UN Security Council Extends Somalia Sanctions Amid Protests

The UN Security Council on Monday night endorsed an extension of sanctions on Somalia for another year, in spite of calls by Mogadishu to take charge of its own security reform.

Resolution 2607/2021 extends sanction regime 751 on Somalia, which have been in place for nearly 30 years, and have been amended by subsequent resolutions.

The Monday resolution means that the UN Security Council will extend further controls on Somalia’s arms purchases to control smuggling of weapons, as well as regulating exemptions.

Kenya was among the 13 (of the 15-member Council) that endorsed the resolution, with China and Russia abstaining from the vote.

“By seeking and voting for these changes, Kenya expresses her continuing support of efforts to degrade the capacity of al-Shabaab to undertake its dangerous activities in the region that include terror attacks, recruitment and radicalisation into terrorism, and exploitation of Somali’s financial system to generate illegal revenue for terrorism financing,” said a statement explaining Nairobi’s stand.

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The resolution was drafted by the UK and promised to support Somalia’s rebuilding project, including equipping of security forces and curtailing sources of funds and weapons for militant group al-Shabaab.

It expands protection to ‘maritime awareness’, tighter controls on financial transactions as well as illicit practices like charcoal selling and sale of materials used to make home-made explosive devices.

Ahead of the vote on sanctions, Somalia had been calling for an end to arms purchases as one way of allowing its military to reequip. Somalia has also opposed plans to extend the stay of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) or turn it into a hybrid Mission that will still include having troops and technical experts in the country.

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Extending sanctions and changing the nature of Amisom are among the key decisions the Council is set to make before the end of the year.

In extending sanctions, the Council said Somalia’s state rebuilding had been hijacked by al-Shabaab, including infiltration in local institutions. It says the group must be targeted beyond the land as they have also exploited “maritime flows” and trafficked in licit and illicit goods that may finance terrorist activities in Somalia.

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