Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 23, 2012

Yemen: Clashes continue between separatists and pro-election protesters in al Mukalla; statistics from Yemen’s presidential election begin to surface; Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi set to be sworn in as president on February 25

Horn of Africa: London conference on Somalia convenes, with significant world leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in attendance; the UN Security Council passes a resolution increasing AMISOM’s size and incorporating Kenyan troops into AMISOM; at least 15 al Shabaab fighters killed in fighting in Bakool region and flee more areas in Bakool and Bay region; three explosions reported at TFG and Ethiopian troops in Baidoa; up to 300 al Shabaab militants reportedly flee Somalia for Yemen

Yemen Security Brief

  • Clashes continued between Southern Movement protesters and pro-election protesters in al Mukalla in Hadramawt governorate on February 22. Separatists threw Molotov cocktails at an area where pro-election protesters were and burned down one tent. Yemeni Central Security Forces reportedly fired shots in the air to disperse the protesters.[1]
  • There are initial indicators that 6.5 million Yemenis participated in the presidential elections. Ibb governorate was among the top in voter turnout. Akhbar al Yom reported that Ibb received over 960,000 ballots, Taiz over 886,000, Sana’a over 723,000, and al Hudaydah over 680,000. Ibb reportedly had a voter turnout of over 90 percent. Despite the Southern Movement’s attempt to disrupt the presidential elections in Aden, the governorate allegedly had a voter turnout of over 50 percent.[2]
  • Chairman of the Committee of Constitutional Affairs Ali Abu Haliqa reported that Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi will be sworn in as president of Yemen in front of the parliament on February 25. On the same day, the council will resume its sessions.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A London conference on Somalia opened today, with word leaders convening to discuss ways to help the country. World leaders in attendance included UK Prime Minister David Cameron (who organized the conference), U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. Cameron explained that the world has a duty to help Somalia: "Young minds are being poisoned by radicalism, breeding terrorism that is threatening not just Somalia but the whole world. If the rest of us just sit back and look on, we will pay a price for doing so." He also emphasized the importance of stopping Somali piracy. Although Secretary Clinton thought that the prospect of electing leaders and drafting a new constitution by August was “ambitious,” she also believed that the Transitional Federal Government’s (TFG) mandate should not be extended. She said that the United States would increase its presence in Somalia and help with state-building and announced that the U.S. is providing an additional $64 million in humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa. Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage said that those convening at London “should not waste your time, you will lose.”[4]
  • On February 22, member states approved United Nations Security Council resolution 2036, which includes an increase in the size of AMISOM’s force in Somalia. The number of troops under its umbrella will increase from 12,000 to a maximum of 17,731. Kenyan forces will be integrated into AMISOM, something that the Kenyan government has been requesting for months. Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali welcomed the resolution. [5]  
  • At least 15 al Shabaab fighters were reportedly killed in combat against TFG and Ethiopian soldiers. The fighting occurred in Yed and Aboore villages, near Hudur, the capital of Bakool region. Mohamed Moalim, the TFG’s district commissioner in Hudur, said that the district was firmly under TFG control. Al Shabaab has reportedly withdrawn from Hudur town, Tiyeglow and Wajid districts (in Bakool) and Daynunay, El-Ali, and Molimad villages in Bay region. Al Shabaab has reportedly regrouped in the Hakaba mountains, about 30 kilometers north of Baidoa.[6]
  • Three explosions took place on the night of February 22 in Baidoa, targeting Ethiopian and TFG troops. One explosion occurred at the Hasey factory, where Ethiopian soldiers have set up a makeshift base, and two others at TFG bases in Baidoa’s Afar-Irdood and Manya-Fuulka neighborhoods. Allied casualties were not reported.[7]
  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) commander Major General Fred Mugisha announced, and locals in Kismayo corroborated, that up to 300 al Shabaab fighters have left the country for Yemen, which underscores the terrorist group’s desperation in the face of a three-pronged assault. While al Shabaab boarded boats off of Kismayo en route to Yemen, an al Shabaab commander urged the people of the city to stand their ground and fight.[8]       

[1] “Al Mukalla: Southern Movement Followers Renewed Their Attacks on Pro-Election Protesters,” Mareb Press, February 22, 2012. Available: http://marebpress.net/news_details.php?sid=40898
[2] “Initial Indications of the Participation of 6.5 Million Yemenis in the Elections, and Ibb Tops All,” Al Masdar Online, February 23, 2012. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/index.php?page=news&article-section=1&news_id=29055
[3] “Abu Haliqa: On Saturday Hadi Will Be Sworn in As President,” Al Masdar Online, February 23, 2012. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/index.php?page=news&article-section=1&news_id=29040
[4] “Somalia Conference Told of Chance for Change in War-Torn Nation,” BBC News, February 23, 2012. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17131208
Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Intervention at the London Conference in Somalia,” U.S. Department of State, February 23, 2012. Available: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/02/184493.htm
[5] “Resolution 2036 (2012) Adopted Unanimously; Also Expands Support Package,” United Nations, February 22, 2012. Available: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2012/sc10550.doc.htm
Julian Borger and Mark Tran, “UN Votes to Increase Somalia Peacekeeping Force,” The Guardian, February 22, 2012. Available: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/22/somalia-un-peacekeeping-force
[6] “15 Al-Shabaab Fighters Killed in Battle, a Governor Says,” Shabelle Media Network, February 23, 2012. Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=15598
Aweys Cadde, “Al-Shabaab Withdraws from Hudur,” Somalia Report, February 23, 2012. Available: http://www.somaliareport.com/index.php/post/2889/Al-Shabaab_Withdraws_From_Hudur_
[7] Aweys Cadde, “Al-Shabaab Withdraws from Hudur,” Somalia Report, February 23, 2012. Available: http://www.somaliareport.com/index.php/post/2889/Al-Shabaab_Withdraws_From_Hudur_
[8] “300 Al-Shabab Fighters Flee Toward Yemen.” AP, February 23, 2012. Available: http://www.boston.com/news/world/africa/articles/2012/02/23/300_al_shabab_fighters_flee_toward_yemen/
“Al-Shabab Commanders Flee Towards Yemen,” Shabelle Media Network, February 23, 2012. Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=15597