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: Clashes continue in Sana’a for third day; Brennan reportedly warns Saleh; Saleh reiterates refusal to step down; Minister of Industry and Trade warns that transition crisis is exacerbating Yemen's fiscal problems

Horn of Africa: Alleged al Shabaab mortar fire kills at least five people; al Shabaab hit-and-run attacks in Mogadishu's Bondhere district kills at least three people; TFG finance minister, deputy defense minister, and regional Jubba officials agree to continue attacks on al Shabaab; TFG public finances monitoring institution reports more than $300 million in external aid and internal revenues lost to graft; UN Security Council meeting in Nairobi to address security and political crises; AU Special Representative urges youth to resist al Shabaab co-optation

Yemen Security Brief

  • Tribesmen continued to clash with Yemeni security forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a for the third day. Tribesmen have occupied Yemen's national airlines building the trade and industry building, the building of the interior ministry, and the state news agency headquarters. Saleh released a statement calling for a ceasefire and asked tribesmen to withdraw from government buildings. The Interior Ministry accused the Hashid tribe of instigating the clashes. According to an unidentified senior military official, Saleh ordered the attack on Hashid leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar's residential compound to "break the will of the tribes, but so far it's failed." President Obama, speaking at a press conference with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, said, "We call upon President Saleh to move immediately on his commitment to transfer power.”[1]
  • John Brennan, President Obama's counterterrorism advisor, reportedly called Saleh on May 22 and warned the Yemeni president that, "if he doesn't sign, we're going to have to consider possible other steps."[2]
  • President Ali Abdullah Saleh released a statement saying, "I will not leave power and I will not leave Yemen...I don't take orders from outside...Yemen will not be a failed state. It will not turn to al Qaida refuge [sic]." Saleh also pledged to prevent violence in Sana'a from degenerating into civil war.[3]
  • Hisham Sharaf, the Yemeni Minister of Industry and Trade, warned that the continuing transition crisis is exacerbating Yemen's fiscal problems. Sharaf reported that the Yemeni budget gap is projected to reach $3 billion, 6.5 percent of GDP. Sharaf said, "We are talking about a deficit that will break the country...This is our worst problem because it will affect other indicators, inflation, unemployment and the value of the currency. We are barely surviving, but we have not collapsed and will not collapse."[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants reportedly fired mortars "haphazardly" at a residential neighborhood in Mogadishu's government-controlled Waberi district, according to witnesses. The mortar fire killed five people and injured nine others.[5]
  • Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM troops clashed with al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu's Bondhere district. Omar Ali Adow, a military officer, reported that at least three people were dead and dozens of others were wounded after al Shabaab militants launched hit-and-run attacks on TFG and AMISOM military installations.[6]
  •  TFG finance minister Hussein Abdi Halene and TFG deputy defense minister Abdirashid Mohammed Hidig met with regional military and civilian officials in Dhobley in Lower Jubba region. At the meeting, leaders assessed the feasibility of driving al Shabaab out of the Jubba regions and agreed to continue attacks on al Shabaab militants.[7]
  • AP reported that more than $70 million in direct foreign aid is unaccounted for and missing. Abdirazak Fartaag, the head of the Public Finance Management Unit, a TFG institution that monitors corruption in public finances, reported that the TFG accounting records only report $2.8 million of the $75 million documented cash payments from Libya and the UAE. Fartaag added that $300 million are missing if internal port, airport, qat trade, and telecommunications revenue are accounted for. Fartaag said, "Politicians want to keep the status quo. They're profiting from it." TFG Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed expressed the TFG's ongoing efforts to combat corruption, saying, "We are trying to be more transparent. We have a budget. We have public records of our finances."[8]
  • A UN Security Council organized a summit in Nairobi, Kenya. According to Augustine Mahiga, the UN’s Special Representative to Somalia, the summit will address the security situation in Somalia, as well as for the Security Council to address the political crisis over national elections and the expiration of the Transitional Federal Institutions. Mahiga said the Security Council will directly address the rift between the TFG president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, and the Transitional Federal Parliament Speaker, Sharif Hassan.[9]
  • Ambassador Boubacar Gaoussou Diarra, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, released a statement urging the youth to "resist all attempts by insurgents to use them as instruments to disturb the peace process." Diarra also said that "Transitional Federal Institutions must as well play their role to ensure that the youth are well empowered to actively participate in the country's political, economic and development process." Diarra reiterated that the AU would relocate its civilian staff and police force to Mogadishu.[10]

[1] Ahmed al Haj, "Yemen officials: 38 killed in capital fighting," AP, May 24, 2011. Available:
Hammoud Mounassar, "Sanaa clashes kill 38, Gulf neighbours call for halt," AFP, May 24, 2011. Available:
Mohammed Ghobari and Mohamed Sudam, "Heavy clashes erupt in Yemen capital, 21 dead," Reuters, May 24, 2011. Available:
Jamal al-Jaberi, "Yemen tribesmen seize public buildings as fighting rages," AFP, May 25, 2011. Available:
Mohammed Jamjoom and Hamid Almasmari, "Tribal fighters seize government buildings in Yemen," CNN, May 25, 2011. Available:
“Obama Calls On Yemen President To “Immediately” Transfer Power,” AFP, May 25, 2011. Available:
[2] Robert Worth, "Fighting Intensifies in Yemen’s Capital," New York Times, May 24, 2011. Available:
[3] Ahmed al Haj, "Yemen's president vows no retreat as battles rage," AP, May 25, 2011. Available:
[4] Donna Abu Nasr, "Yemen Trade Minister Sharaf Says Unrest Has Cost Country $4 Billion," Bloomberg, May 24, 2011. Available:
[5] Abdi Hajji Hussein, "Five slain, 9 injured in Mogadishu artillery shelling," All Headline News, May 25, 2011. Available:
[6] "Somali army, Al shabaab combat in northern Mogadishu," Shabelle Media Network, May 25, 2011. Available:
[7] "Somali govt plans to drive out Al shabaab from Jubba regions," Shabelle Media Network, May 25, 2011. Available:
[8] "Millions in cash payments missing in Somalia," AP, May 25, 2011. Available:
[9] "UN Security Council Meet in Nairobi to Address Somali Conflict," Hiiraan Online, May 25, 2011. Available:
[10] "AU Special Representative calls on Somali Youths to redouble efforts towards peace," AU, May 25, 2011. Available: 
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