Somalia's army and government are committing human rights crimes – the Bundeswehr should not help the warlords

Controversy over the German Training Mission in Somalia

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns that the planned Bundeswehr Training Mission in Somalia should not help the warlords to gain influence in politics and society. Ulrich Delius, the STP's Africa-consultant, called for "more realism" in assessing the extremely tense situation in Somalia. On Wednesday, he declared in Göttingen: "The Bundeswehr should not take part in the training mission as long as Somalia's army and the government authorities are still involved in human rights violations. Of course, the radical Islamist Al Shabab militia are spreading terror, but the army and the government are not much better in their arbitrariness."

The STP criticizes that the warlords and their allied militias systematically expelled ethnic minorities from the south and the middle of the country in the course of the federalization of Somalia and the creation of larger regions since summer of 2013. Also, the army and the police were used to forcibly relocate tens of thousands of refugees who had sought refuge in the capital Mogadishu.27.000 refugees were expelled from Mogadishu in November and December of 2013 alone, in order to make room for the construction of new commercial buildings.

"No one can guarantee safety for the German soldiers in Mogadishu. In the coming weeks, the Somali army and the AMISON will lead a major offensive against the Al-Shabab militias – but they will most probably respond with more terrorist attacks in Mogadishu," warned Delius. Two terrorist attacks took place in Mogadishu on February 9 and 10 – and the deputy governor of the Lower Shabelle region was seriously injured in a car bomb attack. "Also, the fact that the mayor of Mogadishu, Mohamed Ahmed Nur Tarsan, demanded all arrested suspected al-Shabab supporters to be shot without a trial will not help to calm down the situation."

The authorities even punished Somali media that had reported on the expulsion of smaller clans in the region of Hiraan in the centre of the country. Thus, the TV broadcaster "Somali Channel Television" in Beletwein was turned off by the authorities on January 26, 2014, after the editors of the private television station had decided to broadcast information about clan fighting. More journalists were arrested and some were even detained for weeks because of their reports on the discrimination against smaller clans or on corruption within the government.