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: President Saleh offers to step down January 2012, opposition rejects proposal; military announces loyalty to constitution; Arab League ambassador, among others, steps down; two AQAP militants killed in Abyan governorate; seven die in clashes with al Abdeen tribe and al Houthi rebels in Sa’ada

Horn of Africa: UN calls for greater humanitarian aid access in south central Somalia; EU criticizes TFG parliament; TFG plans to rid Mogadishu of al Shabaab in ninety days; at least one death in fighting between TFG and al Shabaab in Mogadishu, two al Shabaab militants confirmed dead; Somali Military Court warns forces not to harm civilians; al Shabaab ambush kills two TFG soldiers in Hiraan; artillery fighting in al Shabaab controlled Dhobley causes civilians to flee; three policemen die in bomb planted at station in Beled Hawo, al Shabaab suspects captured

Yemen Security Review

  • President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to an opposition proposal made at the beginning of March to step down from office at the end of the year. The opposition rejected the proposal and demanded he step down immediately. President Saleh’s spokesman Ahmed al Sufi claimed Saleh will not hand over power to the military. Saleh warned army commanders, “Those who want to climb up to power through coups should know that this is out of the question. The homeland will not be stable, there will be a civil war, a bloody war.” Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) spokesman Mohammed Qahtan in rejecting the offer said, “He has one option and it is to leave now, right now, without delaying, without conditions.”[1]
  • Saba News Agency reported that the military issued a statement announcing their loyalty to the government and the constitution. They declared that they would protect the security of the country and not stop any threats to democracy.[2]
  • Yemen’s representative to the Arab League Abdel Malik Mansour, ambassadors from Jordan, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, China, and Czech Republic resigned from their posts. The minister of water and the environment Abdul Rahman al Iryani announced his support for the opposition on Tuesday. The ambassador to Jordan has also denounced his loyalty to Saleh, but maintains he is still an ambassador.[3]
  • Fighting killed two al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants and injured five Yemeni soldiers in Lawder in Abyan governorate. A security official reported that the militants had surrounded a Yemeni army unit.[4]
  • The pro-government al Abdeen tribe clashed with al Houthi rebels in Sa’ada governorate. The fighting resulted in the deaths of at least seven people and thirteen others were wounded.[5]

Gulf of Aden Security Review

  • The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Mark Bowden requested increased access to Somalia for humanitarian aid especially in south central Somalia. A current drought has left 2.4 million Somalis in need of assistance.[6]
  • The European Union criticized the Somalia’s Transition Federal Government (TFG) citing a deep concern over security in the country and international security.  The EU urged government institutions to remain unified and discouraged the extension of the Transitional Federal Parliament’s mandate. The EU also reaffirmed its humanitarian support and will discuss increased financial aid.[7]
  • TFG forces displayed the bodies of two al Shabaab militants killed in Mogadishu to journalists. Somali army chief Abdikarim Yusuf Adam reported that Tuesday’s offensive, backed by AMISOM, that targeted al Shabaab military bases in Hodan and Hawl Wadag districts of Mogadishu was victorious.[8]
  • Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed stated that with the aid of the international community and support from the people of Somalia government forces will be able to push al Shabaab out of Mogadishu in ninety days.[9]
  • Artillery exchanges between TFG forces, backed by African Union peacekeeping troops, and al Shabaab fighters erupted in Mogadishu early on Tuesday. Mogadishu districts of Hodan, Hawl Wadag and Bondhere were also hit by the fighting. At least one person was confirmed dead and five others wounded.[10]
  • Somalia’s Military Court issued a statement warning Somali forces not to commit crimes against Somali civilians. Judge Hassan Mohammed Hussein warned of strict punishment for those who violate this order.[11]
  • Civilians fled al Shabaab-controlled Dhobley in the Lower Jubba region after artillery fighting erupted with TFG forces Monday night.[12]
  • Two TFG soldiers were killed and many injured in an ambush by al Shabaab militants on a Hiraan region military base.[13]
  • A bomb detonated near a police station in Beled Hawo in Gedo region wounding three policemen. Suspected al Shabaab militants were captured by TFG forces during a security patrol in the region.[14]

[1] Laura Kasinoff and Scott Shane, “Yemeni Leaders Offers to Exit Earlier,” New York Times, March 22, 2011. Available:
“Yemen’s leader says he is ready to step down by year’s end, vows not to hand power to military,” Washington Post, March 22, 2011. Available: 
“Yemen’s Saleh to step down by January 2011 after polls,” Reuters, March 22, 2011. Available:
“Yemen opposition says reject Saleh early poll offer,” Reuters, March 22, 2011. Available:
“Yemen president warns of ‘coup’, civil war,” Reuters, March 22, 2011.  Available:
[2] “Armed, Security forces announces significant statement,” Saba News, March 21, 2011. Available: 
[3] Laura Kasinoff and Scott Shane, “Yemeni Leaders Offers to Exit Earlier,” New York Times, March 22, 2011. Available:
“Several Yemeni ambassadors announce their support to youths of the revolution,” Yemen Post, March 21, 2011. Available:
“Yemen’s ambassador defects to opposition,” Associated Press, March 22, 2011. Available:
[4] “Two Qaeda militants killed in Yemen: official,” AFP, March 22, 2011. Available:
[5] “Seven killed, 13 injured in clashes in north Yemen,” Xinhua, March 21, 2011. Available:
[6] “The UN urges greater humanitarian access to assist Somalis on World Water Day,” ReliefWeb, March 22, 2011. Available:
[7] “EU slams Somali parliament performance, pledges support to TFG,” Shabelle Media Network, March 22, 2011. Available:
[8] “Somali army displays two al Shabaab bodies in Mogadishu,” Shabelle Media Network, March 22, 2011. Available:
[9] Abdalle Ahmed “PM says another ninety days needed to secure the capital,” RBC Radio, March 22, 201. Available:
[10] “Fighting, shelling erupt in the capital,” Shabelle Media Network, March 22, 2011. Available:
[11] “Military Court warns Somali soldiers,” Shabelle Media Network, March 22, 2011. Available:
[12] “As shaky calm returned, residents began fleeing Dhobley,” Shabelle Media Network, March 22, 2011. Available:
[13] “Somali soldiers slain in a surprise attack in Hiran region,” Shabelle Media Network, March 21, 2011. Available:
[14] “Somali police officials wounded in bomb attack in Belet-Hawo,” Shabelle Media Network, March 22, 2011. Available:
“Somali army seizes people linked to Belet-Hawo bomb attack,” Shabelle Media Network, March 22, 2011. Available:
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