Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 12, 2011
Yemen: Lawder locals arrest fifteen-man al Qaeda cell; gunmen attack security checkpoint, violate Taiz ceasefire; Yemenis protest countrywide; Abdul Janadi warns JMP against establishing a national council
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab release video eulogizing Osama bin Laden; al Shabaab officials give statements demonstrating internal tensions; bomb explodes in area previously controlled by al Shabaab; al Shabaab forcibly recruits new members; Somali TFG and AMISOM troops control fourteen districts of Mogadishu; Somali TFG troops clash with Ras Kamboni militias; Somali military commander accuses local administrations in Badbado incident; U.S. Secretary of State Clinton announces more aid for Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
- Locals supporting armed tribesmen arrested a cell of fifteen al Qaeda-affiliated militants in Lawder. The fifteen militants were arrested after they reportedly “placed a bomb inside the car of member of one of the popular committees to blow up the hospital where the car was parked.” The individuals arrested were detained at a makeshift prison in a local school.
- Yemeni government security officials in Taiz reported that gunmen from a militia affiliated with the Yemeni Islah Party attacked a security checkpoint in Taiz, violating a newly implemented ceasefire agreement. The gunmen killed one soldier and wounded another at the checkpoint. Two civilians were also injured. Yemeni officials in Taiz claimed the attack was a deliberate breach of the ceasefire designed to upset peace and security.
- Information Minister Abdul Janadi warned the Yemeni opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) against establishing a national council. Janadi stated, “This council will either be born dead as happened before or will be a call for war.” Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis launched protests across Yemen demanding the end of President Saleh and his regime. Pro-Saleh supporters held a counter-demonstration during Friday prayers at a mosque in close proximity to the presidential palace in Sana’a.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab released a video in which various officials eulogized former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The video includes eulogies offered by al Shabaab commander Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, also known as Abu Mansur; al Shabaab official Muhammad Hajj Ismail; and al Shabaab militants including Abu ‘Ammar, Hajer, Abu Hamza, and Abu Usama.
- Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, claimed in a radio interview that al Shabaab fighters still remained in Mogadishu. Rage also accused Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, newly in control of Bakara Market, of looting shops and robbing locals. Another al Shabaab leader, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, confirmed that al Shabaab had indeed chosen to withdraw from Mogadishu. Aweys claimed that the withdrawal was partially due to internal conflict within al Shabaab. Also, Aweys noted al Shabaab fighters were averse “to have face to face fighting with troops armed with tanks.”
- A bomb exploded in Mogadishu’s Abdi Aziz district, seriously injuring at least four people. The Abdi Aziz district had been under the control of al Shabaab for almost a year until the group recent withdrawal from Mogadishu. The bomb detonated when scavengers looking to collect wire to sell, pulled at the wires attached to the bomb.
- Al Shabaab fighters have begun “to forcibly recruit” Somalis of various ages to fight against Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM forces. Witnesses reported that al Shabaab fighters arrested herders, farmers, and other people badly affected by the situation caused by the famine and drought, particularly those in the Lower Shabelle region. Reportedly al Shabaab deposited roughly 200 forced recruits into Lanta Buro training camp near Afgoi.
- Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM troops have continued expanding their control over the capital, Mogadishu. A Somali military official reported that Mogadishu’s fourteen districts are currently under Somali government control. The official added that those al Shabaab militants remaining in the capital are concentrated in the Heliwa and Daynile districts. According to the Somali government, police are being deployed to reinforce gains made by the military and help maintain security.
- Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces clashed with Ras Kamboni militias in Dhobley in southern Somalia. The clash reportedly began when Somali forces tried to free detainees being held in Dhobley. At least one TFG soldier was killed in the clash. Witnesses reported that at least two men from the Ras Kamboni militia were wounded.
- Somali military commander Gen. Abdikarim Yusuf Adam accused the Banadir administration, along with some others, of being responsible for a deadly incident in the Badbaado IDP camp. Several people died and dozens were wounded when soldiers looting food aid opened fire on the IDP inhabitants. Adam claimed that the soldiers who were responsible did not belong to the national army, but rather to a local administration. The general also denied allegations of Somali forces looting in Mogadishu.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. plans to provide an additional $17 million of aid to East Africa. In a talk at the International Food Policy Research Institute on August 11, Clinton stated, “The United States is the largest single-country contributor of food and humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa…we are making available an additional $105 million in emergency funding. Today, I’m announcing another 17 million on top of that with 12 million designed specifically for helping the people of Somalia. That brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance to the region to more than $580 million this year.”