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: U.S. State Department reports 12 U.S. citizens held in Yemen; Yemeni FM al Qirbi insists no U.S. bases allowed on territory; al Beidh appeals to international community for south Yemen protection; state authorities drop cases against 33 journalists; Amnesty International alleges U.S. missile use in December 17 strike
Horn of Africa: Somali defense minister Indho Adde resigns; Kenya bolsters security in border region after report of potential Shabaab attack; fighting in Hiraan and Galgudud last week displaced thousands, no local authority in Beledweyne; Kenya asks U.S. VP Biden for U.S. support in Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
- U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said that Yemen had detained twelve Americans. He did not go into specifics as to whether those detained were linked to al Qaeda.
- Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi insisted in an interview with the Egyptian paper al Ahram that cooperation with the United States is limited to intelligence and that there are no American bases on Yemeni soil. Al Qirbi reaffirmed Sana’a’s commitment to eradicate al Qaeda and reiterated that all captured terrorism suspects would be tried in Yemen, according to Yemeni law. He also reiterated Yemen’s belief that Iranian religious groups support the al Houthi rebels.
- Ali Salem al Beidh urged the international community to protect residents in southern Yemen, a day after clashes in Dhaleh between the Yemeni army and secessionist rebels killed or wounded nearly two dozen people.
- A Yemeni court dropped eight lawsuits on Tuesday involving 33 journalists as part of the presidential pardon given on the 20th anniversary of the country’s Unification Day. The journalists had been charged with “harming the national unity, inciting regionalism, insulting statutory bodies, and disseminating false information to weaken the armed forces.”
- Amnesty International alleges that American missiles were used in the December 17, 2009 attacks against al Qaeda in Yemen’s Abyan province, based on post-raid images showing Tomahawk cruise missile remnants. Cluster bombs were also used in the assault. The U.S. has acknowledged providing military assistance for the strikes; however, Yemen denied U.S. involvement.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali Defense Minister Indo Adde resigned his post Tuesday and said he will explain his motive soon.
- Kenya bolstered its security in its Tana River District near the Somali border following reports that al Shabaab was planning a raid to free a militant, Mohammed Musa, from a prison there. Musa was arrested last week for defilement and Kenyan police are now moving him to a more secure location
- Last week’s fighting between Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a and al Shabaab in Galgudud displaced 30,000 people. Most of these were refugees who fled Dhusa Mareb and the surrounding towns of Eil Dheer, Mareer Gur, and Gadon and Bula’le, even though Ahlu Sunna stopped al Shabaab’s attack 10 kilometers short of Dhusa Mareb. A combination of fighting and flooding displaced an additional 25,000 to 30,000 people in Beledweyne. Since Hizb al Islam withdrew from the town, no group has stepped in to assume local governance, which has exacerbated the refugee situation.
- Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki asked the United States to lead an international effort to stabilize Somalia Tuesday as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with him in Nairobi.