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: Local AQAP commander killed in Zinjibar fighting; gunmen attempt to assassinate Aden security chief; vigilante committees patrol Taiz; Saleh reportedly suffers from extreme burns and internal bleeding; tribesmen withdraw from several buildings in Sana’a; demonstrators march to acting president’s house; U.S. State Department spokesman urges transition; UK foreign secretary urges transition; UNICEF representative reports malnutrition, fuel shortage, and cholera outbreak in Yemen
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants dig trenches in Bakara Market; Canadian al Shabaab militant and five other people killed in separate incidents in Mogadishu; unidentified gunmen assassinate Galkayo judge; clash in southern village in Galkayo kills three people; TFG prime minister says parliament speaker responsible for protracted political crisis
Yemen Security Brief
- The Yemeni Air Force reportedly bombed the outskirts of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate. The Defense Ministry reported that Hassan al Aqili, an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) commander in Ma'rib governorate, was killed in clashes between Islamist militants and government troops.
- Unidentified gunmen attempted to assassinate Ghazi Ahmed Ali, Aden governorate's chief of security, in Aden's Sheikh Osman district. The attack killed Ali's bodyguard and injured two other people.
- Witnesses report that tribesmen and "gunmen backed by the opposition" established a civilian militia in Taiz following the withdrawal of government security forces on June 5. The civilian militia is protecting vital installations and neighborhoods. Sheikh Hamoud Saeed al Mikhlafi, the head of Taiz's tribal council, reported that Taiz is "under the control" of the anti-government opposition. Mikhlafi added that tribesmen would "protect the peaceful (anti-regime) demonstrators."
- New details on President Ali Abdullah Saleh's medical conditions suggest that Saleh suffers from third degree burns to forty percent of his body as well as internal bleeding in his skull. Saleh was severely injured when a rocket hit the presidential compound in Sana'a and killed 11 people and wounded over 150 people. Yemeni officials had originally reported that Saleh suffered burns to his face, neck, and chest, and underwent surgery to remove a piece of wood lodged near his heart. Rashad al Alimi, a senior security advisor to Saleh, is reportedly still unconscious. Yemeni presidential spokesman Ahmed al Sufi rejected these reports, saying, "The American government is mainly interested in a transfer of power from whomever to whomever...This is why they make up these stories. Definitely within a week, he will come back."
- Abdul Qai al Qaisi, the Hashid tribal confederation spokesman, reported that tribesman loyal to Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar withdrew from several government buildings, including the national news agency headquarters and at least one ministry.
- Thousands of demonstrators marched to acting Yemeni President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi's residence in Sana'a. The protestors demanded the formation of an interim government. Youth demonstrators held a 24-hour sit-in at the acting president's house. A ceasefire, brokered by the Saudi government, reportedly remains intact in Sana'a.
- U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner reported that U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein met with "acting President Hadi and convey[ed] our views...that transition should begin...in keeping with the Gulf Cooperation Council's efforts and the agreement they put forth."
- British Foreign Secretary William Hague informed the British Parliament that the deteriorating security situation in Yemen is "extremely uncertain." Hague said, "We urge the Vice President to work closely with all sides to implement the Gulf Cooperation Council Agreement and to begin political transition now." Eighty Royal Marines are reportedly stationed on the RFA Argus vessel off the coast of Yemen. The Marines could be deployed in a 48-hour window to evacuate British citizens in Yemen.
- Geert Cappelaere, the Yemen representative for UNICEF, said that a solution to Yemen's political problems would not be "an end to the problems." Cappelaere reported that "Malnutrition levels are horrendous. Food prices are going up so malnutrition levels that are already high are going up too." Cappelaere added that fuel shortages were exacerbating the humanitarian crisis and hindering international aid efforts. He reported a cholera outbreak in southern Yemen due to displaced people drinking unsafe water.
Horn of Africa Brief
- Transitional Federal Government (TFG) army chief Abdikarim Yusuf Adam reported that al Shabaab militants have dug trenches inside Bakara Market after losing control of several military bases. Adam warned that this would prolong the closure of Bakara Market.
- A Canadian al Shabaab militant and five other people were killed in separate incidents in Mogadishu. The Canadian militant, Muhan Jeans, also known as Abdurrahman al Kanadi (Canadian), and another militant were killed when they attempted to cross a TFG-controlled checkpoint. Jeans commanded an al Qaeda-linked group in the Jubba regions. Residents discovered three "bullet-riddled" bodies in al Shabaab-controlled areas in northern Mogadishu. Another body was discovered in Dharkenley district.
- Unidentified gunmen assassinated a judge in Galkayo, Puntland. Mahamud aw Gelle, the judge, was reportedly shot three times in the head. Puntland security forces have launched an investigation.
- Unidentified militants attacked a southern village in Galkayo. The clash killed three people and injured six others.
- TFG Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed criticized Sheikh Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam, the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) speaker, for the prolonging the political crisis in Somalia. Mohamed said, "He (the speaker) is not sincere on the general interest of the country because he running after his personal ends. We are at state of war against naughty militants, who are committed destroying our beloved nation, and that made impossible elections to be hold at this time [sic].” Mohamed noted that Adam rebuffed the Council of Ministers’ attempts to resolve the political rift. Mohamed reported that the TFP had not met for six months since the political disagreement over the TFP's insistence that national elections be held. Talks between Hassan and TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, mediated by UN Special Representative to Somalia Augustine Mahiga, will resume in Kampala, Uganda.