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: Al Houthis sign agreement with opposition party; man jailed in Yemen for kidnapping tourists; aid shortfalls in Yemen threaten relief efforts
Horn of Africa: Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a battles with al Shabaab; beheaded body placed in Bakara market, Mogadishu; President Obama issues executive order targeting militants in Somalia; Hizb al Islam leader warns members against extorting civilians; Puntland returns illegal southern migrants; Somali MPs: AMISOM not providing enough security; UN condemns recent shelling in Mogadishu; Puntland calls on rival Somali groups to cease fighting
Yemen Security Brief
- The al Houthi rebels in northern Yemen reportedly signed an agreement with the opposition Joint Meetings Party, or JMP, this past Sunday. The two sides both oppose the current Yemeni government and hope to build upon the agreement as a foundation for a more unified opposition.
- A Yemeni court sentenced Ahmed Salah Tuaiman to 12 years in prison for kidnapping tourists in Marib governorate in northern Yemen. The man was convicted of kidnapping four Germans touring the region.
- Shortfalls in promised aid may lead to the cessation of relief work in northern Yemen. Over $100 million of the pledged aid has yet to be delivered. A UN official expressed concerns that a relief stoppage in the north of the country could reignite the currently dormant conflict between the al Houthis and the Yemeni government.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Fighting between rival Somali Islamist groups Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a and al Shabaab erupted in the Ruun-Nirgod district in southern Somalia. Reports from the area have indicated the two groups exchanged fire through multiple means of weaponry, including an antiaircraft missile, mortars, rocket propel grenades, and heavy and light machine guns. Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a reportedly defeated al Shabaab, captured a town, and claimed it has killed Abdi Hussein, a newly appointed district commissioner.
- The remains of a beheaded man were placed at a junction of Bakara market in Mogadishu, the largest commercial center in Somalia. No individual or group has taken responsibility for the beheading as of yet.
- U.S. President Obama issued an executive order aiming to freeze U.S.-based financial assets of Somali insurgents and pirates and their supporters. The executive order said the targeted elements “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
- Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys warned members of his group, Hizb al Islam, against extorting money from civilians because it creates a bad image of the group and people involved. Sheikh Aweys also stated any member found guilty extorting will be punished accordingly by Islamic law.
- Puntland authorities have returned illegal southern migrants to Garowe who were trying to cross the Indian Ocean to Yemen. Authorities shaved one side of all their heads in order to facilitate future identification because according to Lieutenant Abdurrahman Abshir Farah, migrants such as these pose as innocent civilians, but carry out certain acts which create instability.
- Approximately 50 Somali MPs are accusing AMISOM of not providing enough security, stating the troops only take care of the top three Somali government officials, the President, Prime Minister, and parliament speaker, making the rest of parliament vulnerable to al Shabaab.
- The UN condemned the recent shelling in Mogadishu, calling for “Somali troops, African Union peacekeepers and Islamist militants not to indiscriminately shell densely populated areas of the capital.”
- Deputy President of Puntland Abdisamad Ali Shire, along with the Puntland administration, called on rebel groups fighting in central and southern Somali to cease fighting at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the National Somali Army.