Gulf of Aden Security Review - May 12, 2011

Yemen: Nationwide protests kill at least eleven protestors; EU High Representative Ashton condemns violence, calls for transition; U.S. State Department “concerned” by protest violence, urges transition

Horn of Africa: Top al Shabaab leaders pledge revenge for Osama bin Laden’s death; at least three people killed in AMISOM, al Shabaab Mogadishu clash; at least four combatants killed in al Shabaab, Ahlu Sunna Galgudud clash; two civilians killed in local militia clash in Adado Galgudud; al Shabaab hit-and-run attacks kill at least ten people in Dhobley in the Jubba region; Puntland minister rebuffs reports of Galgala’s capture by al Shabaab militants; UNSC met to discuss Somalia’s political crisis; UK to reopen Somalia embassy following improvement in security conditions

Yemen Security Brief

  • Protest-related violence continued. At least eight protestors were killed and more than fifty were injured in Sana'a when security forces and snipers fired on protestors. Anti-government demonstrators were marching on the Yemeni cabinet building. One protestor was killed in the city of Hudaydah when police fired on demonstrators near the provincial headquarters. At least three people were killed in al Bayda when security forces stationed on the roof of a General People's Congress (GPC) building fired on demonstrators below. One protestor was killed in Dhamar when security forces attempted to disperse an anti-government demonstration. At least twenty people were injured when police opened fire on a demonstration in Taiz.[1]
  • Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, released a statement: "I condemn in the strongest terms the ongoing violence and repression against protesters in Sana’a, Taiz and other cities. I call on the government and security forces to end the use of violence immediately." Ashton urged "both sides to sign and implement [the GCC transition plan] without further delay. The solution is there. The moment is now."[2]
  • The U.S. State Department released a statement condemning the use of violence against protestors: "The United States is deeply concerned by recent violence throughout Yemen, and joins European Union High Representative Ashton in strongly condemning these troubling actions. We call on the Yemeni security forces to exercise maximum restraint, refrain from violence, and respect the rights of the Yemeni people to freely and peacefully assemble and express their views." The statement supported the GCC transition plan and urged all "parties to sign and implement the terms of the agreement now to ensure an orderly, peaceful transition of power."[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Senior al Shabaab leaders, including Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, known as Abu Mansur; Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys; and Alabama-born Omar Hammami, known as Abu Mansour al Amriki, pledged to avenge Osama bin Laden's death. Amriki said, "We are sending a message to (US President Barack) Obama and (Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton that we will avenge the death of our leader Sheikh Osama bin Laden very soon...Osama is dead but the holy war is not dead. Mujahedeen fighters all over the world are fully prepared to revenge the death of our leader."[4]
  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM troops clashed with al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu. At least three people were killed and seven others were wounded.[5]
  • Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama'a forces clashed with al Shabaab in the Galgudud region. At least four combatants and dozens of others were wounded.[6]
  • Local militants in Adado, a town in Galgudud, clashed with militia from Himan and Heeb, a self-declared administration in Adado. At least two civilians were killed and one combatant was injured.[7]
  • Al Shabaab launched hit-and-run attacks on TFG troops near Dhobley in the Lower Jubba region. At least ten people were killed.[8]
  • General Yusuf Ahmed Keyr, Puntland's security minister, rebuffed reports of Galgala's capture by militants linked to al Shabaab: "The extremists launched heavy ambush on Wednesday night in Galgala town, but our forces resisted and resized and the town is under our control at moment."[9]
  • The UN Security Council (UNSC) met to discuss the growing political crisis in Somalia. The UNSC “expressed concern at the discord between the TFIs [Transitional Federal Institutions] and its impact on the political process and the security situation...It reiterates the importance of political outreach and reconciliation in Somalia, and stresses the importance of broad-based, representative institutions reached through a political process ultimately inclusive of all." At the meeting, TFG Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said. "We will do everything it takes to regain our status as a functioning State that protects its citizens, ends all forms of international piracy and extremism, promotes good governance, and produces a nation at peace with itself, and its neighbours."[10]
  • UK Foreign Secretary William Hague pledged to reopen Britain's embassy in Somalia, pending an improvement in security conditions: "I have also made provision within our budget to open a new Embassy in Somalia when the security situation has improved sufficiently. It is vital for our security that we are present in the Horn of Africa and so I have made the decision now so that we will be ready to do this as soon as is possible."[11]

[1] Ahmed al Haj, "Witnesses: Yemeni forces fire on protest march," AP, May 11, 2011. Available: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110511/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_yemen
Jamal al-Jaberi, "Yemen security forces kill six protesters," AFP, May 11, 2011. Available: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110511/wl_afp/yemenpoliticsunrest
Mohammed Ghobari and Khaled al-Mahdy, "Yemen forces fire on protests, Gulf to send envoy," May 12, 2011. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/12/us-yemen-idUSTRE73L1PP20110512
Mohammed Hatem, "Yemen Security Forces Fire on Protesters; Three Reported Dead in Al-Baidah," Bloomberg, May 12, 2011. Available: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-12/yemen-security-forces-fire-on-protesters-three-reported-dead-in-al-baidah.html
[2] "Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton on Yemen," EU, May 11, 2011. Available: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/121957.pdf 
[3] "Violence in Yemen," U.S. State Department, May 12, 2011. Available: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/05/163220.htm
[4] "Al-Qaeda groups threaten to avenge bin Laden," AFP, May 11, 2011. Available: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110511/pl_afp/usattacksbinladen
[5] "Mogadishu fighting claims the leaves of 3 people dead," Shabelle Media Network, May 12, 2011. Available: http://shabelle.net/article.php?id=6468
[6] "Somalia: Ahlu Sunna, Al shabaab battle in Galgudud," Shabelle Media Network, May 12, 2011. Available: http://shabelle.net/article.php?id=6467
[7] "Self styled administration, armed militia clash in central Somalia," Shabelle Media Network, May 12, 2011. Available: http://shabelle.net/article.php?id=6466
[8] "10 killed in southern Somalia battle," Shabelle Media Network, May 12, 2011. Available: http://shabelle.net/article.php?id=6459
[9] Malyun Ali, "SOMALIA: Puntland security minister- our forces resisted the Islamists back," RBC, May 11, 2011. Available: http://www.raxanreeb.com/?p=95755
[10] "Security Council voices concern over high-level discord in Somalia," UN News Centre, May 12, 2011. Available: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=38346&Cr=somalia&Cr1=
[11] "Foreign Secretary: “For the first time in decades our diplomatic reach will be extended not reduced,”" UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, May 11, 2011. Available: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=PressS&id=594693382