Matthew Bryden

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Matthew Bryden
Born United Kingdom
Residence Nairobi, Kenya (2008-present)
Hargeisa, Somalia (1996-2008)
Nationality Canadian
Other names Matt Bryden
Alma mater Upper Canada College
King's College London
Occupation Director at Sahan Research
Known for Horn of Africa political analysis
Children 3

Matthew Bryden is a Canadian political analyst. He worked for several aid and political organizations in Somalia after witnessing the conditions in the region during his leave from the Canadian military in 1987. He served as the Coordinator for the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG) from 2008-2012. He is now a Director at a think tank, Sahan Research.

Early life[edit]

Matthew Bryden was born in the UK and grew up in Canada.[1][2] He attended Upper Canada College in Toronto, where he graduated in 1985.[3] Bryden joined the Canadian Forces Reserve[4] and became interested in African aid programs after visiting the region during a military leave in 1987.[5]


Bryden was hired by the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) program in January 1988[5] and the following year joined the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Berbera, Somalia.[6] He was reassigned to Nairobi, Kenya in August 1990, when the UN evacuated non-essential staff.[7]

In 1992, Bryden was appointed Special Advisor to the Canadian Ambassador on Somali Affairs. He led the War-torn Societies Project (WSP) from 1996 to 2003[4] and in the two years following acted as the Horn of Africa Director for the International Crisis Group (ICG).[4] From 2007 to 2008, he served as an adviser on Somali affairs for the United States Agency for International Development USAID and the US embassy.[4]

In 2008, Bryden was appointed Coordinator of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG), which monitored violations of an arms embargo introduced in 1992.[8] According to journalist Robert Young Pelton, under Bryden's tenure the SEMG's reports "took on a bizarre and voluminous tone accusing both friend and foe of violations." This included allegations that the United States violated the embargo for anti-terrorist missile strikes and an incident where two journalists were detained under suspicions of being mercenaries.[8] Bryden said he considered any munitions delivered to Somalia to be a breach of the embargo.[8]

Bryden accused then Puntland President Abdirahman Farole and other government officials of being on the payroll of pirate gangs.[9] Abdirahman Farole in turn accused Bryden of using his position at the SEMG to create inflated reports of munitions in the neighboring regions of Somaliland in order to support his interest in the secession of Somaliland. He noted Bryden was married to a well-connected woman from the region's dominant, Isaaq clan.[10] In 2012 a report by the SEMG was leaked accusing Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of corruption and Ahmed responded in July by saying Bryden was "against peace in Somalia."[11] That summer Bryden was no longer with the UN.[12]

Bryden is now considered a leading authority on the insurgency in Somali.[13][14] As of 2013, Bryden was serving as a Director at Sahan Research, an independent Nairobi-based think tank.[15][16]

Personal life[edit]

Bryden is married with three children and, as of 2010, lives in Nairobi, Kenya.[17][18] Bryden speaks fluent Somali[1] and holds a Somaliland passport.[19]



  1. ^ a b Michelle Shephard (2011). Decade of Fear: Reporting from Terrorism's Grey Zone. Douglas & McIntyre. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-1-55365-659-3. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Michael Maren (24 November 2009). The Road to Hell. Free Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-4391-8841-5. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Upper Canada College (2000). "Summer 2000" (PDF). Old Times (Summer). Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Speakers' Biographies" (PDF). Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Michael Maren (24 November 2009). The Road to Hell. Free Press. pp. 182–183. ISBN 978-1-4391-8841-5. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Michael Maren (24 November 2009). The Road to Hell. Free Press. pp. 183–184. ISBN 978-1-4391-8841-5. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  7. ^ Michael Maren (24 November 2009). The Road to Hell. Free Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-1-4391-8841-5. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Pelton, Robert (September 20, 2012). "Hijacked". Foreign Policy. Retrieved September 2, 2013.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "one" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  9. ^ Gunmen, Fish and Puntland: the Professionalization of Piracy?, Piracy Studies: Academic Research on Maritime Policy 
  10. ^ James Fergusson (28 May 2013). The World's Most Dangerous Place: Inside the Outlaw State of Somalia. Da Capo Press, Incorporated. pp. 72–. ISBN 978-0-306-82158-5. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "UN Monitoring Group is against peace in Somalia, says President Sharif". Garowe Online. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  12. ^ Hanners, David (October 19, 2012). "Weakened Somali terror group may step up recruitment, fundraising here, experts say". Twin Cities (Pioneer Press). Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  13. ^ "4 Kenyan attack suspects named as probe proceeds". October 5, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013. Matt Bryden, the former head of the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea and a top expert on al-Shaba 
  14. ^ The Chicago Tribune,0,4720127.story?page=2. Matt Bryden, one of the world's leading scholars on the Somali insurgency  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Fletcher, Pascal; Drazen Jorgic (May 26, 2013). "Analysis: Africa defense force never more needed but still a paper tiger". Reuters. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Somali president names political newcomer as PM, urges unity". Reuters. October 6, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  17. ^ Upper Canada College (2011). "Class Notes". Old Times. Summer/Fall. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  18. ^ "War-torn societies project in practice" (PDF). War-torn Societies Project. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  19. ^ Young, Robert (July 28, 2011), "Latest UN Monitoring Report Released", Somalia Report, retrieved September 2, 2013