Gulf of Aden Security Review - June 7, 2011

Yemen: Yemeni military attempts to regain control of Zinjibar; tribesmen capture Taiz city; shoot-out kills two Saudi border guards; U.S. Secretary of State urges Saleh to accept the GCC’s transition agreement; White House and State Department spokesmen urge transition; Saudi Arabia urges Saleh to step down to reign in instability; five European leaders urge all parties in Yemen to abide by ceasefire

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab kills four AMISOM peacekeepers; al Shabaab describes recent activities in official statements; al Shabaab arrests women in Afgoi district; AU Deputy Special Representative says AMISOM will augment humanitarian support

Yemen Security Brief

  • Overnight fighting at a military position outside of Zinjibar killed at least nine Yemeni soldiers and six militants. At least ten others were wounded. Yemen's Defense Ministry reported that Yemeni troops killed at least thirty militants in the past two days of fighting. Al Qaeda-linked militants control the city, except for a military base home to the 25th Mechanized Brigade base. Three army brigades are reportedly en route from Aden and Lahij governorates to reinforce military positions in Abyan governorate.[1]

  • Armed tribesmen control Taiz city. The tribesmen entered the city after the government’s crackdown on peaceful protestors. Sporadic clashes have occurred near the presidential palace in Taiz. The government still holds the Central Security Forces and Republican Guard bases, the local presidential palace, and the hospital.[2]

  • A heavily armed man attempted to cross into Yemen from Saudi Arabia’s Najran province. He opened fire on Saudi border guards when they tried to stop him, killing a colonel and a sergeant. Another guard was injured and the man was shot dead.[3]

  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "We think an immediate transition is in the best interest of the Yemeni people, because the instability and lack of security currently afflicting Yemen cannot be addressed until there is some process that everyone knows is going to lead to the sort of economic and political reforms that they are seeking." Clinton reported that U.S. diplomats, led by Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein, are meeting with Yemeni officials and civil society.[4]

  • White House press secretary Jay Carney said, "We believe that an immediate transition is in the best interests of the people and the best interests of maintaining stability in obviously a very unstable situation." State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, "the Government of Yemen, should seize an opportunity to begin a democratic transition that’s, frankly, overdue given the level of violence and instability of the past several weeks."[5]

  • The government of Saudi Arabia urged Saleh to sign the GCC's transition agreement "to get Yemen through the crisis, preserving its security, stability and unity."[6]

  • UK Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero issued a joint statement urging all parties in Yemen to abide by a ceasefire. The statement reads, "We urge all Yemeni civilian and military leaders to respect the truce initiated by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. We call on the Yemeni people to find the way to reconciliation in a spirit of dialogue and national unity, in particular on the basis of the proposals presented in the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s initiative, which we fully support, in order for the Yemeni people to be able to democratically choose its leader." The leaders pledged to extend full support to Yemen during a democratic transition.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants killed four Ugandan AMISOM soldiers. Acting commandant of the Sixth Battalion Lt. Colonel Patrick Muhibwa was shot while on patrol in Bondhere district in Mogadishu, recently secured by AMISOM and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops. Muhibwa is the highest ranking Ugandan officer to be killed in Mogadishu since 2007. The other three soldiers were killed by indirect fire in Bondhere district.[8]

  • Al Shabaab released five communiqués on Islamist forums on June 2. The first communiqué described the Islamic Court in Dinsor sentencing a man to twenty lashes for "watching obscene movies." The second communiqué described al Shabaab efforts to "maintain the general appearance" of the Lefuli district in Shabelle region. The third communiqué details a lecture given by Sheikh Muhammad Abu Abdullah, the al Shabaab governor of Lower Shabelle region, in which Abdullah said the "revolutions [in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan] indicate that victory is near and the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate is close." The fourth communiqué reported that al Shabaab is repairing a road in Galgudud region between Ail Qurs and Hein Diri. The fifth communiqué reported that the preaching office in Banadir region "concluded a course for a hundred high school students" and "urged students to pay attention to the aspects of Shariah-knowledge and to spread it among the people."[9]

  • Al Shabaab militants arrested 15 women in Lower Shabelle region's Afgoi district. The women are reportedly accused of being "publicly overjoyed" and shouting at a wedding. In Mogadishu, al Shabaab arrested ten teenagers for playing football.[10]

  • Wafula Wamunyinyi, the Deputy Special Representative for AMISOM, visited wounded AMISOM soldiers in Mogadishu. Wamunyinyi called the recent security gains in Mogadishu "impressive." Wamunyinyi added that "with greater security developing in the city, we can start to deploy more assistance and support to both the Transitional Federal Institutions and the civilian population, especially on the humanitarian front."[11]


[1] "Armed men kill seven soldiers in south Yemen clashes," Reuters, June 6, 2011. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/06/yemen-clashes-idUSLDE7552I820110606
Hammoud Mounassar, "Yemen troops, Qaeda clash as US presses Saleh to quit," AFP, June 7, 2011. Available: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110607/wl_mideast_afp/yemenpoliticsunrest
Ahmed al Haj, "Yemen says govt troops kill 30 Islamic militants," AP, June 7, 2011. Available: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110607/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_yemen
[2] “Yemen Regime Loses Grip on Major City: Tribal Leader,” AFP, June 7, 2011. Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j5N1VJ133WQNIpGbWPMbeCsaRWsw?docId=CNG.48e5969155ce19b16358f893e95f2b3d.661
Mohammed Jamjoom and Hakim Almasmari, “Tribal fighters take over major city in Yemen, eyewitnesses say,” CNN, June 7, 2011. Available: http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/06/07/yemen.unrest/index.html
[3] "Two Saudi guards killed on Yemen border: official," Reuters, June 7, 2011. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/07/us-saudi-borderguards-idUSTRE7561XA20110607
[4] "Remarks With French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe After Their Meeting," State Department, June 6, 2011. Available: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/06/165158.htm
[5] "Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 6/6/2011," White House, June 6, 2011. Available: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/06/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-662011
"Daily Press Briefing," State Department, June 6, 2011. Available: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2011/06/165144.htm
[6] Ahmed al Haj, "US pushes for Yemen solution as Saleh vows return," AP, June 6, 2011. Available: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110606/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_yemen
[7] "Supporting the Yemeni people to democratically choose its leader," UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, June 6, 2011. Available: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=PressS&id=608513482
[8] "4 UPDF soldiers killed in Somalia," New Vision, June 6, 2011. Available: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/756850
Nicholas Bariyo, “Somalia’s Al Shabab Militants Kill 4 Ugandan Soldiers- UPDF,” Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2011. Available: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110606-708793.html
[9] "Shabaab Reports on Civilian Related Activities in Somalia," SITE Intel Group, June 7, 2011. Available: Available at SITE
[10] “Al shabaab arrest women taking part in wadding [sic] party,” Mareeg Online, June 7, 2011. Available: http://www.mareeg.com/fidsan.php?Al-shabaab-arrest-women-taking-part-in-wadding-party&sid=19931&tirsan=3
[11] "Press Release: AMISOM Deputy Head Visits Injured Soldiers," AMISOM, June 6, 2011. Available: http://www.amisom-au.org/read-22416_AMISOM-Press-Release-DSRCC-visited-injured-AMISOM.pdf