Gulf of Aden Security Review - March 2, 2010
Yemen: Building collapse in Taiz governorate kills at least eighteen people, injures fifteen; family of jailed journalist accuses Yemeni government of torture; high-level State Department official meets with President Saleh; war with northern rebels displaced 300,000; PM Mujawar will not allow al Houthis to re-arm themselves; al Houthi fighters kill girl; Landmines kill 2 in Sa’ada
Horn of Africa: Government forces and Islamists fight in Mogadishu; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a executes a man; NATO sinks Somali pirate ship; UN speaks against foreign interference in Somali affairs; al Shabaab calls on farmers to double food production; TFG tells WFP to continue operations; WFP will continue operations in Somalia; Somali PM faces vote of no-confidence; Puntland President dissolves cabinet
Yemen Security Brief
- Three buildings collapsed in the neighborhood of al Masbah in Taiz, the second-largest city in Yemen, killing at least eighteen people and injuring fifteen others. Reportedly, the collapse was caused by an explosion in a dynamite warehouse under one of the buildings. Search-and-rescue operations are ongoing.
- The family of the jailed journalist Mohammed al Maqaleh released a statement accusing Yemeni security forces of torturing him and depriving him of his medication. Al Maqaleh is accused of supporting rebel forces in Sa’ada. Al Maqaleh has denied all charges against him.
- U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana’a to convey American support for Yemen’s ongoing efforts to combat terrorism. Mr. Feltman passed on a letter from American President Barack Obama which underscored the American commitment to Yemen.
- The governor of Sa’ada, Taha Hajar, estimated that 300,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in northern Yemen. He urged aid organizations to redouble their efforts to assist displaced persons.
- In an effort to prevent further violence against the government, Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Mujawar says al Houthi rebels will not be able to re-arm themselves, including taking arms from the military, following the ceasefire. Al Houthi rebels have been hesitant to abide by the terms of the ceasefire, which went into effect on February 11 [editor’s note: CTP has seen no evidence that the al Houthi rebels have turned over their arms].
- Houthi fighters killed an 8 year old girl whose father is a member of a pro-government tribe. Rebels aligned with the al Houthis have continued to breach the terms of the ceasefire that went into effect on February 11.
- Detonated landmines claimed the lives of 2 people yesterday in the al Malahaidh district of Sa’ada. The blast was the fourth fatal incident involving landmines since the ceasefire began. Both the Yemeni army and al Houthi forces have used the ceasefire to clear landmines from Sa’ada province.
Horn of Africa Security Review
- Fighting between government forces and Islamists in Mogadishu left at least two dead and 8 others injured. Heavy gunfire and shelling occurred at Tabribunka Square in the Hodan district and at Bakara Market in Mogadishu. Government soldiers conducted military movements in the area which resulted in confrontations with Islamist forces which eventually sparked an exchange of fire between the two sides.
- Moderate Islamist group Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a executed a man accused of murder in the town of Galgudud in central Somalia.
- A NATO destroyer sunk a pirate mothership used to transport pirates miles off the coast to conduct operations. The ship was fired upon after crew members were transferred off the ship. The mission took place in the Indian Ocean rather than the Gulf of Aden, where pirate attacks are more prevalent.
- The United Nations called for foreign governments to stop interfering with the domestic affairs of Somalia, citing foreign interference as a mean of fueling instability and encouraging illegal acts such as piracy and criminal activity. While UN Special Representative for Somalia, Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, stated foreign interference is responsible for much of the despair in Somalia, he remained confident the Somali government will succeed.
- Al Shabaab called on local farmers to double food production after banning WFP operations in Somalia, claiming the organization’s operations were harming local farmers.
- TFG called on the WFP to continue operating in Somalia, citing their operations as critical for providing food to the Somalia population.
- The WFP program stated it will continue its aid operations in Somalia and support the Somali population however possible. Peter Somerton, World Food Program spokesman, stated “[WFP] will not consider the rulers, but our aim is to help the feeble and needy people of Somalia."
- Somali PM Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke faces a vote of no-confidence from parliament. If voted against in parliament as not doing all that is necessary for the security of Somalia, he will be required to appoint a new PM in his stead.
- Puntland President, Dr. Abdirahman Mohammed Farole, has dissolved his cabinet in an effort to “rejuvenate” his government. After consulting his VP, President Farole has relieved 8 ministers and assistant ministers. President Farole has named all the replacements for his cabinet.