Gulf of Aden Security Review - August 19, 2011
Yemen: Airstrikes in south Yemen kill five militants; Yemeni government accuses two opposition figures of planning the attack on the president; demonstrations in support of opposition’s national council occur throughout country
Horn of Africa: Surveillance drone crashes in Mogadishu; al Shabaab attacked bases outside of Mogadishu; al Shabaab arrests 15 people; Eritrea denies connection to al Shabaab; Turkish delegation arrives in Mogadishu; Puntland arrests 20 pirates
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni airstrikes in Zinjibar and Shaqra in Abyan governorate killed at least five al Qaeda-linked militants, according to security officials. The Yemeni army raided the town of Shaqra after it fell and claims to have killed three militants. Tribesmen stationed outside of Shaqra have prevented the militants from expanding their control into neighboring villages.
- The Yemeni government officially leveled accusations against Hamid al Ahmar, a wealthy businessmen and member of the Hashid tribal confederation, and defected General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar of planning the June 3 assassination attempt on President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The deputy minister of information, Abdul Janadi, said, “After a long investigation, we have strong accusations against Hamid al-Ahmar and Ali Mohsen and believe that they stand behind the attack on President Saleh and senior government officials at the presidential palace mosque.”
- Major demonstrations in support of the National Revolution Council occurred in Sana’a and Taiz. The national council has representatives from Yemen’s main opposition bloc, the Joint Meeting Parties, the Southern Movement, the al Houthis, the youth movement, and other opposition groups.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The Associated Press reported that a surveillance drone crashed in Mogadishu. AMISOM peacekeepers removed the pieces of what looked like a small plane.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked Transitional Federal Government (TFG) bases near Ex-control Afgoi. Ensuing fighting along the road linking Mogadishu to Afgoi killed two people and injured two others.
- Al Shabaab arrested over 15 people in Afgoi, including women and children, citing violations of previous al Shabaab orders. Local residents reported that those arrested were caught breaking the Ramadan fast or had refused to abide by al Shabaab’s strict Islamic dress codes.
- Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki denied accusations that his country provided al Shabaab with financial support. He said, "These accusations are built on assumptions, innuendos, guesses about this matter… Shabaab is serving the interests of those who want to maintain the disintegration of Somalia and give al Shabaab an opportunity to flourish and broaden its influence in Somalia.” The July 2011 UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group report laid out evidence showing Eritrea’s funding of the group. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, whose country’s troops constitute the majority of AMISOM forces, supported Afewerki’s statement.
- The plane carrying a Turkish delegation to Mogadishu scraped the runway at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on a second plane. Erdogan announced that Turkey will establish an embassy in Somalia and will help to construct a road from the airport to the city, schools, and houses, as well as to dig wells to improve the water supply. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had met earlier in Turkey, where countries pledged $350 million in relief efforts for the famine.
- Puntland’s security minister announced that Puntland forces had captured 20 pirates in Bargal, a coastal town in northern Somalia, near the port city of Boosaaso.