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: Press group criticizes media rights in Yemen; US freezes assets of Yemeni arms dealer; US to increase assistance to Yemeni special forces; Yemeni government to spend over $80 million to rebuild Sa’ada
Horn of Africa: Landmine blast and shelling kill 14 in Mogadishu; both al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a claim victory in Galgudud; Amnesty International: al Shabaab must release human rights activist; Somali pirates hijack three Thai vessels; Somali Interior Minister to WFP: release food from stores; Kenya calls on TFG to solve dispute in parliament; Puntland to open TV and radio stations in southern Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
- The Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders sharply criticized the state of the media in Yemen, saying that press freedom in the country has declined rapidly since late 2009. The group cited over six ongoing cases of reporters being jailed for political reasons, as well as the government’s closure of several newspapers in southern Yemen.
- The U.S. Treasury Department has frozen the assets of Faris Mana’a, a Yemeni arms dealer accused of violating a UN Security Council resolution prohibiting the distribution of weapons to Somalia. The U.S. decision came less than 24 hours after the UN had named Mana’a as a violator of UN resolutions 751 and 1907. He had previously been a mediator between the Yemeni government and the al Houthi rebels prior to the most recent conflict in Sa’ada.
- U.S. officials announced details of the authorized $150 million in security assistance for Yemen in FY2010. Officials said the assistance is meant to boost support for Yemen’s special operations forces to increase their capability to target AQAP. The Pentagon will reportedly provide $34 million in “tactical assistance” for Yemeni special forces and $38 million for military transport aircraft. Details regarding support for Yemen’s air transport capabilities will be announced later.
- The Yemeni government announced that it would set aside over $80 million to rebuild the war-torn northern city of Sa’ada. The government plans to fix 6,205 private buildings and 192 public facilities, which include schools, hospitals and police stations.
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
- The Islamist rebel group al Shabaab launched mortars at the International Airport of Aden Adde shortly after President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and a parliament speaker landed. However, the mortars missed the airport and landed in civilian areas killing 6. 5 soldiers and 3 civilians were also killed by a landmine explosion at a popular tea shop for government soldiers. No group has claimed responsibility for the landmine blast as of yet.
- Rival Islamist groups al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a both claimed victory over a clash which took place in the Godon village in the central Somali region of Galgudud. Both groups also claim the other initiated the hostilities.
- Amnesty International stated al Shabaab must release Alin Hilowle Hassan, director of Isha, a human rights organization in the Bay and Bakool region of southern Somalia. Hassan was captured at his home in Baidoa on April 16th by al Shabaab. 
- According to the EU Naval Force, three Thai fishing vessels, the MV Prantalay 11, 12, and 14, which are collectively carrying 77 crew members, have been seized by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.
- Somali Interior Minister Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar urged the UN World Food Program (WFP) to release its Mogadishu food stocks to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Omar stated WFP food stocks should be released, “instead of being locked in a store."
- Kenyan Livestock Minister Aden Barre Duale called on the TFG to solve its parliamentary dispute regarding its speaker and other Somali lawmakers.
- In a press conference regarding the war in southern and central Somalia, Puntland Minister of Information Abdihakim Ahmed Guled stated that Puntland authorities will “sooner or later” open a TV and radio station in southern Somalia, which will be “unbiased and impartial for all.” Guled also stated Puntland “will play a significant role in the unification of the repelling factions in Somalia.”