Somalia’s long-running armed conflict continues to leave civilians dead, wounded, and displaced in large numbers, although the Islamist armed group al-Shabaab lost ground in 2012. Both al-Shabaab and the forces arrayed against it—a combination of Somali government security forces, troops with the African Union Mission in Somalia, Ethiopian government forces, and allied militias—committed abuses, including indiscriminate attacks harming civilians and arbitrary arrests and detentions. In areas under its control, al-Shabaab administered arbitrary justice and imposed harsh restrictions on basic rights. Improving security remains a serious challenge for Somalia’s new government, which came to power in August, at the end of the political transition period.

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