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Illegal Toxic Waste Dumping in Bosaso, Somalia

Ilaria Alpi was investigating the illegal waste dumping and weapons trade in Bosaso for the Italian RAI when she was murdered in 1993 before being able to submit a report exposing the crimes.


As early as 1989 under the former regime, Somalia has been a dumping ground for radioactive waste. The waste issue grew dramatically after the Somali civil war in the 1990s when European companies turned to Somalia, newly without a stable government, for an extremely cheap place to get rid of their toxics, such as industrial, hospital, and nuclear wastes full of radioactive heavy metals. Fees cost as little as $2.50 per ton compared to European dumping fees of $250 per ton. Such dumping causes many health hazards for locals, who have suffered from internal bleeding, skin infections, radiation poisoning, and other ailments [4]. More information on the background of Somalia’s waste dumping problem and its effects on the population can be found in the countrywide case

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Illegal Toxic Waste Dumping in Bosaso, Somalia
State or province:Bari
Location of conflict:Bosaso
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Nuclear waste storage
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Specific information about the Bosaso waste and arms trade were lost along with Alpi and Krovatin’s deaths. General information can be found at

Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:290,000
Start of the conflict:20/12/1992
Company names or state enterprises:Somali High Sea Fishing Company from Somalia
'Ndrangheta from Italy
Relevant government actors:Italian military secret service
Italian-Somali Chamber of Commerce
Italian Parliament
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Radiotelevisione Italia (RAI):
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Genetic contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Court decision (undecided)
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Alpi and Krovatin were killed before they could submit a report exposing the illegal waste and arms trade and calling attention to put a stop to it. The Italian government did not take investigation seriously and continues to give mobilizing groups demanding justice for the incident a hard time.
Sources & Materials

[2] The Herald. Fresh Accusations in Toxic Waste Scandal (2009)
[click to view]

[3] ANSA English. Somali wrongly convicted in Alpi case gets 3 mn euros (2018)
[click to view]

[12] il Post. L’omicidio di Ilaria Alpi e Miran Hrovatin in Somalia, 25 anni fa (2019)
[click to view]

[7] Euronews. History of Ilaria Alpi (2012)
[click to view]

[8] Conflitti Dimenticati. Ilaria Alpi: ecco perchè è morta (last accessed 7.2.20)
[click to view]

[9] Avvenire. Ilaria Alpi e Miran Hrovatin, 25 anni di misteri (Birolini 2019)
[click to view]

[10] AGI. L'indagine sulla morte di Ilaria Alpi rischia di essere archiviata (Coppola 2019)
[click to view]

[11] Il Fatto Quotidiano. Ilaria Alpi e Miran Hrovatin, la pista che porta a Gladio e i messaggi in codice (Scalettari 2019)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Song: Pooh - Reporter
[click to view]

[1] Animated film: The Ilaria Alpi Affair (2002)
[click to view]

[5] News coverage: Secret files into killing of Italian journalist set to be declassified (2015)
[click to view]

Song: Gang - Chi ha uccisco Illaria Alpi?
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Dalena Tran, ICTA, [email protected]
Last update07/03/2020
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