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1.1. Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) forces

Last updated: June 2022

In terms of territorial control, the FGS has made significant progress since 2010, when it controlled only a small district in Mogadishu. Since then, it has, with the essential support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), pushed Al-Shabaab out of many urban centres in South-Central Somalia. However, Al-Shabaab’s territorial control is described as ‘fluid’ and the organisation is still capable of carrying out ‘massive attacks’. The FGS and its federal security forces, the FMS forces, as well as other regional actors (state level darwish militias, clan militias, paramilitary groups, special police forces) all operate and at times are not aligned and may compete at regional level. [Actors, 2.2]

FGS security forces consist of four entities:

  • The Somali National Army (SNA)’s strength is evaluated above and around 20 000 soldiers. However, official numbers differ from de facto military capacity (estimated at 9 000 soldiers with fighting capability). [Actors, 2.4.1]
  • The Special Forces are constituted by the Danab Infantry Brigade, an advanced infantry battalion trained, equipped and mentored by the US, which is reportedly the only multiclan and meritocratic SNA unit that is able to conduct offensive operations, and the Gorgor Brigades, the Somali commando force trained by Turkish military assistance, reportedly used for political manoeuvring by the incumbent president and administration. [Actors, 2.4.2]
  • The National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) officially counts 3 200 agents. The security section carries out most of NISA’s operations against Al-Shabaab, resorting to its special units. NISA is present in Mogadishu, Benadir Region, South-West State, Hirshabelle, and Galmudug. [Actors, 2.4.3]
  • The Somali Police Force (SPF) has the responsibility for law enforcement and internal order. According to initial plans, the SPF was intended to number 32 000 staff, divided into federal police and (regional) state police. However, in 2020, the existing size of the SPF, including state-affiliated darwish (a paramilitary unit), was estimated at 8 000 staff. Darwish units of the Federal Police Force are tasked with border policing, protecting government infrastructures and personnel, providing assistance and relief in case of disasters, as well as to fight terrorism and armed insurgency within FMS. SPF provides policing services in Mogadishu, Benadir Region, while its presence remains relatively low in Hirshabelle, Galmudug, South-West State, and Jubbaland. [Actors, 2.4.4]

FGS security forces have committed a wide range of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, (conflict-related) sexual violence and enforced disappearances. The severe violation of rights of children by FGS forces, such as deprivation of liberty for alleged association with Al-Shabaab or ISS, child recruitment, sexual violence, killing and maiming, has been also reported. (Actors, 2.4)

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For further information on human rights violations committed by FGS forces and their relevance as potential exclusion grounds, see chapter Exclusion.