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 talks with separatists after recent violence; rights group calls for increased precautions to avoid Yemeni civilian deaths; “Pentagon document” confirms American aid will be used for Yemeni helicopters; Yemeni government cuts cell phone service in the south of the country to crackdown on rioters; authorities order al Jazeera to close offices in Yemen
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab conspirator to be tried in New York; UK set to deliver security aid to Somalia; gunfight kills five in Mogadishu; mortar round kills two civilians south of Mogadishu; Somali MPs attend Puntland meeting; civilian killed by armed men in Dharkenley district of Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- President Ali Abdullah Saleh has offered to speak with leaders of Yemen’s southern secessionist movement following weeks of violence that have left dozens dead on both sides of the conflict. President Saleh said he would welcome any political demands and hear any grievances that southern leaders have.
- The group Human Rights Watch said Monday that Yemen must be more careful to avoid killing civilians as it combats rebels and extremists in its ongoing conflicts. The group also said the US must also be mindful of civilians in any drone strikes targeting terrorists in the country as well. The call came after Yemen disclosed that 42 civilian had been killed in an airstrike last December.
- Yemeni press has reported that a “Pentagon document prepared for Congress” has confirmed that the $150 million in military aid pledged by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be used on helicopter maintenance and repair. Ostensibly the helicopters will allow Yemeni forces to access remote areas of the country quickly.
- In an attempt to quell rioting and impromptu protests, the Yemeni government has shut down cell phone service in the southern provinces of Lahj and Dhale. Additionally, local authorities in Dhale have imposed a curfew from 6:00 PM to 2:00 AM. Lahj and Dhale have witnessed some of the most intense violence between government security forces and secessionists.
- Local authorities in the southern provinces of Lahj, Abyan and Dhale demanded al Jazeera’s offices in Yemen be shuttered immediately. Governors in each province accused the network of falsifying facts, fomenting unrest and promoting sedition.
- Suspected terrorist Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed has been extradited from Nigeria to New York City to stand trial for providing material support to al Shabaab. He has also allegedly received “jihad training” from the group, where he learned how to make explosives.
- The United Kingdom has pledged aid to Somalia for the first time, in a bid to shore up the country’s security apparatus. The UK is worried that Somalia could become a haven for al Qaeda. Prime Minister Gordon Brown will unveil the aid package of £ 5.5 million this week during Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s first official visit to the UK.
- Five people are reported dead after a gunfight in Mogadishu. Three of the deceased are believed to be civilians, while the remaining two were militants found dead in Mogadishu’s southern Hodan neighborhood. In a separate incident, masked gunmen reportedly killed a Hizb al Islam commander, Barre Ali Barre, in the Bakara market.
- Two travelers were killed when a mortar round hit their minibus as they traveled south of Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu. The bus was en route to the Afgoi region of Lower Shabelle when it came under attack. Both the assailants and the intended target of the shelling are unknown.
- 10 members of the TFG Parliament traveled to Garowe to attend a Puntland governmental meeting. The lawmakers in attendance were reportedly representatives of the Puntland region in the TFG. The MPs pledged to work to resolve the differences between the TFG and the Puntland government.
- A Mogadishu resident was gunned down in an apparent premeditated plot in the Dharkenley district of the city on Monday night. According to eyewitnesses, three masked men approached the man and simultaneously drew weapons and opened fire. The three men successfully fled.