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: Alleged Southern Movement attack kills one soldier; motorcycle attack in Hudaydah kills at least one person; clashes in Sana’a and Taiz kill six people in total; UNSC meeting on Yemen inconclusive; Saleh seeking opposition support to help save face
Horn of Africa: At least eight people killed in clashes in Gedo region; al Shabaab leader urges attacks on AMISOM troops; East African Community summit praises improvements in Somalia, urges increase in international support; official speaks at workshop of TFG’s successes; Puntland president condemns attacks on mosques; Seychelles signs memorandum of understanding with Puntland and Somaliland
Yemen Security Brief
- At least six gunmen attacked security forces at a protest in Khormaksar district in Aden governorate, killing one soldier and wounding at least four other people. Some witnesses report that the gunmen were connected to the Southern Movement.
- A group of gunmen riding motorcycles drove past an anti-government protest group in the western port city of Hudaydah and opened fire on demonstrators, killing a guard standing watch over the demonstrators and injuring several other people. The protestors were at prayer when the attack occurred. Witnesses accuse the central government of hiring thugs to attack the protest.
- At least six people in total died and almost 100 others were injured in clashes between protestors and security forces in Sana’a and Taiz. Riot police fired on protestors in Sana’a marching towards Zubayri Street where Yemeni Vice President Abdul Rabu Mansour al Hadi lives. Protestors were also throwing stones at riot police and set fire to a security vehicle. Security forces fired at protestors burning tires on the street.
- Diplomats at the UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Yemen were unable to agree on a public statement or reach a resolution. Germany and Lebanon submitted a statement calling for restraint in violence. China and Russia argued that the protests in Yemen were internal affairs. The meeting was proposed by German ambassador to the UN Peter Wittig, who hoped a public statement by the UNSC would be seen as a strong message to Saleh to stop using violence against protestors.
- The New York Times reported that in a Western-backed transition plan, Yemen’s vice president would receive executive powers and the president would step down a month later with guarantees of immunity for his family. Elections would then be held within sixty days, as mandated by Yemen’s Constitution. President Ali Abdullah Saleh is also reportedly seeking for opposition leaders, such as General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, to leave Yemen for a predetermined period of time.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Forces allied with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) clashed with al Shabaab militants in the southern Lower Jubba region near the town of Dhobley, killing at least eight people. TFG-allied forces also clashed with al Shabaab gunmen in Busar, a village in the Gedo region with TFG military bases. An al Shabaab spokesman claimed to have killed and captured several TFG soldiers; TFG officials in the Gedo region deny those claims.
- Senior al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu al Zubayr, urged Somalis to attack AMISOM forces in a radio-broadcast speech. Godane said, “We say to Muslims, especially those living in the Gedo and Juba, Bay and Bakool, Hiran, and Galguduud, that you are the first line of defense of the Islamic provinces and Islam should not be attacked from your side. So, race with each other for goodness and jihad. It is worth mentioning the role fulfilled by the residents of Mogadishu, who sacrificed their lives and wealth for jihad in the Cause of Allah. Their patience serves to be an example for all Muslims, and Allah willing, AMISOM will be the last alliance to invade Mogadishu.”
- A final communiqué from a summit of the East African Community called for the U.S. and EU to increase support for AMISOM and for counter-piracy efforts in Somalia. The communiqué said, “The summit called upon the international community, in particular the U.S. and the European Union to enhance their support to AMISON [sic] including addressing the piracy menace.” The improved security situation in Somalia was also noted.
- Ambassador Boubacar G. Diarra, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for Somalia, spoke at a workshop in Italy. He noted that a TFG operation code-named PANUA-ENEO, which was backed by AMISOM, ran from February 16 to March 5 and successfully extended the area of government control in Mogadishu. TFG and AMISOM forces captured strategic sites that al Shabaab had used as operations and logistics bases, such as the former Ministry of Defense and the former Milk Factory. He claimed that the TFG now has full control of seven of Mogadishu’s 16 districts, six districts are contested, and three remain under al Shabaab’s control.
- Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole condemned the two mosque killings on April 16 and 17. Farole urged Puntland’s security forces to continue their efforts to promote peace and stability in the region.
- The Seychelles signed a memorandum of understanding with Puntland and Somaliland to transfer sentenced pirates back to the two autonomous Somali regions at a counter-piracy conference in Dubai.