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: Militants attack soldiers in Aden; clashes occur in Sana’a and Taiz; UN Security Council passes resolution condemning violence in Yemen
Horn of Africa: Kenyan spokesman reports French involvement in operation; U.S. promises technical support to Kenya; airstrikes hit Kismayo; grenade attack in Nairobi wounds at least 13 people; Kenyan forces push toward Afmadow; TFG reports seizure of Busar in Gedo region; al Shabaab’s deputy leader denounces al Shabaab attacks on civilians, asks for forgiveness; al Shabaab’s leader welcomes news of Qadhafi’s death; suicide attack in Mogadishu kills one person, injures three others; fighting continues in Daynile district in Mogadishu; Ahlu Sunna pledges support to Kenyan forces
Yemen Security Brief
- Unidentified militants opened fire on Yemeni soldiers outside of a military installation in al Mualla district in Aden. The soldiers returned fire. Two soldiers were killed in the attack. In Abyan, three militants were killed in fighting between tribesmen and al Qaeda-linked militants near Zinjibar.
- Yemeni troops reportedly shelled the residences of Hashid tribal confederation leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar in al Hasaba, Soufan, and Natha districts in Sana’a. Clashes between defected First Armored Division troops and loyalist troops also occurred in Tagheer (Change) Square. Ongoing fighting between government troops and opposition tribesmen is occurring in Taiz.
- The UN Security Council unanimously voted to pass a resolution condemning the violence in Yemen and calling for an immediate transfer of power under the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreement. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan E. Rice said, "[The] Security Council sent a strong message to President (Ali Abdullah) Saleh that it is time to heed the legitimate calls of the Yemeni people for a peaceful and orderly transition toward a unified, stable, secure and democratic Yemen.”
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Warplanes struck several al Shabaab positions around Kismayo. Kenyan military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir confirmed that airstrikes had been conducted near Kismayo, but denied Kenyan involvement. Instead, Chirchir suggested that the strikes were conducted by allied forces. Chirchir also reported that a French warship bombarded Kuday town near Kismayo. No other country has confirmed any direct involvement in the Somalia conflict and the French embassy denied France’s involvement in attacks.
- U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration said that the U.S. was not considering sending troops to Somalia, but would provide “technical support” for Kenyan troops there. He said, “We respect the right of a nation to take any decision to defend its borders as per article 51 of the UN charter on self defense and pursuit of hostile elements across international borders.” He also assured Kenyans that America would stand with them to ensure security was restored.
- An unidentified assailant detonated a grenade in a Nairobi bar wounding at least 13 people. Police say the grenade was the same type as one used in a 2010 attack linked to al Shabaab on a bus travelling to Uganda. This attack follows several warnings released by al Shabaab that it would begin attacking targets in Nairobi in retaliation for Kenya’s military operation in Somalia.
- The Kenyan army reported it had moved out of the town of Oddo and launched a airstrikes in Munarani, about ten kilometers away, hitting an al Shabaab command post. Locals in Afmadow confirmed reports that Kenyan troops were advancing.
- Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops captured the town of Busar in the Gedo region peacefully after al Shabaab militants withdrew. Abass Ibrahim Gurey, commander of the TFG troops that captured the town, said that they will establish bases in the region where they will plan further attacks against al Shabaab. Busar lies forty kilometers from Elwaq where a large number of Kenyan troops recently entered the country. Residents reported TFG troops and Kenyan tanks in Busar on October 19.
- Al Shabaab’s deputy leader Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Ali, also known as Abu Mansur, publically denounced al Shabaab’s attacks on civilians and asked for forgiveness from the people. He said that al Shabaab had caused a great deal of pain to innocent Somali people and that they were “aware that the people of Somalia don’t like us.” He added, “We have wronged the people of Somalia and we are calling for forgiveness from the beloved people of Somalia.” Robw also said that al Shabaab could not fight the TFG and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) citing lack of funds and dwindling support in the population.
- Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubair, leader of al Shabaab, welcomed the news of the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi. In a recorded audio message he said that the Libyan rebels did a good thing when they got rid of him and urged the Libyan people not to allow another leader like Qadhafi. He also welcomed the revolutions in Yemen, Syria, Egypt, and Tunisia.
- A suicide bomber detonated near an AMISOM convoy in Mogadishu killing one person and wounding three others. TFG officials reported the suicide bomber was the only death.
- Fighting in the Daynile district of Mogadishu between TFG and AMISOM and al Shabaab militants continued through October 23 with sporadic gunfire and artillery barrages. A spokesman for the Burundi soldiers participating in AMISOM said that “the combat operations against al Shabaab are continuing and that there were no exact numbers of casualties.”
- Sheikh Mohamed Hussein al Qadi, an Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a spokesman, said that the group welcomed Kenya’s operation in Somalia and said that the group would help Kenyan forces fight al Shabaab.