Last updated: August 2023
Al-Shabaab targets and carries out attacks and assassinations on members of Somali government or SNA and other individuals perceived to have links with the government and/or international actors. [Targeting, 6., p. 85]
Following the religious doctrine of Al-Shabaab, the Somali government is considered as illegitimate and as acting outside the boundaries of Islamic laws. When referring to Somali federal or local government officials and those allied with the state, Al-Shabaab uses the terms non-Muslims, apostates (murtad) or infidels (kafir). Individuals associated with the Somali government or the military can be targeted, punished, killed or humiliated, no matter where they live. Although low-ranking government officials may not generally be a priority target for Al-Shabaab, there have been reported attacks and killings of people serving food to a civil servant or washing a soldier’s uniform, etc. [Targeting, 6., p. 86]
Al-Shabaab has carried out targeted attacks on forces and buildings linked to the government and other facilities in areas controlled by the government, often using IEDs, including IEDs attached to vehicles of civil servants, police and lone army officers, or assassinating such persons with targeted shooting. [Targeting, 6., p. 87]
Al-Shabaab has carried out attacks targeting civilian infrastructure, including restaurants and hotels. Some hotels, serving as homes or workplaces of senior government officials are, as such, considered by the group as government buildings. [Targeting, 6., p. 86]
These attacks have occurred in a variety of settings and locations, though most attacks have been reported in urban areas of South-Central Somalia and Puntland, with those targeted having a variety of profiles in terms of rank, function, profession and age. [Targeting, 6., p. 85]
Al-Shabaab has limited capacity to carry out attacks in Somaliland because it has only a small presence there and not necessarily the support of the local population [Targeting, 6.1., p. 90].
In some instances, the risk assessment for the profiles below has been differentiated to reflect this. It should be noted that some sections have been updated in this regard to introduce a clarification in the geographical scope of the assessment. This should not be viewed as a change in the actual assessment of the situation in comparison to the common analysis and guidance from June 2022.
The sub-profiles below should be read in conjunction with this Overview.