Gulf of Aden
Yemen: New video of Abdulmutallab spliced with old footage; aid shortage could cause humanitarian crisis according to the UN; new American ambassador to Yemen to be named; protesters arrested in opposition party rally in Lahij; seven killed in al Houthi clash with pro-government militants
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims responsibility for attack on AU compound; 21 dead in continuing violence in Mogadishu; Somali President calls Yemeni President
Yemen Security Brief
- The al Qaeda video that surfaced yesterday spliced new footage in with film that had been previously released, according to a terrorist expert analyzing the video for ABC News. New footage of the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was mixed with older shots of al Qaeda fighters firing at flags. Al Qaeda often mixes its propaganda tapes with new and old video.
- The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) says their current shortage of funds could cause a humanitarian disaster for the 250,000 persons displaced by the fighting in northern Yemen. The WFP said Wednesday that it needed $77 million to continue operations for 2010 alone, and that the current lack of funds will force the agency to halve the monthly allotment of food this coming May.
- A new U.S. ambassador to Yemen is expected to be announced soon after the current ambassador Stephen Seche’s term ends. The new ambassador is expected to be Gerald Feierstein, currently the Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan, according to Yemeni state-run media.
- Yemeni police dispersed a rally in Lahij organized by the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), the main opposition party to the government. Five protesters were injured and over ten were arrested as police fired live ammunition to break up the demonstration.
- Seven people were killed after al Houthi rebels attempted to hold a rally in a village occupied by pro-government tribesmen. A quarrel between the rebels and the tribesmen escalated to violence, ultimately killing four al Houthis and three pro-government tribesmen.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A spokesman for al Shabaab says the group was responsible for the car bomb earlier this week on an African Union compound. The spokesman, Ali Mohamud Rage, also said the blast killed 20 peacekeepers, directly contradicting reports by the AU that only two soldiers from Uganda had been injured. Ugandan newspapers reported that five Ugandan soldiers had been wounded. The group also issued a communiqué on jihadi web forums saying that the bombing was in revenge for the deaths of al Qaeda in Iraq leaders Abu Omar al Baghdadi and Abu Hamza al Muhajir.
- Violence has persisted in the Somali capital of Mogadishu since the suicide attack on the AU compound. 21 people were killed Wednesday after 16 were killed on Tuesday. 70 others were wounded in the fighting on Wednesday. Fighting centered in Bakara Market where pro-government Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a forces fought al Shabaab militants.
- Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed called Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Wednesday to discuss cooperation in combating terrorism and piracy in the Gulf of Aden region.