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: Thousands demonstrate in rural areas of southern and central Yemen; President Saleh announces further concessions aimed at students; AQAP fighter sentenced to seven years imprisonment; interior minister meets with British ambassador
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases 25 minute video documenting merger with Hizb al Islam; anti-Somaliland protests leave one person dead; Puntland accuses Somaliland of killing civilians; TFG parliament and Mogadishu elders condemn massacre of civilians by TFG forces
Yemen Security Brief
- Thousands of protestors demonstrated against the ruling party in rural areas in southern and central Yemen. Eyewitnesses reported that the Joint Meeting Parties gathered over 3,000 supporters in Maweya, in Taiz governorate, and an estimated 1,500 people turned out in the central al Hada district of Dhamar governorate, an area thought to have been loyal to the ruling party.
- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh unveiled further concessions to protestors, announcing the expansion of social security coverage to an additional 500,000 families and exempting all students at public universities from paying tuition for the 2010-2011 academic year. Saleh also ordered the government to create a special fund to provide jobs for 25 percent of graduating students this year and a greater proportion in subsequent years. Unemployment amongst Yemen’s youth is estimated at 54 percent.
- Hadramawt governorate’s Specialized Penal Court sentenced suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militant Marwan Jaman ba-Duis to seven years after finding him guilty of planning acts of terrorism. The verdict noted that AQAP militants had prepared the materials necessary for an attack and were in the final stages of planning their operation.
- Yemeni interior minister Mutahar al Masri met with Jonathan Wilks, the British ambassador to Yemen, to discuss bilateral cooperation between the two countries and opportunities to expand the Yemeni counterterrorism program.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab’s media arm, the al Kata’ib Foundation, released a 25-minute video documenting the December 2010 unification of al Shabaab and Hizb al Islam and celebrating the “Year of Unity.” In the film, al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage announced that the unification of the groups will allow al Shabaab to confront “the global Zionist-Christian Crusade,” and called upon other jihadists worldwide to unite, extending a special appeal to the leaders of Ansar al Islam and the Islamic State of Iraq.
- Clashes between protestors and Somaliland security forces in the city of Las Anod left one civilian dead. The city of Las Anod has been a hotbed of tension since October 2007, when Somaliland forces took control after the withdrawal of Puntland soldiers.
- Puntland has accused Somaliland of killing civilians in Buhoodle, a town along the Ethiopian border. Reports say that fifteen people died in clashes between militias close to the Puntland administration and al Shabaab security forces.
- Transitional Federal Government (TFG) MP Ali Mohamed Farah and Ahmed Diriye, the spokesman of the Hawiye elders of Mogadishu, jointly condemned a January 31, 2011 incident in which TFG soldiers fired anti-aircraft weapons into a crowd of civilians, killing 17 people. The shooting was said to be accidental.