The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Somalia, including Somaliland except for the cities of Hargeisa and Berbera to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel. Any British nationals in areas of Somalia to which the FCO advise against all travel should leave. Any British nationals in Hargeisa or Berbera who are not on essential travel should leave.
Any British national visiting Hargeisa or Berbera should exercise a heightened level of vigilance and take care in public places where people gather. Monitor local and international media to avoid any demonstration or disturbance taking place. Leave any area of unrest quickly and don’t attempt to watch or photograph it.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Somalia. There is a high threat of kidnap throughout Somalia. Terrorist groups have made threats against westerners and those working for western organisations. There is a constant threat of terrorist attack in Mogadishu and terrorists continue to plan attacks against westerners in the rest of Somalia including Somaliland.
On 14 October 2017 a large truck bomb exploded in central Mogadishu (Hodan District). This was Somalia’s deadliest ever terror attack with over 300 killed and hundreds more injured.
Terrorist attacks could be indiscriminate, including in crowded places, high-profile events, events involving government officials and in places visited by foreigners. Due to their use by government officials, hotels are considered legitimate targets by terrorist groups. See Terrorism
There is a high threat of maritime crime in the territorial and international waters off Somalia and attack remains a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. See Sea travel
All areas across Somalia are suffering food shortages resulting in the displacement of thousands of Somali people including those caused by Tropical Storm Sagar in the north and flooding in the south. See Local travel
The British Embassy in Mogadishu is unable to provide consular assistance. If you’re in Somalia (including Somaliland) and need urgent help from the UK government (eg if you’ve been arrested or you’re concerned about forced marriage), contact the British High Commission in Nairobi. If you’re in the UK and are concerned about a British national in Somalia, call the FCO on 020 7008 1500.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
Safety and security
There is a dangerous level of criminal activity by armed militia throughout Somalia. There have been murders, armed robbery and a number of incidents of kidnapping. There are regular outbreaks of inter-clan violence throughout Somalia.
British government officials serving in Somalia live and work under strict security rules. All British officials live in secure, guarded accommodation and travel with close protection teams at all times.
Humanitarian needs are great in Somalia, with over 5.4 million people in need of assistance. Displaced people living in settlements and other vulnerable groups will remain ‘food insecure’.
The displacement and overpopulated refugee camps may lead to a significant increase in disease, increased risk of crime over food security and a heightened security threat to foreigners.
There is a high threat of maritime crime in the territorial waters and international waters off Somalia. Recent attacks off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden highlight that the threat of piracy related activity and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean remains significant. Reports of attacks on local fishing dhows in the area around the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa continue. The combined threat assessment of the international Naval Counter Piracy Forces remains that all sailing yachts under their own passage should remain out of the designated High Risk Area or face the risk of being hijacked and held hostage for ransom. For more information and advice, see our Piracy and armed robbery at sea page.