Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 12, 2011

Yemen: Fighting between Yemeni security forces and AQAP kills 13 people; JMP asks GCC to provide timeframe for Saleh’s resignation; Secretary of State Clinton stands by GCC initiative

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab carries out shari’a punishment; Rwanda pledges to support Somalia; Somali police chief says TFG is committed to pushing al Shabaab out of Mogadishu; clan leaders accuse Somali Speaker of Parliament of seeking to demolish the TFG; Ethiopian military detains eight buses to collect tax; UNSC votes to establish special courts and universal laws to combat piracy

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Yemeni Defense Ministry released a statement reporting that security forces killed 11 al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Mudia district in Abyan governorate. The clash killed two Yemeni soldiers and wounded five others. The statement added that two foreigners were killed and several others were wounded.[1]
  • A spokesman for Yemen’s opposition bloc, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), Mohammed Qahtan, said that the JMP was concerned that the GCC-mediated plan did not specify a timeframe for President Saleh’s resignation. Qahtan said, “The Gulf states need to clarify the meaning of the transition of power...We have not received (a date), we are awaiting their call, (to see) if there is a new suggestion from them.”[2]
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed President Saleh’s willingness to relinquish power and urged the GCC to provide a specific timeframe and roadmap for Saleh’s transfer of power. Clinton said, “With respect to Yemen, we have consistently welcomed the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative to address the situation in Yemen. There is an enormous amount of discussions going on. This is a dynamic process. We strongly encouraged all sides to engage in a dialogue to reach a solution that would be supported by the Yemeni people. Now, President Saleh has expressed his willingness to engage in a peaceful transition, but we don’t have any specifics, we don’t have any timelines so we are supporting the efforts that the GCC is currently leading to arrive at a clear statement of what the government will do and the timeline that it will occur.”[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • In Jowhar, a town ninety kilometers north of Mogadishu, al Shabaab amputated the hands and feet of three youths accused of robbing a bus. Shabelle Media Network reports that the al Shabaab judge overseeing the amputation accused the three young men of being way-layers.[4]
  • After meeting with Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Rwandan President Kagame pledged to support Somalia’s efforts at training security forces, building a public service, and joining the East African Community.[5]
  • Somali police chief Sharif Sheikhuna Maye said that the TFG is committed to recapturing all of Mogadishu and pushing al Shabaab out of the capital. Maye said, “It is compulsory on us (police) take care of our society [sic]. Peace and tranquility can’t be restored until the terrorists are cleared out from the capital...We have to face the live rounds of fire from al Shabaab, we have to sacrifice our lives to save tired and drought-affected people under shadows of trees and work on how they could be able to returned back to their homes after years of hardship, misery and affliction.”[6]
  • The council of elders of Somalia’s Digil and Mirifle clans accused the Speaker of the Somali Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam of seeking to demolish the TFG. Chairman of the elder’s council Omar Hajji said at a press conference that his clan supports the TFG’s boycott of the UN-supported summit in Kenya.[7]
  • Kenyan Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere said that the Kenyan police was concerned with rising al Shabaab recruitment of Kenyan youth, and that security forces were on high alert along the Kenya-Somali border. Iteere said, “We are aware that some youth have joined the group [al Shabaab]. It is a trend for our country and parents should take the initiative of instilling patriotism in their children.”[8]
  • The TFG arrested thirty people suspected of attacking Somali police stations with grenades. Residents of Mogadishu’s Waberi district, where most of the arrests were made, report that many of the arrested were later released.[9]
  • Shabelle Media Network reports that Ethiopian military forces detained eight Somali buses that had crossed into the Ogaden region. The Ethiopian forces sought to collect a tax levied on all trucks and buses that cross the border. The Somali drivers tried to refuse, claiming that they already paid taxes to the Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a administration.[10]
  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted unanimously to adopt “a comprehensive response to tackle piracy and its underlying causes by the international community.”[11]

[1] “Yemeni troops kill 11 Qaeda militants: ministry,” AFP, April 11, 2011. Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h-vbfqCIL8SWqE70L3jnyNHRdc7Q?docId=CNG.2ed49b3d18e8c8cd9b8d7077e790f737.431
“Yemeni forces kill 11 al-Qaeda members,” SABA News, April 11, 2011. Available: http://www.sabanews.net/en/news239369.htm
[2] Mohamed Sudam and Mohammed Ghobari, “WRAPUP 1- Yemen opposition seeks details on Gulf plan,” Reuters, April 12, 2011. Available: http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFLDE73B0XI20110412
[3] “Remarks with Finnish Foreign Minister Dr. Cai-Goran Alexander Stubb After Their Meeting,” State Department, April 11, 2011. Available: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/04/160495.htm
[4] “Al Shabaab cuts of the hands of feet of youngberries in cross,” Shabelle Media Network, April 11, 2011. Available: http://shabelle.net/article.php?id=5460
[5] “Rwanda Pledges Support to Somalia,” The New Times, April 11. 2011. Available: http://www.newtimes.co.rw/index.php?issue=14592&article=40059
[6] Abdi Hajji Hussein, “Somali police: We are committed decimating al Shabaab from the capital,” All Headline News, April 11, 2011. Available: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/90044361?Somali%20police%3A%20We%20are%20committed%20decimating%20al%20Shabaab%20from%20the%20capital
[7] “Somali clan calls for firing parliament speaker,” Shabelle Media Network, April 11, 2011. Available: http://shabelle.net/article.php?id=5440
[8] Galgalo Bocha, “Al-Shabab recruits ‘a security threat’,” Daily Nation, April 10, 2011. Available: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/regional/Al+Shabaab+recruits+a+security+threat/-/1070/1142274/-/96tsf7z/-/index.html
[9] “Somali govt forces detain over 25 people in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, April 11, 2011. Available: http://shabelle.net/article.php?id=5456
[10] “Ethiopian military holds 8 buses in Somali territory under Ethiopia,” Shabelle Media Network, April 11, 2011. Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=5455
[11] “Security Council to consider plans for specialized Somali courts to try pirates,” UN News Centre, April 11, 2011. Available: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=38073&Cr=piracy&Cr1=
Bill Varner, “UN Endorses Laws, Special Courts, Prisons for Somali Pirates,” Bloomberg, April 11, 2011. Available: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-11/un-council-backs-new-laws-courts-prisons-for-somali-pirates.html
“Security Council to ‘Urgently Consider’ Plans For Specialized Courts, Prisons For Somali Pirates, Cites Rise in Violence Off Somalia’s Coast,” UN Security Council, April 10, 2011. Available: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2011/sc10221.doc.htm