experiencing regular VBIEDs, IED and shootings.
DDG is working in the greater Benadir region in both Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) delivering Mine Risk Education (MRE) to IDP settlements and supporting in the promotion of female leaders in Benadir region as a larger peacebuilding and stabilization programme. In Beletweyne, Jowhar and Warsheikh districts, DDG is rolling out the larger Somalia Security and Justice Programme (SSJP), which focuses on building trust between communities and security/justice providers, alongside building the capacity and accountability of security providers and justice systems in a rights-based approach.
Southwest State (SWS)
Southwest state occupies the border area with Kenya and Ethiopia, and as such sees regular cross border movement of IDPs and refugees. Al Shabab control pockets of the state and make great efforts to destabilize the area accordingly – however, with the presence of national state military alongside AMISOM forces, areas of SWS are accessible and bosting viable economic and urban hubs.
DDG’s work in SWS focus on three main projects, under Security and Governance, Stabilization and Humanitarian Mine Action. Teams operating out of Baidoa, Hudur and Wajid districts have set up Community Police Dialogue and Cooperation (CPDC) Forums, where communities and security providers come together to identify security issues in the area and identify local solutions to the problem. It through this approach that Community Policing, trust building and greater accountability have become the forefront of achieving stability in the area. Police training in rights-based approaches, Weapons and Ammunition Monitoring (WAM) and promotion of inclusive justice mechanisms work together to develop transparent and accountable local governance networks.
Following the most recent state elections, Jubaland is fractured down clan, political and economic lines. Clan conflict, warring militia between state and non-state actors have created an environment where Jubaland has become one of the more fragile areas of Somalia. With activities in the districts of Kismayo, Belet Hawa, Dollow, Luuq and in the greater Gedo region, DDG’s work focuses on Humanitarian Mine Action – training Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) to clearance teams in order to ensure they are compliant with International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), provide Mine Risk Education to those at risk of interacting with unexploded ordinance/remnants of war, while also working with the local security providers to be more accountable, effective and responsive to community needs.