MAST Security Update: Libya, Yemen & Somalia

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Friday, 23 March 2018

MAST Security Update: Libya, Yemen & Somalia

In Mogadishu, a suicide bombing near the national intelligence headquarters reportedly killed four people. Some Al-Shabaab fighters were also killed in the encounter. This was one of many attacks in a new campaign by Al-Shabaab, which purposely coincides with Ramadan.

Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of leading maritime security company MAST, said: “It is clear that Somalia is someway from the levels of political stability desired by the International Community ahead of elections next year, and the Federal Government lacks the ability to enforce law and order. The country remains a permissive environment for potential piracy operations into the Indian Ocean.”

It has now been the turn of the Tripoli based (unofficial) Libyan “Dawn” Government to claim airstrikes on ISIS. They have apparently bombed the ISIS held town of Sirte. Benghazi has also seen several terrorist attacks in the last week with bombs and mortars targeting Libyan Army positions.

The EU is seeking a UN Security Council Resolution to take action within Libyan territorial waters against people smugglers. Both Libyan governments are keen to protect their sovereignty and the internationally recognised Libyan government, based in Tobruk, has warned the EU that it must seek permission and authority to operate inside Libyan territorial waters.

Northwood said: “There is continuing hope among the western powers that the UN sponsored talks in Tripoli will result in a unity government in Libya. Meanwhile, Libya remains a very high-risk area for commercial activity. Our recommendation is that ports controlled by ISIS should be avoided. For all other ports a full risk assessment should be carried out beforehand.”

Peace talks in Geneva between the Officially Recognised Government and the Houthi rebels have failed. The civil war in Yemen will continue. It has been reported that the Houthi—General Saleh alliance could be showing some cracks after their own forces clashed violently in south west Yemen over a dispute about oil supplies.

The pro-Hadi forces are due to land 5,000 new fighters into Aden. These troops have undergone an extensive military training program in an Arab country.

Northwood said: “In the short term we believe this is likely to result in intense fighting in Aden, which will increase the risk to commercial operations there. Hodeidah, on the other hand, remains under the control of the Houthi rebels and thus carries a slightly lower risk.”

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