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: Security forces fire on protestors at Sana’a University, killing at least one person and injuring 80 others; UNICEF reports that anti-government demonstrators in Aden threatened schools; parliament forms committee to investigate Sana’a prison riot; security forces ordered to strictly enforce ban on weapons in major cities; Saleh and U.S. diplomat call for dialogue; al Houthi official confirms that the group has joined anti-government protests; Yemeni official chairs meeting to discuss WMD threats
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab communiqué announces executions of a TFG spy and a criminal; TFG forces make progress in the Bakool region; militias loyal to former Hizb al Islam officials join fight against al Shabaab; UN Security Council to discuss instability in Somalia; TFG President visits frontlines in Mogadishu; 100 TFG police officers graduate from AU training course in Kenya; Puntland police arrest four al Shabaab fighters; Israel to help Kenya secure its border with Somalia; TFG minister urges Somalia’s neighbors to increase security along their borders
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni police fired on protestors near Sana’a University. Witnesses report that the protestors attempted to take a tent through security checkpoints into an opposition camp and that security forces used tear gas and fired into the air to disperse the crowd. Police then started shooting into the crowd. The government says that a cache of automatic rifles were found by the police, starting a gunfight. Medics say at least 80 people were injured, ten by gunfire, and one person has died from his wounds.
- UNICEF reported that anti-government demonstrators in Aden have threatened to burn down schools in the Mansora and Mualla districts if teachers and students do not join anti-government protests. The report stated that “children and teachers were threatened and told if they would not leave the schools and join the protest, they (the schools) would be burned down. Gun shots were heard in the area.” Yemeni Minister of Education Abdul Salam al Jawfi told SABA News, Yemen’s news agency, that those responsible would be punished and the Yemeni Parliament cautioned all schools in the area to take precautions to ensure their security.
- The Yemeni Parliament formed a committee to investigate recent rioting at Central Prison in Sana’a. A security official reported that one prisoner was killed and around sixty people injured in the riot that began Monday. Twenty of those injured were riot police and four of the prisoners had gunshot wounds. A Yemeni security official reports that about 2,000 inmates rioted at a Sana’a prison.
- SABA News reported that the Yemeni Interior Ministry ordered security personnel to strictly enforce a ban on carrying weapons in Sana’a and other major cities. All permits to carry weapons have been canceled and only a select number of new permits have been issued by Interior Minister Mutahar al Masri.
- President Saleh’s personal website reported that Saleh has once again called for opposition groups and anti-government demonstrators to engage in dialogue with the government to find a peaceful solution to current unrest. U.S. ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein echoed Saleh’s comments saying that the U.S. also believed that dialogue offered the best solution to Yemen’s problems.
- Abdulkareem Ahmed Jadban, an al Houthi official who has previously served as a mediator between the group and the Yemeni government, told Reuters that the al Houthis have joined nonviolent anti-government protests across Yemen. Jadban said, “The examples of Tunisia and Egypt have been powerful. The Houthis have not fired a single bullet in the last several weeks. They have taken to the streets in Saada in their thousands like the rest of Yemen.”
- Yemeni Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Muthana chaired a meeting of the National Committee for the Prohibition of Chemical, Biological and Toxic Weapons and emphasized the importance of protecting Yemeni citizens from unconventional threats.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab published a communiqué on jihadist forums through its media arm, the al Kata’ib Foundation for Media production, announcing that two men were publicly executed in Maslah Square in Mogadishu. One man was accused of leading a spy ring that turned in more than 15 people to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the other was accused of “many crimes, some of which he confessed to.” The communiqué included photos of the condemned men and indicated that they were executed by firing squad.
- Abdifatah Ibrahim Gesey, the TFG governor of the Bay region, told Shabelle Media Network that TFG forces captured the Rabdhure district of the Bakool region after a brief clash with al Shabaab fighters in which four extremists were killed.
- Militias loyal to former Hizb al Islam officials Sheikh Ahmed Madobe and Mohamed Mo’allim announced their loyalty to the TFG and have begun shelling al Shabaab forces occupying the Dhobley district in the Lower Jubba region.
- The UN Security Council announced plans to hold a meeting March 10 to discuss instability in Somalia and piracy in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. South Africa’s UN Ambassador Baso Sangqu called for greater support for the TFG and AMISOM, saying that “AMISOM is keeping the government alive, but we must do more than keeping the government alive. You must make sure that the government can keep itself alive.” The Chinese delegation, which chairs the Security Council over March 2011, called for the meeting and issued a statement urging the UN to recognize the “need for a comprehensive approach to tackle piracy and its underlying causes.”
- TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed visited TFG soldiers on the frontlines in the Hodan and Hawl Wadag districts in Mogadishu and encouraged them to finish the fight against al Shabaab, saying, “I urge you to continue fighting with al Shabaab until you force them to quit from the capital.”
- Nearly one hundred TFG police officers graduated from an AU training course based in Kenya and sponsored by the Italian government and are expected to return to Mogadishu within the week to begin work.
- Puntland security official Colonel Muhidin Ahmed told reporters that Puntland security forces arrested four suspected al Shabaab militants, including the brother of Mohamed Said Atom, who were operating within Puntland.
- Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon announced that Israel will provide aid to Kenya to help Kenya secure its border with Somalia, telling reporters that “It is in our interest to ensure that Kenya’s porous border with Somalia is protected to deter subversive and terrorist elements from entering the country.”
- TFG Deputy Minister of Sports and Labor Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig spoke to reporters in Mogadishu and said that while TFG forces had made considerable progress recently against al Shabaab, countries bordering Somalia should increase their efforts to regulate their borders and prevent al Shabaab militants from smuggling arms and equipment across international borders.