Gulf of Aden Security Review - September 26, 2011
Yemen: President Saleh addresses country; Saleh’s return stokes violence in capital; tribesmen capture Republican Guards’ base; al Qaeda cuts off boy’s hand in south Yemen; Yemeni journalist reportedly meets with AQAP
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab completes well in al Yassir refugee camp; al Shabaab warns locals not to contact the government; two al Shabaab militia groups fight each other; drone shot down in Kismayo; al Shabaab blocks ICRC from operating in some parts of Somalia; car bomb kills one at UN building in Mogadishu; 14 TFG soldiers killed in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh gave a recorded speech on the eve of the anniversary of the September 26 Revolution. Saleh called for an end to the conflict and he confirmed his support for signing the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) transition deal. He added that presidential, parliamentary, and local elections will provide the change that Yemen needs to move forward. Despite his stated commitment to ending the conflict, he offered no indication that he would step down from power immediately.
- Fighting in Sana’a killed over 40 people on September 24. Medics report that 26 protesters were killed when Yemeni security forces fired upon them in Tagheer (Change) Square and another 56 protesters were injured. A Republican Guard attack on the First Armored Division killed at least 12 defected soldiers and injured another 112 soldiers. Rockets and loud explosions could be heard across Sana’a. Also, in Taiz further clashes killed five people and wounded eight others.
- Anti-government tribesmen captured a Republic Guards base in Dahrah, northeast of Sana’a. The tribesmen captured 30 soldiers and killed the 63rd brigade’s commander, General Abdullah Ahmed al Kuleibi. The fighting killed at least four tribesmen and wounded 27 others.
- Al Qaeda-linked militants cut off the hand of a 15-year-old boy in Jaar in Abyan for stealing electrical cables. Witnesses claim that the militants then took the boys hand around Jaar so that residents could see. The militants also claimed that they will be cutting off the hand of a second man who committed the same crime.
- An article written by Abdul Razzaq al Jamal, a Yemeni journalist who interviewed members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was distributed on jihadist forums on September 22. Jamal reported that AQAP stopped its operational activity after the Yemeni revolution broke out as directed by al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri; Zawahiri ordered that al Qaeda affiliates cease operational activity as to not undermine the revolutions breaking out across the Middle East. He also reported that AQAP claims that it has the ability to control the entire Abyan governorate at any given time but it does not want to become involved in wars with tribes that occupy this area. Further, he added that any accusation that President Ali Abdullah Saleh supports al Qaeda in the Abyan is untrue and that AQAP will continue to conduct operations outside of the Abyan governorate.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab announced that it had completed a well in the al Yassir refugee camp to provide fresh water to the inhabitants of the camp. The statement says, “This project comes within the framework of the services that the province seeks to provide to the victims. After it has already provided food, health care, housing, security and education to the victims, today, fresh water was provided to them . . .”
- Adan Yare, a local al Shabaab leader in the Hudur district of the Bakool region, warned locals not to contact anyone working for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), even relatives. He threatened action against those who violated the decree.
- Two al Shabaab militia groups fought over control of a checkpoint in the Sinka Der area outside of Mogadishu. No reports on casualties from either side.
- U.S. drone strikes reportedly hit at least three targets near Kismayo, a southern port under al Shabaab’s control. Al Shabaab militants claim to have shot down a “small surveillance” drone in Kismayo. The group has reportedly taken the wreckage.
- The al Shabaab administration in the Lower Shabelle region has stopped the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from operating in several areas that it controls including the town of Marka which is located south of Mogadishu. This follows allegations from the ICRC that al Shabaab was corrupt in its distribution of aid.
- A car bomb detonated in the parking lot of the UN Mine Action Service Building in Mogadishu. The explosion destroyed another car, killing a person in it, and damaged part of the compound’s wall.
- Fourteen TFG troops were killed and 15 others captured during clashes with al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu.