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The Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea remains concerned by the continuing flow of illicit weapons into Somalia, particularly by way of the north coast of Puntland.Limited access inhibits the Group’s ability to verify the frequency and volume of deliveries, but evidence collected suggests a rate of approximately one shipment of weapons a month into Puntland alone, arriving predominantly from Yemen.Despite modest improvements, flaws in weapons and ammunition management on the part of the Federal Government remain, particularly with respect to the distribution and tracking of materiel.Given the vulnerability of the system to diversion, and the threat this poses to peace and security, particularly amid ongoing tensions between the centre and periphery, the Monitoring Group recommends no further easing of the arms embargo.The ISIL faction briefly took control of the town of Qandala, on the north coast of Puntland, and carried out its first suicide attack, in Bosaso.While its capacity has remained limited, an influx of foreign fighters fleeing military pressure in Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic and elsewhere could present a significant threat to the region.In June, Al-Shabaab also began an aggressive campaign of child recruitment, forcing hundreds of children into the group’s madrasa system.
Throughout its first six months in office, the administration has faced multiple challenges.
On 2 January 2017, in Mogadishu, Al-Shabaab detonated what was likely the largest improvised explosive device in the group’s history.
Laboratory analysis of the blast revealed traces of potassium nitrate, suggesting that Al-Shabaab may have begun to manufacture home-made explosives.
Regional administrations, numerous Members of Parliament and parts of the influential Mogadishu business community have openly opposed this stance.
Meanwhile, the militant group Harakaat al-Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin (Al‑Shabaab) continues to pose the most immediate threat to peace and security in Somalia.
Relations between the Federal Government and the country’s regional administrations have been strained by the Government’s apparent backtracking on commitments to devolve power to the regions under a new national security architecture and by a continuing lack of consensus regarding aspects of resource governance.