a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


Somalia Civil War

Years: 2006-2022
Battle deaths: 29,982 [1]
Non-state conflict, battle-deaths: 2,061 [3]
Onesided violence: 1,741 [2]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]

Published prior to 2013 | Updated: 2024-02-24 13:27:42


In the years after the first civil war Somalia was in periods without an effective government and conflicts continued albeit on a small scale. In 2000, a Transitional National Government (TNG) was elected followed by a new government in 2004 after a period of negotiations and establishment of a transitional constitution. The new government returned to Somalia in June 2005 but opted, citing security concerns, to establish its base in the city of Jowhar. This led to a war of words that temporarily split the government between a Jowhar and a Mogadishu faction. In early 2006, the two government factions met to reconcile their differences but when the parliament reconvened, it was decided that it should be based in the city of Baidoa until Mogadishu had become safer.

A network of local Islamic courts took control of Mogadishu in 2006, the courts' militia SICS (Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia) declared its opposition to the Ethiopian aid given to the Baidoa government. The constellation was later on reconstituted as ARS/UIC (Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia/Union of Islamic Courts).

In December 2006, the government army and its Ethiopian ally launched a large-scale offensive that in a few weeks pushed UIC out of Mogadishu and defeated the group.

Main Source: Uppsala Conflict Data Program (Date of retrieval: 2024-02-23) UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia, Uppsala University. Somailan govt. vs UIC https://ucdp.uu.se/statebased/749

AMISOM and the rise of al-shabaab

2007, the African Union Peace and Security Council, together with UN, authorized a peacekeeping mission to Somalia under the name of African Union in Somalia (AMISOM). The security situtation deteriorated quickly in Mogadishu with insurgents fighting street battles and making hit-and-run attacks.

UIC was succeeded by al-Shabaab, which was comprised of youth members of the Islamic Courts and emerging from anger towards the government of Somalia and Ethiopia's invasion. Their aim was to overthrow the government, expel foreign troops, install a system of governance based on Shari'a law, and to establish a "Greater Somalia". Al-Shabaab became the primary insurgent group in Somalia and the main opposition to the government forces. They managed to conquer large swaths of territory.

Since 2008, Al-Shabaab launched campaigns proving their ability to conduct deadly attacks which established them as the main opponent. Al-Shabaab's increasing ties with al-Qaida and receiving training in their camps led Al-Shabaab to carry suicide attacks against government and foreign forces. The largest attack which was perpetrated by the group occurred on 14 October 2017 when Al-Shabaab detonated a vehicle-borne suicide bomb in central Mogadishu which resulted in killing at least 512 people.

In 2012, the AU mandate for AMISOM changed into peace enforcement, which meant that the mission's new task was to fight Al-Shabaab directly to reduce the threat posed by them. Over time the presence of foreign troops in Somalia increased. United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) stepped up the intensity of their drone and air strikes against Al-Shabaab until 2020 when dramatically decreased its use of drone and air strikes against Al-Shabaab, following then-President Donal Trump's announcement of the withdrawal of the majority of the estimated 700 US military troops in Somalia from the country in December 2020

In 2022, the conflict between Al-Shabaab and the government of Somalia significantly increased in intensity compared to the previous years. Following Hassan Sheikh Mohamud assuming the presidential office after the May 2022 elections, he declared an all-out war against Al-Shabaab.

In response to the increasing attacks from the government forces, Al-Shabaab intensified their attacks against the government and security forces. The deadliest attack was a twin car bomb in the capital, Mogadishu, on October 29, resulting in the death of over 120 people. Furthermore, United States increased its air and drone strikes against Al-Shabaab compared to the previous year.

Main source: Uppsala Conflict Data Program (Date of retrieval: 2024-02-23) UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia, Uppsala University. Somalian Govt. vs al-Shabaab https://ucdp.uu.se/statebased/750

Additional sources:

Wikipedia Somali Civil War, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved 2024-02-23

Image: Av Peter Corless - Original, CC BY 2.5, Länk






Data Sources

[1] Battle deaths: UCDP23.1 (1989-2022) #337
Low: 26,664 High: 41,445

[2] UCDP One-sided Violence Dataset v. 1.4-2012, 1989-201123.1 including actors: Al-Shabaab / Government of Somalia
Low: 1,520 High: 1,932

[3] UCDP Non-State Conflict Dataset UCDP Non-State Conflict Dataset v. 2.5-2014, 1989-2013 (link)23.1 including dyads: ARPCT vs ARS/UIC / Al-Shabaab vs ONLF / Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca vs Al-Shabaab / Al-Shabaab vs Hizbul Islam / Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca vs Hizbul Islam / Mujahideen in the Golis Mountains vs Puntland State of Somalia / Al-Shabaab vs SVA / Khatumo administration vs Republic of Somaliland
Low: 1,912 High: 2,412

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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