Gulf of Aden Security Review - September 20, 2011

Yemen: Violence in Sana’a continues into third day; President Saleh meets with Saudi king

 Horn of Africa: Al Qaeda in Afghanistan calls on Muslims to support al Shabaab; Ugandan defense minister visits Somalia; armed group fires at passenger truck killing one; Somali PM asks Canada for assistance; TFG to send aid to al Shabaab-controlled areas; Islamist radio station awards guns and bombs to children

Yemen Security Brief 

  • Fighting has continued into a third day in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. Clashes between government security forces and First Armored Brigade troops killed four defected soldiers. Explosions were also heard near the homes of prominent figures of the al Ahmar family in al Hadda district. Witnesses reported that rockets fell on a protest camp in Tagheer (Change) Square, killing at least two protestors and injuring at least ten others.[1] 
  • Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on September 19. According to sources from the royal palace, President Saleh briefed King Abdullah on the latest developments in Yemen and thanked him for his continued support and great health care he and his top officials received from Saudi hospitals for their injuries. King Abdullah reiterated his support for President Saleh’s presidential decree for the transfer of power to Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi to negotiate the transfer of power and sign the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) transition deal. He also stressed Saudi support for a stable and unified Yemen.[2] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • An article in al Qaeda in Afghanistan’s magazine “Vanguards of Khorasan” called on Muslims to support al Shabaab “financially and morally.”  It accused the West, particularly the United States, of exaggerating claims of drought and famine to justify a future war against al Shabaab.[3] 
  • Ugandan defense minister Dr. Crispus Kiyonga visited Mogadishu yesterday and toured several Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) military bases in the city.  He remarked that gains made by the TFG and AMISOM forces in pushing al Shabaab out of the city would allow additional training centers to open.[4] 
  • An unidentified armed group opened fire at a passenger truck Galkayo killing one and injuring another.  Locals report that the vehicle was heading for the Hiraan region.[5] 
  • Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali has asked Canada for financial aid and military training.  He commented that the national army has no American, British, or Canadian trainers.  He also asked for money to pay soldiers’ salaries until the TFG can expand its control and increase its tax base.[6] 
  • The Somalia National Disaster Management Agency and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in conjunction with the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are looking at how they can deliver aid to famine victims in al Shabaab-controlled territories.  They will brief all aid workers about how to operate through local NGOs so as not to put foreign workers in danger.  This follows the TFG ban on foreign aid workers operating in al Shabaab-controlled territory.[7] 
  • Al Shabaab-run radio station “al Andulus” has awarded guns, bombs, and money to three children who won a Quran recitation contest.  The first prize was a rifle and $700, the second prize was a rifle and $500, and the third prize was two bombs.  Additionally, they all received religious books.[8] 


[1] “Escalating Military Conflict Kills Six in Yemen Capital,” Reuters, September 20, 2011. Available: http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL5E7KK0TA20110920
Hakim Almasmari, “2 Killed in Unrest in Yemen, Medics Say,” CNN, September 20, 2011. Available: http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/20/world/meast/yemen-unrest/index.html
Mohammed al Qadhi and Alice Fordham, “Fierce Fighting in Yemen as Political Talks Fail,” Washington Post, September 19, 2011. Available: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/fierce-fighting-in-yemen-as-political-talks-stall/2011/09/19/gIQAh1U5fK_story.html
“Death Toll Rises as Shells Hit Yemen Protest Camp,” Reuters, September 20, 2011. Available: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/20/yemen-idUSL5E7KK0320110920
[2] “President Saleh, King Abdullah Talk in Riyadh,” SABA News, September 19, 2011. Available: http://www.sabanews.net/en/news248738.htm
[3] “Call to Support the Shabaab – ‘Vanguards of Khorasan,’ Issue 19,” SITE Intelligence Group, September 16, 2011. Available at SITE.
[4] “Ugandan defense minister arrives at Somalia; visits military bases,” Shabelle Media Network, September 19, 2011. Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=10968
[5] “One killed as armed men fire at vehicle in central Somalia,” Shabelle Media Network, September 20, 2011. Available: http://www.shabelle.net/article.php?id=10986
[6] “Somali PM appeals to Canada for financial and military training assistance,” Radio Bar-Kulan, September 20, 2011. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2011/09/20/somali-pm-appeals-to-canada-for-financial-and-military-training-assistance
[7] “TFG Prioritizes Aid to Shabaab-held Territories,” Garowe Online, September 20, 2011. Available: http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Press_Releases_32/TFG_Prioritizes_Aid_to_Shabaab-held_Territories.shtml
“Somalia bans foreign aid workers from rebel areas,” Reuters, September 17, 2011. Available: http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL5E7KH02J20110917
[8] “Radio: Somali kids win weapons in Quran contest,” AP, September 19, 2011. Available: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iLCSnjm8nIVevNnKG5917V9BSuSw?docId=cae2650517a64c249426ff6b5feb7aca.html