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: Fighting continues in Sana’a; security forces clash with demonstrators in Taiz; al Houthi rebels clash with local tribesmen in al Jawf governorate; U.S. Secretary of State foresees continuing violence unless Saleh resigns; U.S. counter-terrorism advisor to meet with Saudi and UAE leaders to discuss Yemen
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases two communiqués describing separate attacks; TFG and AMISOM troops clash with al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu; AMISOM statement reassures businessmen in Bakara Market in a statement; ICG meeting in Kampala begins; Ahlu Sunna leaders announce that they will not attend the June 12 consultative meeting in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- Fighting continued between tribesmen loyal to Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar and soldiers loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana’a. Thousands of tribesmen were reported to be heading toward the capital to support Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar. The tribesmen coming from Amran governorate fought Yemeni security forces at a military post nine miles outside of the capital. Clashes were also reported in Amran city and the al Azreqain area. The conflict has spread to Hussein al Ahmar's residential compound in Sana'a on 50th street. Republican Guard units have become involved in the fighting in al Hasaba neighborhood. Both the interior ministry and a fourth army brigade camp in northwest Sana'a, located near the state television and radio headquarters, were reportedly hit by artillery.
- Security forces clashed with demonstrators in Taiz near the local presidential palace and a Republican Guard post. Medical sources reported no casualties. Security forces also raided the house of parliamentarian Sultan al Samie, a member of the opposition, and confiscated his computer and several documents.
- Al Houthi rebels clashed with local tribesmen in al Jawf governorate. Abdullah al Jamili, a senior tribal leader, reported that at least five tribesmen were killed. The al Houthis reportedly control large portions of al Jawf governorate.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the deteriorating security conditions in Yemen will continue unless President Saleh resigns. Clinton said, "President Saleh was given a very good offer, that we strongly backed, by the Gulf countries, and we cannot expect this conflict to end unless President Saleh and his government move out of the way to permit a – the opposition and civil society to begin a transition to political and economic reform."
- Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan will seek support from leaders in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. A White House statement reads, "As part of our close consultations with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners, Mr. Brennan next goes to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for meetings with government officials to discuss options to address the deteriorating situation in Yemen. We strongly condemn the recent clashes in Sana’a and the deplorable use of violence by the government against peaceful demonstrators in Taiz. These tragic events underscore the need for President Saleh to sign the GCC-brokered transition proposal and to begin the transfer of power immediately.”
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab released two communiqués on Islamist forums on May 31. The first communiqué claimed that al Shabaab militants attacked a pro-government militia commanded by Ahmad Madhubi in Kilibo in Jubba region on May 31. The communiqué added that at least nine people were killed, and militants captured nine “light Kalashnikovs and a military Land Cruiser vehicle.” The second communiqué, describing an attack on May 29, reported that “members of the [al Shabaab] Special Forces Battalion,” attacked a Ugandan military barracks, “one of the most important rear supply lines of the Ugandan Crusaders.” The communiqué noted that militants killed at least ten soldiers and destroyed a military vehicle.
- Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM troops clashed with al Shabaab militants in two separate operations in Mogadishu. The first operation, on Warshadaha Street, killed at least two people and wounded three others. The second operation, at the Arafat junction in Yaqshid district, killed at least five civilians and injured four others. AMISOM troops reportedly also seized new bases around Bakara Market. TFG army chief General Abdulkarin Yusuf Adam reported that "We are now controlling Al-Baraka junction and [a] former officers’ residential in Wershadaha road and we will be on alert.”
- AMISOM released a statement reassuring Mogadishu businessmen in Bakara Market that any military operation to force al Shabaab out of the area "will be undertaken with the greatest care to ensure minimum harm and damage to lives and property." The statement reads: "The Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, jointly with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), have [sic] assured the business community in Mogadishu of their commitment to the protection of lives, livelihoods and property within Bakara Market." TFG defense minister Abdihakim Mohamoud Haji Faqi said, "Securing Bakara Market itself remains one of our top priorities, since the insurgents use it as a base from which to launch attacks against the population and our forces...We have no interest in interfering with the legitimate business operations within the market...we wish to facilitate normal trade by eliminating the predations of the extremists and reopening the roads which they have kept closed to business and civilian traffic." AMISOM Chief of Staff Colonel Innocent Oula said, "While our joint forces are indeed close to the market, we have left a clear route open to the extremists to withdraw. We urge them to take advantage of this and spare the Somali people any more suffering."
- The International Contact Group (ICG) began its summit in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The summit will discuss the international community's role after the TFG's mandate expires on August 20. TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam, will attend.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama'a leaders will not be attending a UN-funded consultative meeting to mend the political rift within the TFG, slated to be held in Mogadishu on June 12 to 16. Sheikh Omar Sheikh Abdulkadir, the Ahlu Sunna chairman of consultation said that Ahlu Sunna officials were not invited and added that he believed the meeting would be "fruitless."