Gulf of Aden Security Review - January 14, 2011
Yemen: Southern Movement demonstrates in Hadramawt governorate; al Houthi spokesman responds to President Saleh’s accusations of ceasefire violations; UN and EU representatives arrive to discuss humanitarian and refugee issues
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab issues statement on charitable actions; civilian killed in clashes between al Shabaab and TFG in Hodan district of Mogadishu; Shabelle Valley Administration plans offensive against al Shabaab in Hiraan; Somalia Prime Minister Mohamed promises new offensive “very, very soon”, meets with UN officials, requests further aid; al Shabaab forces refugee women to attend lecture on jihad
Yemen Security Brief
- Southern Movement supporters demonstrated in Mukallah in Hadramawt governorate yesterday demanding that detained militants be released. Yemeni security forces attempted to end the demonstration. One woman was fatally injured when she was hit by a security vehicle, a second protestor was wounded by gunfire and a third protestor suffered from injuries related to tear gas.
- An al Houthi spokesman, Dhaifullah al Shami, responded to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s accusations that al Houthi fighters had breached the ceasefire, saying, “It is the government which violates the ceasefire and breaks promises as it is neglecting its commitments including rebuilding war-ravaged areas and compensating the affected people, as well as refusing to discuss the issue of the Houthis who went missing.”
- UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres and the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva arrived in Yemen on an unprecedented joint mission. Over a three day visit, they plan to meet with both Yemeni officials and al Houthi representatives to discuss humanitarian and refugee issues.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab announced in a communiqué posted on jihadist forums January 13, 2011 that its zakat (charity) office had begun to distribute sheep to needy Muslims in the Bay and Bakool regions in southern Somalia. The communiqué, which included photos, stated that each individual received five sheep, and noted that many wealthy businessmen were so moved that they donated to the zakat office.
- Clashes between AMISOM peacekeepers and al Shabaab militants killed one civilian in the Hodan district of Mogadishu. Fighting erupted when al Shabaab launched hit and run attacks on Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM forces. Government-fired mortars were also reported to have landed in the crowded Bakara Market.
- The chairman of the Shabelle Valley administration, Abdifitah Hasan Afrah, announced plans to launch an offensive against al Shabaab in Hiraan, central Somalia. Afrah emphasized that the operation would involve only soldiers loyal to the Shabelle Valley administration, telling reporters, “The forces operating in Hiraan are from the administration Shabelle Valley not from Somali government.”
- Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed told The Associated Press that TFG forces will begin new attacks on al Shabaab and al Qaeda “very, very soon.” Prime Minister Mohamed also requested greater support from the international community telling the AP, “We appreciate all their contributions but… we are appealing to the international community – U.S., European Union, Arab League – to step up to the plate to do more,” warning that if al Qaeda is chased from Afghanistan they may seek refuge in Somalia as “that’s where they can find a place to reorganize, because of lack of central government, effective government.”
- Prime Minister Mohammed met with UN officials, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in New York to discuss humanitarian, budgetary and security issues. While Prime Minister Mohammed said the situation in Somalia was improving, he repeated earlier requests for further financial and military support from the international community.
- Al Shabaab fighters in the Afgoi corridor outside of Mogadishu forced thousands of women living in IDP camps (internally displaced persons) to attend lectures on the “jihad” in Mogadishu against the Somalia government and AMISOM forces. The women were also ordered to fully cover their bodies and veil their faces.