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 government arrested military officers suspected of defecting; hundreds of thousands of protestors hold mass rival rallies; Yemeni foreign minister visited President Saleh in Riyadh
Horn of Africa: Two refugees killed in Kenyan refugee camp; U.S. military retrieves bodies of militants in Somalia; Somali prime minister called al Shabaab “spent force”; Somali president criticizes Shabaab for interfering with humanitarian efforts
Yemen Security Brief
- President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son Ahmad has overseen the arrest of dozens of military officers, including members of the elite Republican Guard and Central Security Forces, for betraying the Saleh regime. Officers are accused of reaching out to defected General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, providing information to the opposition, or refusing orders to fire on civilians.
- Hundreds of thousands of protestors demonstrated across Yemen to demand the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime. Leading protest activist Wassim al Qurshi told AFP, “We want the departure of the remains of the regime as well as the swift formation of an interim ruling council that would lead the country during a transitional period until a date is set for presidential and parliamentary elections.” Other protesters chanted, “Hand in hand to achieve our goal…The people want a transitional council…Tell Saudi Arabia that Yemen is a republic…Yemen is not Bahrain.” Saleh supporters held counter-demonstrations south of the capital, Sana’a.
- Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi visited President Ali Abdullah Saleh at the Riyadh military hospital on June 30. Al Qirbi discussed with Saleh the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and the UN Security Council statement urging further negotiations between the government and opposition.
- Two refugees were killed in the Dadaab complex of refugee camps in Kenya’s north-eastern province when police tried to suppress a riot using tear gas then live ammunition. Protesters gathered in Dagahaley refugee camp to “protest an attempt to demolish illegal structures around a food distribution point.” Adrian Edwards, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters, “Sadly, this incident is symptomatic of the pressures at the camp amid overcrowding compounded by the very high number of arrivals we have been seeing recently from Somalia.” Approximately 370,000 Somalis have taken residence in the refugee camp.
- Somalia’s Defense Minister Abdulhakim Haji Faqi said U.S. military forces recovered the bodies of militants injured in a June 23 drone strike near Kismayo. He added, “But we are not complaining about [the U.S. action]. Absolutely not. We welcome it…We understand that the U.S.’s need to quickly act on its intelligence on the ground…We urge the U.S. to continue its strike against al-Shabab because if it keeps those strikes up, it will be easier for us to defeat al-Shabab.”
- Somali Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Omar said in an interview that al Shabaab rebels are a “spent force.” He said, “What is indicative is that in six months, a four-month period, the psychological position and dominance of Al-Shebab has been fully broken. They have suffered major physical defeats, but more important is really the fact that Al-Shebab is now ideologically and programmatically a spent force. There is nothing that they have to offer the people of Somalia, let alone the world.”
- Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed “accused al Shabaab of colonizing Somalia” and of restricting the efforts of humanitarian aid agencies.