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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Somalia works to stop violence.

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President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is working closely to restore peace in the segregated northern regions of Somaliland amid mounting tensions between authorities in the region and local clan forces. The leaders of Somaliland’s Sool, Sanaag and Cayn states, claimed independence from Somalia in 1991, announced their intention to rejoin Somalia after the outbreak. At least 80 people were killed and more than 185,000 displaced as fighting erupted around the town of Lascanoodin Sur last month, according to the United Nations.

With support from the US army, African Union (AU) forces and local assistance, Somalia’s army was able to regain swaths of territory from the armed group since launching its offensive last year. In January this year, government-led forces recaptured the port town of Harardhere, an al-Shabab stronghold on the Indian Ocean, marking one of the most significant victories of the offensive.

The threat of famine in Somalia has been present since the country went through five consecutive failed rainy seasons. It now faces a sixth. In an assessment last December, the UN estimated that eight million people were badly food insecure and that more than 700,000 could suffer famine between April and June this year if aid supplies are not increased. However, in its latest report in late February, UN experts said that while food insecurity remains “extremely critical”, they were no longer projecting famine.

President Mohamud also acknowledged the problem of gender-based violence by the Somali army. In 2021, two of his reports for the UN condemned an 80% increase in sexual violence in Somalia compared to 2019, a “worrisome” incident largely driven by al-Shabaab militants. But the report also highlights that government security forces are responsible for sexual violence in at least 15% of confirmed cases.

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