Briefing the Security Council on the situation in Somalia, the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Catriona Laing today (19 Oct) said, “conflicts in Somalia continue to take a heavy toll on civilians,” and last year saw “the largest increase in civilian casualties since 2017.”

Laing said, “early data indicate a similar trend in 2023, with 1,289 civilian casualties recorded so far” and noted that “this is partly attributable to Al Shabaab attacks but also the conflict in Laascaanood.”

She told the Council that Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud directed a military campaign against Al Shabaab in Dhusamareb, capital of Galmudug state, from 5 August until 8 October.

Laing said, “despite initial success when the Somali National Army and allied clan militias took significant territory, setbacks and operational challenges have been faced since. 

Government forces are now focused on regrouping, reinforcing, and reorganising, as well as mobilising additional support from clans, before resuming large-scale operations.”

She said that currently, the situation in Laascaanood was “calm” after the escalation on 25 August when Dhulbahante militias advanced toward the town of Oog, “and people are returning home.”

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