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Last update: August 2023

Both Al-Shabaab and ISS have targeted members of the federal and state armed forces, however, this sub-profile focuses on individuals targeted by Al-Shabaab.

This sub-profile should be read in conjunction with the 3.2.1. Overview.

COI summary

SNA members have been a primary target for Al-Shabaab. Army officers, including high-ranking army officials, military officers of lower or unspecified rank, and regular soldiers, have been targeted by Al-Shabaab [Targeting, 6.2. pp. 91-92].

Attacks against such officials have taken place in Puntland, where Al-Shabaab has steadily become stronger, and in South-Central Somalia [Targeting, 6.1., p. 88].

Examples of attacks against members of the armed forces include the attack in Benadir of a seaside restaurant frequented by security officials [Security 2023, 2.3.3., p. 117], a twin attack in Hiraan, among the victims of which were several security officials [Security 2023, 2.4.1., p. 126], the attack on a restaurant in Middle Shabelle frequented by security officials [Security 2023, 2.4.2., p. 133].


Conclusions and guidance 

   Do the acts qualify as persecution under Article 9 QD?   

For members of armed forces, certain risks are inherent to their duties and the activities they take part in, and those would not amount to persecution or serious harm. However, risks outside the performance of their duties, could be of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. targeted killing outside of fighting).

   What is the level of risk of persecution (well-founded fear)?   

In South-Central Somalia, well-founded fear of persecution would in general be substantiated in the case of members of the federal and state armed forces.

There is limited information with regards to targeting members of the federal and state armed forces specifically in Puntland. The individual assessment of whether there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, such as: nature of duties, visibility of profile and proximity to high level federal or state officials or members of the armed forces, time of service, etc. The increasing operational capacity of Al-Shabaab in Puntland in relation to the area of origin of the applicant should be carefully taken into consideration.

In Somaliland, where the group has limited operational capacity, the risk of persecution for members of the federal and state armed forces is generally low. However, risk-impacting circumstances (e.g. visibility of profile, the rank, the time of service, nature of duties, area of origin and operational capacity of Al-Shabaab) should be given due consideration.

   Are the reasons for persecution falling within Article 10 QD (nexus)?   

Available information indicates that persecution of this profile is highly likely to be for reasons of religion and/or (imputed) political opinion.


Exclusion considerations could be relevant to this profile (see chapter 7. Exclusion).


See other topics concerning persons associated with the government of Somalia and/or international actors: