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: Republican Guard troops clash with tribesmen in Sana’a; loyalist troops reportedly bomb the headquarters of General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar and Brigadier-General Mohammed Khalil; JMP declares GCC’s transition plan terminated; U.S. State Department spokesman urges Saleh to accept the transition plan
Horn of Africa: Commander of U.S. Pacific Command says piracy stems from land-based problems; Puntland militia and Somaliland troops reportedly clash; AU Special Representative notes increases in security in Mogadishu will improve governance; TFG interior minister announces moratorium on sale of firearms in Mogadishu; senior elder supports upcoming consultation, urges broad participation
Yemen Security Brief
- Republican Guard units and soldiers loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh clashed with Hashidi tribesmen in Sana'a. The fighting killed at least 41 people. The conflict expanded into the Hadda district in the south of the capital. Tribesmen reportedly occupy the upper house of parliament; the headquarters of the General People's Congress (GPC), the ruling party; the Interior Ministry; the General Prosecutor’s office; a police station in al Hasaba; a key road leading to the airport; and a building close to the south-western side of Saleh's presidential palace. Abdel Qai al Qasi, a spokesman for Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar, said, "Any place that poses any danger to us and that they are firing at us from, we will take it."
- Loyalist troops reportedly shelled the headquarters of defected General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, the commander of the 1st Armored Division, and the headquarters of Brigadier General Mohammed Khalil, the commander of an armored division responsible for "guarding sensitive government institutions." Defected officers suspected that the government ordered attacks on Khalil’s headquarters because of rumors he might join the opposition. The Defense Ministry denied attacking Ali Mohsen's headquarters.
- U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner condemned the use of violence in Taiz and urged Saleh to sign the GCC's transition plan. Toner said, "Our ambassador there remains engaged, obviously, with the Yemeni Government. We continue to urge President Saleh to accept the offer that the GCC has put before him as a way out of this current situation, this current crisis...President Saleh just needs to live up to commitments he's made to accept the GCC's agreement." Referring to the violence against protestors in Taiz, Toner said, "We condemn those indiscriminate attacks by Yemeni security forces."
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Commander of U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Robert Willard urged a holistic solution to Somali piracy. Speaking at a regional summit in Malaysia, Admiral Willard said that naval patrols in the Gulf of Aden is insufficient: "The organizers, the funders are the central problem ... but the international community has been unable to determine how to tackle the problem onshore...Clearly one thing is to help Somalia recover from being the ungoverned state that it is...Unless the international community goes to the root, and not the far end of the problem, it won't be solved."
- Puntland and Somaliland troops fought near Tukaraq village in Somaliland. At least three Somaliland soldiers and ten Puntland fighters were wounded in the clash. Ahmed Hussein, a Somaliland military officer, reported that "fighting began noon and...[Somaliland] captured five militias, one battle wagon and few hundred rounds of ammunition." Ali Askar, the minister of information in Puntland, accused the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of stoking conflict between Somaliland and Puntland. Askar noted that "it is important that Somaliland has good relationship with Puntland, however Somaliland will not negotiate in defending its territorial rights." Askar added that Puntland had launched search operations in Galkayo in central Somalia and allegedly captured at least three people in connection with al Shabaab.
- Ambassador Boubacar Gaoussou Diarra, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, said, "What we are doing in Somalia through our security support to the Transitional Federal Institutions is to create an enabling environment for the government to effectively implement their stipulated tasks as enshrined in the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC). This will in turn enable the Somali population to determine their rights and destiny in the post-transition period... any and all effort aimed at resolving the Somali crisis must be based on a regional strategy because of the overwhelming contribution into, and impact of regional actors and regional factors, respectively in the Somali situation."
- Ashakur Hassan Farah, the TFG interior minister, announced a moratorium on the sale of firearms in Mogadishu. Farah said, "We’re warning businessmen involved in buying and selling weapons in the city to stop."
- Jama Isse Gaab, also known as Jama Bisle, the head of the Somali Darod Cultural Unity Council, lent his support to the upcoming June 15 consultation meeting aiming to mend the political rift within the TFG. Gaab added that, "I suggest the dialogue should not become only for politicians but also to participate the different brands of the society as well as the elders."