Travelling to Somalia and within the country is incredibly dangerous and should never be done without armed security. As one of the most hostile countries in the world, overcome with a developing history of civil war, terrorism and famine, it is paramount that any plans to operate in the country are developed with an expert risk management team.

Despite humanitarian efforts over the past two decades, Somalia remains a country rife with conflict. From civil war in the 1980s to state collapse and clan factionalism in the 1990s, and now becoming home to a globalised ideological conflict, travelling to Somalia is incredibly dangerous and high risk.

Western people are only safe to travel in and around Somalia under the protection of armed guards. Our risk rating for Somalia is at a level five, which is the highest possible rating a country can have. Out of our analysis of 160 countries, Somalia is ranked number two, with higher numbers representing a better safety rating. This is due to the fact that Somalia is embroiled in civil war and as a failed state, barely functions outside of Mogadishu. The highest threat areas are the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, with acts of piracy and terrorism happening frequently.

Despite being granted autonomy in 1956, Somalia has failed to have a government that has arisen from a peace process and been able to establish legitimacy. For this reason, any interaction with government must be anticipated as being tainted by corruption. The nature of violence in Somalia is severe, with terrorist organisations such as al-Shabaab and ISIS operating to assert dominance.

There is a very high crime rate including murder, kidnapping and robbery, which has increased in severity following the emergence of a such Islamist movements. Moreover, piracy is of great concern and it is something armed security can help protect against when travelling to Somalia. In 2010, pirate attacks on ships hit a seven-year high with Somali pirates accounting for 49 of a total 52 ships seized.

It is still possible, however, to ensure safety when travelling to Somalia to pursue commercial operations. Measures and risk controls must be implemented in accordance with the SSI RM Security and Risk Management Plan for Somalia in order for this to happen. It is paramount that you engage expert opinion during the operational planning before your deployment to ensure the safety and security of your team and company.

For more information on recent events in Somalia and for a detailed analysis of risk indices, view our Somalia Country Brief here.