Gulf of Aden Security Review - November 2, 2011
Yemen: Fighting kills nine people in Taiz; EU Ambassador to Yemen says President Saleh has accepted UN transition deal
Horn of Africa: Al Qaeda’s ambassador to al Shabaab identified; al Shabaab attacks Kenyan army convoy; aircraft delivering supplies to al Shabaab; Kenyan police confiscate weapons in Dadaab refugee camp; Ethiopian forces enter Somalia; TFG forces kill ten al Shabaab militants in Gedo region; al Shabaab arrests five men accused of spying
Yemen Security Brief
- A Yemeni medical official reported that fighting between Republican Guard troops and armed anti-government protesters killed at least six anti-government protesters and civilians in Taiz. A doctor also reported that government troops shelled several neighborhoods in Taiz where anti-government fighters had captured a government building. Forty others were reportedly wounded in the violence. In Sana’a, Yemen’s Interior Ministry reported that clashes between government troops and armed tribesmen loyal to Hashid tribal confederation leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar, killed two tribesmen and a policeman in al Hasaba district. Hundreds of thousands of protesters also gathered demanding that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and other members of his party be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their crimes.
- European Ambassador (EU) to Yemen Michele Cervone d’Urso told Yemen’s state news agency, SABA, that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has accepted the UN transition deal. D’Urso said, "We are convinced that we are on the verge of reaching an agreement soon and above all else the matter calls for political commitment. We hope that Eid al-Adha will be an occasion to announce to Yemen and the world that Yemen has passed towards a new stage." He urged the opposition to return to Yemen before the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha next week so that the deal can be consummated. A spokesman for a Yemeni opposition council, Houriya Mashhur responded, saying "We heard good things from the diplomats, but actions speak louder than words. We are not optimistic right but if the Gulf initiative is signed we will be more optimistic."
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The American who appeared at an al Shabaab press conference delivering a statement from al Qaeda has been identified by counterterrorism officials as Jehad Marwan Mustapha. Officials believe Mustapha is within al Shabaab’s senior leadership and that he been a member of al Shabaab for several years. Mustapha was indicted on charges of providing material support to terrorists in August 2010 and served under al Qaeda in East Africa commander Saleh Nabhan, killed in September 2009 in Somalia. He may have had contact with Yemeni-American radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki.
- Four al Shabaab militants ambushed a Kenyan army convoy. An al Shabaab commander said the attack destroyed several vehicles and resulted in “heavy casualties.” Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops, backed by the Kenyan army, counter-attacked and claimed to have killed 36 al Shabaab militants. A Kenyan security source reported that three Kenyan soldiers had been wounded in the fighting.
- The Kenyan government released a statement saying that two aircraft carrying weapons for al Shabaab landed at an airstrip near Baidoa in Bay region; a “high ranking East African official” said that the planes originated in Eritrea. The Eritrean government denied this accusation: “The government of Eritrea states categorically that these accusations are pure fabrications and outright lies as Eritrea has not sent any arms to Somalia.” Kenya’s military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir warned that Kenya would use airstrikes to target al Shabaab-controlled areas.
- The Kenyan police confiscated four AK-47 assault rifles, 16 magazines, and 477 rounds of ammunition from Dadaab refugee camp. The police say that the weapons had been used in recent abductions of aid workers. James Ole Serian, provincial commissioner for Kenya’s North Eastern Province, said, “The district commissioner and his officers acting on a tip-off from members of the public disguised themselves as potential customers to purchase the firearms from the arrested gunrunners who are believed to be ring leaders of firearm trade in the region from within the camps.”
- Locals reported that eight Ethiopian military vehicles entered Somalia near the villages of Qeydar and Marodile in Galgudud region. A resident, Sheikh Ismail, said that the Ethiopian troops told locals that they were there to “observe the overall atmosphere in the area.” Ethiopian troops returned to Ethiopia after conducting a search for Oromo militants, who had allegedly crossed the Somali border.
- Mohamed Abdi Kalil, the TFG’s governor of Gedo region, said that TFG forces had killed ten al Shabaab militants in a town ten kilometers from Bardhere in Gedo region. He also said that TFG forces were heading for Bardhere to flush al Shabaab out of the town.
- Al Shabaab militants arrested five young men and accused them of spying in Bardhere in Gedo region for pro-government militia Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a. Al Shabaab militants also threatened the families and warned them not to try to secure their relatives’ release.