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: Yemeni vice president presents plan to restore order; Yemeni foreign minister meets with U.S. ambassador to Yemen
Horn of Africa: UN-backed consultative conference delayed; Ahlu Sunna vows to “purge” al Shabaab from central Somalia; defected al Shabaab commanders deny responsibility for Mogadishu bombings; al Shabaab seizes cattle in Shabelle region
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi announced a security plan on December 14 that seeks to “remove all militias and weapons from the capital and other cities.” The military committee will oversee the implementation of this plan in order to ensure a swift return to “normalcy” in Yemen’s cities. Also included in the plan is a dismantling of military checkpoints and a restructuring of the armed services. This plan is set to take effect on December 17.
- Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi met with U.S. ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein in Sana’a. The discussion focused on the visit of ambassadors of permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Union (EU) head, to Taiz governorate and their findings regarding the implementation of the GCC initiative thus far. Qirbi and Feierstein both reiterated the importance of following the terms set forth by the initiative and stressed that the withdrawal of troops and armed militias from Yemeni cities is vital to securing Yemen’s stability and progress.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The second phase of the UN-sponsored consultative conferences examining how to end the transition in Somalia was postponed from December 15. A new date has not been set. The meeting was supposed to take place in Garowe in Nugal region and was expected to discuss important tasks the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was to complete over the next 12 months.
- Sheikh Ahmed Abdullahi Mohamed, deputy commander for Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a in central Somalia, vowed to “purge” al Shabaab militants from central Somalia by January 1, 2012 during an interview with Shabelle Media Network. He said that Ahlu Sunna would launch a major offensive by the end of this year to dislodge al Shabaab from the central regions, specifically the Galgudud region.
- Several defected al Shabaab commanders held a press conference on December 15 denying rumors that they were responsible for the recent bombings in Mogadishu. One of them, Abdikadir Ibrahim, who is also known as Abu Qurtub, said that al Shabaab was the only enemy of the country, the people, and the religion.
- Al Shabaab militants ordered residents in Lower Shabelle region to surrender cattle to the group to be “used in Jihad” against TFG and Kenyan forces. SONNA reported that after issuing the statement, al Shabaab began seizing the cattle by force warning residents not to resist or they would “face severe consequences.”