| 2 March 2024, Saturday |

UN Security Council due to vote on lifting arms embargo on Somalia

More than thirty years after an arms embargo was originally placed on the nation, the UN Security Council is scheduled to vote on Friday to lift the last limitations on the provision of firearms to Somalia’s government and security forces, according to diplomats.

In order to stop the flow of weapons to rival warlords who had overthrown dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and sparked a civil war in the Horn of Africa, the council imposed an embargo on Somalia in 1992.

The 15-member body is due to adopt two British-drafted resolutions on Friday, diplomats said – one to remove the full arms embargo on Somalia and another to reimpose an arms embargo on Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab militants.

One of the draft resolutions spells out that “for the avoidance of doubt, that there is no arms embargo on the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia.”

It also expresses concern about the number of safe ammunition storage facilities in Somalia, and encourages the construction, refurbishment and use of safe ammunition depots across Somalia. It urges other countries to help.

Al Shabaab has been waging a brutal insurgency against the Somali government since 2006 to try to establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

Somalia’s government had long asked for the arms embargo to be removed so it could beef up its forces to take on the militants. The Security Council began to partially start lifting measures Somalia’s security forces in 2013.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said last week that Somalia has one year to expel al Shabaab, with the deadline for remaining African Union peacekeepers to leave looming next December.

  • Reuters