Somalia President Mohamud welcomes end of UN arms embargo

Saturday December 02 2023

Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud speaks during the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government session at the United Nations climate summit in Dubai, UAE on December 1, 2023. PHOTO | AFP


Somalia's president welcomed Friday's decision by the UN Security Council to fully lift an arms embargo on the Somalian government, while maintaining a ban on sales to the country's Islamists militants.

The United Nations in 1992 imposed an embargo on all arms deliveries to Somalia, though in recent years the Security Council has eased restrictions on sales to the central government. 

"From now on, our country is free to purchase any sort of weapon we want from the world," Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said in a declaration late Friday. "Weapons in government hands will not pose threat to our people and to the world."

Read: S. Sudan, Somalia seek end of UN arms embargo

Friday's UN decision maintained the embargo on supplying weapons to the Islamist Al Shabaab and other rebel groups.

"This decision comes at a very crucial time as a nation and people since we are in a war to eliminate Kharijites (Al Shabaab) from the country," the National Intelligence and Security Agency said in a statement. "It comes at a time when efforts are ongoing to form an army capable of taking on the general security responsibility of the country."


After making initial gains, a government offensive launched in August 2022 against Al Shabaab has stalled, leading to doubts about the government's ability to quash the 16-year-old insurrection by the Al Qaeda-linked group.

The army operations, in alliance with clan militias, has been supported the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis) in recapturing vast areas of the territory.

Read: Region rallies to Somalia’s defence

Atmis was due to withdraw by the end of 2024, but the Somalian government has asked for a "technical pause" in the pullout. As a result, the mission is due to shrink from 17,626 soldiers now to 14,626 by the end of the year.