Report on fact-finding mission to Somalia: The situation in Mogadishu is unstable


Two researchers from the Country Information Service of the Finnish Immigration Service visited Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, on a fact-finding mission in the beginning of March 2020. The report from the mission has now been published.

The purpose of the fact-finding mission was to gather current information about the security situation and the humanitarian conditions in Mogadishu. During the mission, the researchers also inquired into the functioning of traffic connections from Mogadishu to the southern and central parts of the country and investigated the clan structure of the capital. The visit strengthened the researchers’ local contact and cooperation network.

The previous fact-finding mission to Somalia took place in January 2018.

Security conditions in Mogadishu still unstable

Although a large number of persons have returned to the city during the previous years, the current security situation in Mogadishu is unstable and unpredictable.

The main actor creating instability is the Islamist terrorist organization al-Shabaab. Although the Somali regime and security forces in principle are in control of the capital, al-Shabaab has a very strong position. Despite large-scale security arrangements, the organization is able to operate in all parts of the city and causes violent incidents almost on a daily basis.

Al-Shabaabs violent attacks are mainly directed at the Somali security forces, representatives of the Somali regime, actors supporting and cooperating with the regime, and international actors, such as the AMISOM troops and the UN. However, also civilians are constantly killed in attacks by the organization.

Difficult humanitarian conditions

The humanitarian conditions in the capital are difficult. The most central problems have to do with rapidly fastening urbanization, urban poverty, unemployment and the lack of education and health services. There are also underlying health reasons for the problems: chronic cholera, diarrhoea and malnutrition.

When considering the humanitarian conditions, the persons in the weakest position in Mogadishu are internally displaced persons. There are hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons in the capital. As they do not belong to the dominating clans of the capital, it is difficult for them to integrate into the communities in the capital, and they have to settle in camps, where the living conditions are bare and difficult.

The report from the fact-finding mission can be read on our website (in Finnish).

Effects of the coronavirus on the fact-finding missions

The researchers managed to visit Somalia right before the coronavirus pandemic prevented all travelling. For the time being, the Finnish Immigration Service does not conduct fact-finding missions. However, information about countries is acquired in many other ways. Other sources include for instance the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), research institutes, and the country information services of other countries.

The Finnish Immigration Service always uses up-to-date country information when making decisions. The researchers at the Country Information Unit do not participate in the decision-making.

The fact-finding missions are part of the FAKTA project, which has received EU funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

Facts: Research-based information on the situation in countries to support decision-making

  • The Country Information Unit of the Finnish Immigration Service collects country of origin information, which is used to support decision-making particularly in the case of applications concerning international protection.
  • More information about our country information can be found in the information bank on our website.
  • Read more about the work of the country information researchers in our newsroom (in Finnish).



Concerning country information about Somalia: Researcher Riku Santaharju, email:, tel. +358 295 433 782

General information on the FAKTA project: Satu Ruotsalainen, Project Manager, email:, tel. +358 295 433 321


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The Finnish Immigration Service is a decision-making organisation in matters related to immigration, asylum, refugee status and citizenship and maintains the reception system.

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