In Somalia, UNMAS ensures that people are safer and more secure due to the increased ability of Somali national authorities and security services to reduce the threat posed by explosive ordnance (EO), including improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Since 2009, UNMAS has supported the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), now the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), by delivering tailored training in explosive-threat mitigation and carrying out pre- and post-deployment briefings. Since January 2022, UNMAS has supported training over 13,400 troops and facilitated the movement of over 850 ATMIS convoys, especially along main supply routes. In addition, UNMAS is deploying explosive detection dog (EDD) teams to enhance the safety and security of strategic UN and Government premises. To support stabilisation efforts, UNMAS has identified and cleared over 110 locations contaminated by explosive hazards and assessed close to 3,650 km of road. Moreover, UNMAS carried out more than 420 village assessments and close to 370 road assessments along main supply routes supporting ATMIS operations. UNMAS uses Risk Education Talking Devices, an innovative solution to reach communities in remote locations and marginalised groups. More than 62,000 people received risk education, of whom more than ⅔ (74% almost ¾) of the beneficiaries were children.
Over the past years, IEDs have been the weapon of choice of armed groups, used against Somali Security Forces (SSF) and ATMIS. However, while the SSF and ATMIS remain the most frequently targeted by IEDs, the threat disproportionately impacts civilians, who made up 61% of all IED-related casualties since 2022. Additionally, decades of armed conflict left behind a legacy of explosive ordnance, including landmines, explosive remnants of war, and a proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Both pose a significant risk to local populations and negatively impact peacebuilding and state-building activities.
Mandated by UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 2657 (2022), UNSCR 2628 and UNSCR 2632 (2022), UNMAS is an integrated component of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), providing IED threat mitigation initiatives critical to the successful transition of security responsibilities from ATMIS to the SSF.
UNMAS provides policy and technical advice to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the Federal Member States on explosive ordnance threat reduction, weapons and ammunition, and obligations under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Convention pursuant to the UNSOM mandate. UNMAS also oversees operational explosive ordnance threat mitigation support to ATMIS and the SSF under the UNSOS mandate, which supports the implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan and ensures the freedom of movement and resilience of ATMIS and SSF, the safety and security of critical infrastructures such as airports and major routes, UN personnel and assets, and the local populations.
Support to the Safety and Security of ATMIS and Mission Personnel:
Aligned with the Action for Peacekeeping priorities, UNMAS contributes to mitigating the IED threat by enhancing a sustainable EOD and IED threat mitigation capacity within ATMIS. UNMAS provides explosive threat mitigation support to ATMIS Troop Contributing Countries through pre-deployment and in-country training courses, mentoring, advisory services and the provision of specialised equipment to enable force protection and mobility.
Enhancement of the National Capacity:
UNMAS enhances national capacities through training, mentoring, and the provision of equipment to the SSF, including the Somali Police Force (SPF) and the Somali National Army (SNA). UNMAS enables EOD and IED threat mitigation in line with the Somalia Transition Plan, which calls for the gradual transition of security responsibilities from ATMIS to the SSF.
Protection of Civilians:
In coordination with the Somali Explosive Management Authority (SEMA), UNMAS contributes to the protection of civilians in contaminated areas by conducting humanitarian mine action activities such as survey, clearance, and risk education, thereby restoring access to land and enabling the resumption of livelihood, employment and increased humanitarian access.
Management and Storage of Weapons and Ammunition:
UNMAS also advises the FGS in managing weapons and ammunition in line with Sanctions obligations under the partial lifting of the arms embargo. UNMAS facilitates the effective management and storage of weapons and ammunition to reduce the risk of unplanned explosions and the proliferation and diversion of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition.
UNMAS is funded by UNSOM, UNSOS and through contributions from Japan, the United States, and the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). UNMAS is seeking additional resources to enhance the operational and institutional capacities of the SSF and SEMA.
Data as of February 2023