Gulf of Aden Security Review
A regularly updated review of both Yemen and the Horn of Africa covering topics related to security, governance, and militant activity.
Yemen: Military forces fight in Sana’a; security forces kill two demonstrators and wound nine others in Aden; pro- and anti-government protestors clash in Hudaydah; country-wide protests continue; the Arab League endorses the GCC’s initiative; Yemeni Attorney-General threatens to resign
Horn of Africa: al Shabaab shells high-ranking government residential compound in Baidoa; al Shabaab arrests at least six businessmen and elders; al Shabaab halts all Dhobley-bound trucks, closes roads; TFG Council of Ministers releases statement on UN’s Nairobi summit; TFG Prime Minister urges TFG Speaker of Parliament to “walk out” of UN summit; TFG president accuses UN of factionalizing Somalia; UN announces intention to facilitate unification of Ahlu Sunna factions; U.S. Vice President meets Kenyan Prime Minister
Yemen Security Brief
- Clashes occurred in Sana’a between loyalist and defected units. Pro-government security forces attacked a checkpoint manned by soldiers from the 1st Armored Division, which is under the command of defected General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar. Reports indicate that the rocket-propelled grenades were used during the fight. The AFP reports that the incident occurred in Amran, just outside of the capital. At least one officer was killed and two soldiers were injured. Four of the security forces were killed, according to reports.
- Clashes between protestors and security forces occurred in Aden. Reports indicate that anti-government demonstrators threw stones at security forces and built roadblocks to prevent troop movement. Security forces opened fire on the protestors, killing at least two people and injuring nine others.
- Yemen Post reported that a clash in Hudaydah between pro- and anti-government protestors injured at least 21 protestors.
- Protests continued in Sana’a, Taiz, Aden, Ibb, Hadramawt, Sa’ada, Hudaydah, and Dhamar against the GCC-mediated transition plan that would give President Saleh immunity from prosecution. The anti-government Civil Alliance of the Youth Revolution released a statement that reads, “The initiative does not clearly mention the immediate departure of the head of the regime and it did not touch on the fate of his relatives who are at the top military and security agencies that continue killing the peaceful protesters.” The president’s office issued a statement in response to the protests saying Saleh “has repeatedly expressed no reservations to the peaceful and smooth transfer of power within the constitution.”
- The Arab League announced its endorsement of the GCC-mediated transition negotiations. The General Secretariat of the Arab League released a statement urging Yemen to respect the right to peaceful expression; to refrain from using violence against peaceful protestors; and to respect the Yemeni people’s right to demand “freedom, reform, development, democratic change and social justice.”
- According to the Yemen Post, Yemeni Attorney General Abdullah al Olufi threatened to resign if the government did not immediately open an investigation into the March 18 crackdown that killed at least fifty people. “If the security authorities don’t identify those responsible for the massacre including those who were masked I will resign,” said Olufi.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab shelled Villa Baidoa, a residential compound for high-ranking government officials, in Mogadishu while the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) celebrated the 51st anniversary of the establishment of Somali military forces. Shabelle Media Network reported that three civilians were killed and forty-five bystanders injured.
- Al Shabaab arrested at least six businessmen and elders with ties to Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a in Bardhere, a town in the southern Gedo region. Shabelle Media Networks reports that Ahlu Sunna officials in Beled Hawo believe al Shabaab made the arrests because those in custody “believe the doctrine of Ahlu Sunna Waljama.”
- Al Shabaab closed all roads leading to Dhobley, which is on the Kenyan-Somali border, and stopped all Dhobley-bound trucks carrying food and other supplies. A similar al Shabaab-enforced embargo is in place barring all trucks from entering districts in the Gedo region.
- The Council of Ministers for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) released a statement on the ongoing political engagement of the UN Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) with the TFG. The statement criticized the UNPOS and the international community for not soliciting the TFG’s or Somali stakeholders’ input into the agenda for the consultative summit in Nairobi.
- TFG Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed urged TFG Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam to “walk out” of the UN-sponsored consultative summit in Nairobi, Kenya. The TFG cabinet released a press statement saying that the UNPOS and the international community did not consult the TFG before holding the summit.
- The UN Special Representative for Somalia Augustine Mahiga said that the UNPOS would facilitate the consolidation and political unification of the different Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a factions. Speaking at the opening meeting of the UN-sponsored consultative summit in Nairobi, Kenya, Mahiga said, “Ahlu Sunna has several regional leaders; all of them have come to the meeting, we like Ahlu Sunna [sic] to have one leadership.”
- TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed accused the UN of seeking to dismantle the TFG, factionalizing Somalia and Somali politics in the process. Ahmed added that the international community ought to support the TFG and support the Somali people’s right to self-determination.
- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga at the White House to discuss democratic reforms in Kenya, Kenya’s role in “advancing regional stability,” and the opportunity for “cooperation to address security and humanitarian challenges in Somalia.”