Gulf of Aden Security Review - April 5, 2011
Yemen: AQAP releases biography of dead commander; JMP calls for international support; White House notes U.S. concerns in Yemen, says transition should be accomplished through negotiation; loyalist tribesmen clash with defected soldiers in Sana’a; two soldiers found executed in Abyan governorate; violence continues in Taiz and Sana’a; GCC offers to mediate between Yemeni government and opposition; UN condemns violence against protestors
Horn of Africa: TFG PM says UN should move personnel to Mogadishu within 90 days; Mogadishu police force spokesman reiterates the government’s intent secure Mogadishu; friendly fire between TFG forces in Mogadishu kills three people and injures three others
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) published a biography of dead commander, Jamil bin Nasser al Anbari, also known as Abu Saber al Abyani. According to the biography, Anbari had been injured in Iraq and was transported back to Yemen. There, he joined AQAP. Anbari was killed, along with AQAP operative Fawaz al Sana’ani, in an airstrike. His death had been confirmed in a May 2010 audio message released by Qasim al Raymi.
- The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) spokesman Mohammed Qahtan said, “We call on the GCC and the international community to help Yemen and stop the bloodshed caused by the Saleh regime against innocent peaceful protesters…. Saleh is killing people without fear and the international community must not watch quietly.” Qahtan added that the new government would continue with counterterrorism cooperation.
- White House spokesperson Jay Carney noted U.S. concern that AQAP could take advantage of the political unrest in Yemen to establish a stronger foothold. Carney said, “We support a dialogue, a political dialogue, and President Saleh has publicly indicated his willingness to engage in a peaceful transition of power, and we believe the timing and form of that transition should be accomplished through dialogue and negotiation…. We are obviously concerned that … al Qaeda and other groups will attempt to take advantage of that power vacuum, and that’s one of the reasons why we urge political dialogue to take place and a timetable for this transition that President Saleh has talked about to be begun.… AQIP [sic] is of great concern to the United States, which is why we put so much work in our counterterrorism efforts with the government of Yemen and with those who can be partners with us around the region and the world in combating the terrorist activities of AQIP [sic]..”
- Tribesman loyal to Saleh and soldiers who had defected to the opposition clashed in Sana’a near the headquarters of the 1st Armored Division, commanded by defected General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar. Ismail Abu Hurriya, leader of the Sanhan tribe, which is also Saleh’s tribe, attempted to persuade Gen. Ahmar to return to the president. He was accompanied by about 30 cars of armed tribesmen. It is unclear what sparked the fight. At least three people were killed and fifteen were wounded.
- An unnamed Yemeni security official reported that two soldiers kidnapped by tribesmen outside of the town Lawder in Abyan governorate were found dead in what security sources described as an al Qaeda-style execution.
- Violence continued for the third day in Taiz where security forces and armed loyalists clashed with protestors near the center of the city. Medics report that about thirty people were wounded by gunfire. Tens of thousands of people had turned out to demonstrate against the government. In Sana’a, at least one person was killed and another eight people were injured in clashes.
- The GCC offered to mediate between the Yemeni government and opposition at a future date in Riyadh. President Saleh said, “I promise that we will make every effort to return things to normal through talks with rational people from the Joint Meetings Party (JMP) … We repeat our invitation to them to sit at the table of dialogue and we call for a restraint from violence.” A JMP spokesman, Mohammed al Sabri, said, “We welcome the (GCC) position on respecting the Yemeni people's choices and we will also welcome any efforts made for the sake of President Saleh's speedy departure.”
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the government of Yemen to end its use of force against peaceful protestors and to establish a committee to investigate allegations of killings and abuse.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Prime Minister Mohamed Abullahi Mohamed told reporters, “We call on UN aid agencies to move their offices and staff members involved in operations to assist Somalia to Mogadishu, and I ask for this relocation to happened within 90 days from today…. We know that a lot of money is spent at offices in Nairobi and people claim they cannot go and operate in Somalia but I say that Somalia is not worse than Iraq and Afghanistan, where UN agencies are active on the ground.”
- Abdullahi Hassan Barise, the spokesman of the TFG’s police force in Mogadishu, reiterated the TFG’s intent to continue to secure areas under government control. Barise also displayed the landmines that the police had disarmed and recovered from Mogadishu’s Hodan district.
- TFG soldiers in Dharkenley district in Mogadishu fired on each other, reportedly after a misunderstanding. Three people were killed and three others injured.