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 to sign GCC’s transition plan in Sana’a; clashes amidst protests in Aden and Hudaydah, unidentified gunmen kill soldier in Abyan; U.S. embassy condemns violence, urges restraint; Saleh fires prosecutor general
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab ambush in Gedo kills eight people; TFG and Ahlu Sunna troops capture Garbaharey; TFG officials say al Shabaab planning to bomb demonstrations; TFG president visits Mogadishu war zones
Yemen Security Brief
- President Ali Abdullah Saleh will sign the GCC's transition plan in Sana'a on April 30. Representatives of Yemen's opposition bloc, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), and Abdel Karim al Iryani, the vice president of the ruling party, the General People's Congress (GPC), will sign the transition plan on May 1 in Riyadh. Saleh also refused to sign the transition plan agreement "if the representatives of Qatar are present among the Gulf foreign ministers." Saleh added that "(Qatar) is involved in a conspiracy not just against Yemen but against all Arab countries."
- Protests continued throughout the country. Three Republican Guard troops were injured in Aden clashes amidst protests. In Krater, the capital of Aden, security forces stationed at Yemen's central bank reportedly opened fire indiscriminately after unidentified gunmen threw a grenade at a checkpoint on the road to the presidential palace. The unrest in Aden escalated into a protracted gunfight after local security forces deserted their posts. In Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, unidentified gunmen fired at state security offices killing one person and injuring another. In Hudaydah, ten protestors were wounded when plainclothes police fired on anti-government demonstrators. Pro- and anti-government demonstrations were held in Sana'a. Saleh addressed pro-government demonstrators: "These crowds of our people have said their word: yes, yes to the legitimacy of the constitution, no to coups, no to chaos."
- The U.S. Embassy in Yemen issued a statement condemning violence against protestors and urged all sides to exercise restraint: "The U.S. Embassy is distressed by the violence, April 27, that killed and injured hundreds of Yemeni citizens...The Embassy urges Yemeni citizens to demonstrate their commitment to this peaceful transition by avoiding all provocative demonstrations, marches, and speeches in the coming days and to welcome this opportunity to lay the foundation of a strong, peaceful, prosperous Yemen for the future. We also urge government security forces to refrain from using violence against demonstrators."
- Saleh fired Yemen's prosecutor general, Abdullah al Olefi, replacing him with Ali Ahmed Nasser al Awash. Olefi had reportedly refused to name youth protestors responsible for the violence in Sana'a on April 27.
Horn of Africa Brief
- Al Shabaab militants ambushed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops in the Gedo region. At least eight combatants were killed and dozens of others were reportedly injured in the clash. Al Shabaab troops attacked TFG troops in Kured, a village near Gedo's Luq district.
- TFG troops and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama'a fighters captured Garbaharey from al Shabaab. Al Shabaab militants "emptied...as we approached," said Mohamed Abdi Kalil, the TFG governor of the Gedo region. Ahlu Sunna fighters detained Garbaharey residents suspected of al Shabaab affiliations. The capture of Garbaharey is part of a broader TFG and Ahlu Sunna campaign to recapture major towns in Gedo. Websites affiliated with al Shabaab reportedly claim that the withdrawal is part of an al Shabaab plot to lure TFG troops into a trap.
- TFG officials said that al Shabaab is planning to bomb mass demonstrations in Mogadishu. Abdishakur Sheikh Hassan Farah, the TFG interior and home security minister, and Sharif Sheikhuna Maye, Somalia's chief of police, urged Mogadishu residents not to hold political rallies or mass demonstrations.
- TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said that TFG troops had made significant gains in Mogadishu. While visiting war zones in Mogadishu, Ahmed added that TFG troops have weakened al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu.