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: Clash in Taiz kills at least one person; former regime members form new opposition party; Interior Ministry hands 14 suspects to the General Prosecution
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab bans women from selling qat in Bardhere; pro-government forces may be preparing for an operation in Gedo region; Puntland minister announces future establishment of anti-piracy prisons and courts; Puntland security forces impose curfew in Boosaaso
Yemen Security Brief
- Security forces fired on protestors in Taiz, killing at least one person and injuring four others. Security forces opened fire when protestors barricaded streets with burning tires and prepared to march past the local governor’s office.
- Several former high-ranking government officials who had defected from President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) formed the “Justice and Construction Bloc,” a new opposition party. The new party includes leader of the Bakil tribe Mohammed Abu Lahoum, former minister of transportation Khaled al Wazeer, former minister of tourism Nabil al Faqih, and the former minister of human rights Huda al Ban. The new party says it will strive to “establish a civil society based on democracy, peaceful transfer of power and respect of others” and has echoed the broader opposition’s calls for Saleh to relinquish power.
- Yemen’s Interior Ministry arrested 14 men suspected of killing sixty anti-government protestors and injuring hundreds of others on March 18. The Ministry handed the men over to Yemen’s General Prosecution. Thirty other men are being investigated for their links to the shooting.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab banned women from selling qat in the Bardhere district of Gedo region and gave female qat sellers thirty days to shut down their businesses. Al Shabaab also gave local cigarette traders 15 days to remove their business from the district. Al Shabaab regional commissioner Sheikh Abaas Abdullah Abdurrahman said, “This is a final word from my office and whoever does not apply with this verdict will see the consequence, we have clearly indicated the deadlines of this issues and I would like to recommend the inhabitants of Bardere district to be very careful of the time, and Insha Allah I hope that you will abide by this rule.”
- Residents in the Elwaq district in Gedo region report that Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces allied with Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a forces have begun preparing to attack al Shabaab forces in the region.
- Mohamoud Sayid Adam, a Somali parliamentarian, said that at least nine al Shabaab militants from al Shabaab’s Lower Jubba and Gedo region administrations defected to TFG forces. In Mogadishu, TFG deputy defense minister Abdirashid Mohammed Hidig said that four al Shabaab fighters from Mogadishu’s Bondhere district defected to TFG forces.
- Puntland minister of marine transport, ports, and counter-piracy efforts Saeed Mohamed Rage said that Puntland plans to establish special prisons and courts in Garowe and Boosaaso for cases of piracy. The courts and prisons will be ready in three to four months. Puntland signed an agreement with the Seychelles to repatriate and transfer sentenced pirates. Rage added, “The European Union will fund [the prisons], in collaboration with Norway, and also mostly the UK.”
- Puntland’s security forces have imposed a curfew in the town of Boosaaso as part of an ongoing operation by Puntland’s special security forces and the police. Puntland’s Chief of Police in the Bari region Sa’id Jama Harun said that security forces arrested at least ten individuals as a result of the operation so far.
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a comprehensive solution to solving piracy in the Gulf of Aden at a counter-piracy conference in Dubai. Ban Ki-moon said, “Piracy is not a water-borne disease. It is a symptom of conditions on the ground, including the overall security and political situation in Somalia. Therefore, our response must be holistic and comprehensive, encompassing simultaneous action on three fronts: deterrence, security and the rule of law, and development.” At the same conference, TFG foreign minister Mohammed Abdulahi Omar Asharq said, “It is equally clear that piracy can only be uprooted on land, where it grows and persists...The international community must make the urgent and necessary investment in the Somali security forces to build up the capability of the state and to establish its national authority.”