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: Saleh officially accepts GCC’s transition plan, opposition accepts it with reservations; security forces kill two protestors in separate incidents; U.S. welcomes transition plan, urges swift implementation
Horn of Africa: Kenya arrests three would-be al Shabaab bombers; TFG and Ahlu Sunna preparing to attack al Shabaab in Gedo region; al Shabaab captures and then withdraws from Dhusamareb; clash in Luq and Elwaq kills at least 17 people; al Shabaab executes two boys in Mogadishu; tribal leader assassinated in Boosaaso; TFG delays national elections; Ugandan generals request 4,000 soldiers to augment AMISOM force
Yemen Security Brief
- President Ali Abdullah Saleh officially accepted the GCC’s transition plan on April 23. The opposition accepted the plan with reservations and is expected to submit a counterproposal. The youth movement rejected the transition plan because it offers the president and his family immunity from prosecution and called for an escalation in anti-government demonstrations.
- Protests continued throughout Yemen despite the political developments. In Sana’a, thousands of people remained in the streets in protest, ringed by defected army units. South of the capital in Taiz, police fired on protestors in al Turbah district, injuring at least six people. The violence continued in the capital city in Taiz, where there are reports that security forces have fired at protestors. Protestors have also been shot in Ibb and al Bayda governorates.
- State Department spokesman Mark Toner spoke in support of the GCC plan and said that there should be “genuine participation by all sides, including youth, in an open and transparent process. Toner added that the process should address the protestors’ legitimate concerns. He concluded, “We will not speculate about the choices the Yemeni people will make or the results of their political dialogue.” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement, “We applaud the announcements by the Yemeni Government and the opposition that they have accepted the GCC-brokered agreement to resolve the political crisis in a peaceful and orderly manner…. The United States supports a peaceful transfer of power in Yemen that is responsive to the aspirations of the Yemeni people…We encourage all parties to move swiftly to implement the terms of the agreement so that the Yemeni people can soon realise the security, unity and prosperity that they have so courageously sought and so richly deserve.”
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Kenyan police forces arrested three Somali would-be al Shabaab bombers in northeastern Kenya. The Kenyan provincial police commander Leo Nyongesa reported that the three man were attempting to smuggle bomb-making materials from Kenya.
- Mohammed Abdi Kalil, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) governor of the Gedo region, said that TFG forces were readying a large offensive against al Shabaab in the Gedo region. Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama'a forces are similarly poised to attack al Shabaab militants in the Gedo region. Residents believe that conflict is imminent.
- Al Shabaab militants killed at least six people and injured dozens more when they attacked the Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a-controlled town of Dhusamareb. Militants withdrew from Dhusamareb hours after gaining control and set up a camp about 20 km from the town, according to local elders. Ahlu Sunna militants have re-entered the town.
- Pro-government militias, including Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama'a fighters, fought with al Shabaab militants in Gedo region's Luq and Elwaq districts, killing 17 people and injuring at least thirty people.
- Al Shabaab fighters executed two young boys in Mogadishu's Hawl Wadag district. The militants captured the two boys, tied their hands, and then executed them. It is unknown what the boys did.
- Tribal leader Saeed Mohamed Saeed ”Kashwiito” was assassinated outside Boosaaso's al Rasheed mosque. Puntland’s President Abdirahman Mohammed Farole said al Shabaab was responsible. This is the sixth tribal leader that has been assassinated in the last two months. No group has claimed responsibility for the killings.
- The TFG cabinet issued a statement that read, “The cabinet ministers have underlined that election is impossible because of insecurity. This decision strengthens our previous decision that elections should be postponed by one year. This is to ensure that ongoing security and political developments (are completed).” According to the government’s mandate, elections are to be held by August 20, 2011.
- Commander of the Uganda People's Defense Forces Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Katumba Wamala requested 4,000 additional soldiers, citing the "need to fully wipe out the insurgents and have full control of the country." Wamala added, “We see reduced al-Shabab activity both in Somalia and in the region, but if we can finish them we will not be having them disturbing the peace." Ninety Ugandan soldiers have died in Somalia as part of the African Union peacekeeping mission over the past four years.