Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Somalia, including kidnapping. There’s a high threat to western, including British, interests in Somalia, including Somaliland. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in crowded places, high-profile events, events involving government officials and in places visited by foreigners, such as hotels and restaurants
Al Shabaab, a proscribed terrorist group, and other groups opposed to the Somali government continue to carry out attacks in and around Mogadishu on an almost daily basis. Terrorist groups operating in Somalia have made threats against westerners and those working for western organisations in Somalia, including Somaliland. Methods of attack have included armed assaults, suicide bombings, car bombings, explosions, gun attacks, mortar attacks, improvised explosive devices and the bombing of a commercial aircraft. Further attacks could occur at any time. There have been no major terrorist attacks in Somaliland since 2008. While attacks occur less frequently in Somaliland, the threat from terrorism there remains severe. Attacks have previously been targeted at government officials and institutions, hotels, restaurants and public transport including the international airport.
There is a threat of kidnapping throughout Somalia, including in regions bordering Kenya and Ethiopia, and in Somaliland. Both terrorists and criminal groups, including piracy groups, are involved in hostage-taking. A number of western nationals, including British nationals, have been kidnapped in Somalia over the last 10 years and some have been killed. Those engaged in humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors are viewed as legitimate targets. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.
If you’re working or travelling in Somalia, including in Somaliland, you should be aware of the risk of kidnapping. You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, including when travelling, in crowded public places, camps for displaced people, religious gatherings and places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants and transport hubs. You should make sure you have carefully considered the threat and have reasonable, proportionate mitigation measures in place.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage-takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.