Arms Flows and the Conflict in Somalia

Issue:Global militarisation

A new SIPRI report highlights the limitations of United Nations attempts to control the flows of arms into Somalia, and the role of potential arms-supplying states.

In Somalia, the UN has imposed arms embargoes designed to prevent rebel groups from accessing arms. In addition, countries wanting to send arms and ammunition to government forces must notify specially created Sanctions Committees―which, in the case of Somalia, has the authority to block the transfer.  This report show that enforcing these embargoes has proved problematic. And even arms supplies that do not violate the embargoes can have undesirable consequences.

‘Arms flows and the conflict in Somalia’ examines arms supplies to Somalia and to African countries that have been involved in the conflict there: Eritrea and Ethiopia―two states that are widely believed to be fighting a proxy war in Somalia―and Burundi and Uganda, which provide peacekeepers to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). 

As the paper shows, there is a real risk that arms supplied to Somali government forces and the AMISOM contributors could fall into the wrong hands and could be used in human rights abuses or aggravate tensions between Eritrea and Ethiopia.


Author: Pieter D. Wezeman

Source: SIPRI

Image source: Michael