Gulf of Aden Security Review - September 20, 2012
Yemen: Yemeni Defense Minister Ahmed visits the First Presidential Protection Brigade; Yemeni security services announce the release of two kidnapped civilians in Dhamar governorate; al Houthi propaganda noticeably increases in southern and central Sana’a
Horn of Africa: Two clerics are shot by al Shabaab militants in Berdale; Mortars kill one and injure ten in Mogadishu; Somali troops and al Shabaab clash in Birta Dheer; three farmers killed during fights with al Shabaab in the Jowhar district; Somali soldier killed in friendly-fire incident in Beledweyne; President Mohamud meets with fourteen ambassadors in Mogadishu; UN presses Kenya for civilian safety in Kismayo; AMISOM asks for peace and calm in Kismayo
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed visited the First Presidential Protection Brigade on September 20. Defense Minister Ahmed praised the First Presidential Protection Brigade service members for their protection of presidential palaces and related facilities. Defense Minister Ahmed stressed the need for national unity and that presidential protection troops be ready for additional training. According to Defense Minister Ahmed, presidential protection forces have lost 90% of their manpower and equipment and will be reinforced by Yemeni Republican Guard forces.
- Yemeni security services announced on September 20 the release of two kidnapped individuals from al Hada district in Dhamar governorate. Brigadier Abdulkarim al Odaini, director of security in Dhamar governorate, stated that civilian kidnappings between rival groups in al Hada district and Mayfa’at Anes district has become a problem and it needs to be stopped immediately.
- The presence of al Houthi propaganda has increased noticeably in southern and central Sana’a in the last three days according to local sources. Dhaif Allah al Shami, a leading al Houthi figure, stated that al Houthi banners were recently put up in response to the anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims.” In a related event, Abas Mohammad Sharef al Deen, an al Houthi member, was killed in southern Sana’a as he was posting al Houthi banners. According to the Yemeni Defense Ministry, five militants gunned down Abas Mohammad Sharef al Deen after a confrontation broke out between the two sides.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Two clerics were killed on September 18 after al Shabaab militants attacked each of their homes and shot them dead in Berdale town in the Bay region. Aden Moalim Abshirow and Sheikh Mohamed Dhoble had received death threats from the terrorist group warning them that they would soon be killed. Troops from the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Ethiopian soldiers engaged the militants when they arrived at the houses but the militants escaped. On their way out of town, the al Shabaab attackers kidnapped one or two local businessmen. The reason for the attacks has not been made clear.
- One person was killed and ten seriously injured when mortars struck two residential districts in Mogadishu, Shibis and Bondhere, on September 19. The origin of the mortars is not known and no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Somali troops and Ahlu Sunna militias clashed with al Shabaab militants in the Birta Dheer area of Garbaharey in the Gedo region on September 19. The fighting began when al Shabaab troops attacked a patrol of Ahlu Sunna soldiers. The clash still continues and the amount of soldiers dead or injured from either side is unknown.
- Fighting broke out between local farmers and al Shabaab militants in the Mandera, Daymasame and Ba’adley villages in the Jowhar district in the Lower Shabelle region on September 19. The clashes began when al Shabaab attempted to give farmland that was owned by locals in the villages to people from outside the villages. Three farmers were killed and more than a dozen injured during the fights. There were reported casualties on the side of al Shabaab, but exact numbers are not known.
- Somali government soldiers fired upon each other due to confusion on a patrol on September 19, in Beledweyne. The fighting ended when additional government troops interfered in the conflict. One soldier was killed and several others injured during the incident.
- President Mohamud met with fourteen ambassadors from nations across the globe in Mogadishu on September 20. Ambassadors from Italy, Spain and France, among others, went to Somali in order to show their respective countries’ support to the new government and speak about ways to stabilize the country.
- The United Nations urged Kenya on September 19 to avoid civilian casualties as Kenyan and Somali troops move closer to taking over the city of Kismayo. There have already been incidents where Kenyan ship-to-shore missiles killed civilians in the city. The United Nation Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden met with Kenya military officials to ensure the safety of the people and voice his concern about long-term displacement.
- AMISOM asked civilians in the city of Kismayo to remain calm as a fight over the port city looms closer. Al Shabaab has begun reinforcing their last stronghold of Kismayo, preparing for a battle against the Somali troops and their allies who have been slowly moving toward taking the city. Residents said al Shabaab commanders left the city several days ago, only to return with new recruitments from surrounding regions. The new soldiers have been fortifying the cities defenses and preparing for a fight. Three top al Shabaab commanders are also said to be in Kismayo. AMISOM is asking people to lay down their arms and have said they have already been contacted by people who have agreed to lay down their weapons and turn themselves in for assured safety.