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: Military kills at least four al Houthi demonstrators; Southern Movement leader urges demonstrators across Yemen to unite in calling for Saleh’s resignation; Zindani offers eight-point plan for stability to Saleh; five people injured in clashes at protest in Bayda; demonstrations continue in Sana’a; thousands rally for funerals in Aden; SABA News claims hundreds of thousands of women demonstrate in support of Saleh
Horn of Africa: Fighting in Mogadishu leaves one person dead; al Shabaab deploys hundreds of fighters from Bay and Bakool regions to Mogadishu; UN reports that fighting along the Kenyan border has displayed thousands of people; TFG PM pledges to fight until al Shabaab is eradicated; al Shabaab official promises to fight against the TFG and AU forces until he dies; two American men plead guilty to conspiring to join al Shabaab
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni soldiers opened fire on al Houthi demonstrators in Harf Sufyan in Amran governorate, killing at least four people. An al Houthi spokesman told Reuters that the military had fired rockets at protestors from their military base. CNN reported that three military planes flew over the rally and attacked demonstrators.
- Abdullah al Nakhbi, interim leader of the Southern Movement while Hassan Baoum is detained, called on Southern Movement supporters to join other demonstrators across Yemen in calling for President Saleh’s resignation. Nakhbi told the AFP by phone that “Our first and last aim is to overthrow Saleh’s regime. We have yet to free Yemen’s north and south from this tyrant, and then we can look into the southerner’s cause. Whoever calls for secession now serves Ali Abdullah Saleh.”
- Sheikh Abdul Majid al Zindani, listed by the U.S. as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist for his ties to al Qaeda, offered an eight-point plan to President Saleh for ending unrest in Yemen. The plan, approved by Yemeni clerics, called for reform of electoral laws, withdrawal of proposed constitutional amendments, the creation of a committee to mediate political disputes, an end to all demonstrations and sit-ins, the release of political prisoners, prosecution of corrupt government officials, and the formation of a national unity government.
- At least five people were injured in clashes between pro- and anti-government demonstrators in the town of Bayda. The Yemen Post reported that the fighting began when supporters of President Saleh attacked protestors with batons, daggers and guns. SABA News, Yemen’s news agency, claimed that Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) activists opened fire on a pro-government rally.
- Tens of thousands reportedly gathered near Sana’a University Friday, including hundreds of women. Organizers report over 100,000 people demonstrating throughout the city. Pro-government rallies also took place in Sana’a in Tahrir Square, primarily calling for dialogue between the two sides.
- Tens of thousands of people rallied in the Mansora and Mualla districts of Aden and mourned the death of protestors killed by security forces during February demonstrations.
- SABA News reported that hundreds of thousands of women demonstrated across Yemen in support of President Saleh and his proposed reforms. The main rallies were in Sana’a, Hajjah and Dhaleh governorates.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab fighters launched hit and run attacks on AMISOM and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) positions in the Hodan and Hawl Wadag districts of Mogadishu, leaving at least one person dead.
- Sheikh Mahad Omar Abdikareem, al Shabaab chairman of the Bay and Bakool regions, deployed hundreds of fighters to Mogadishu to help al Shabaab militants repel recent advances by TFG and AMISOM soldiers. Top al Shabaab officials Fuad Shongole and Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur attended the deployment ceremony. Abdikareem also urged Kenyan and Ethiopian Muslims to fight against their Christian governments.
- The UN issued a report warning that “fighting between forces of Somalia’s transitional government and insurgents has spread to areas near the Kenyan border, forcing some 5,500 residents of the Kenyan border town of Mandera to flee their homes.”
- TFG Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed spoke to reporters at a press conference in Mogadishu and promised to continue the recent offensive against al Shabaab fighters.
- Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, an al Shabaab official who was formerly the leader of Hizb al Islam, spoke to a crowd outside a mosque in the Lower Shabelle region and promised to keep fighting against AU and TFG forces until he died.
- Two American men, aged 21 and 24 years old, pled guilty to charges of conspiring to travel to Somalia and join extremist group al Shabaab and will receive a sentence of between 15 and 30 years in prison. The men were arrested while waiting to board flights from New York City to Egypt. The majority of the information in the trial was supplied by an undercover police officer who befriended the two men and became their confidant.