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: Yemeni Ministry of Interior issues decree to combat arms proliferation; AQAP video features Nasser al Wahayshi and Sana’a prison escapees; New Zealand official identifies U.S. drone strike victims in Yemen
Horn of Africa: Ugandan court alleges two UPDF officers trained al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu; Puntland government threatens firm response after Somaliland forces seize disputed town; unidentified gunmen kill two JIA officials in Lower Jubba region
Yemen Security Brief
- The Yemeni Ministry of the Interior gave orders on April 14 to suspend the renewing and issuing of gun licenses in Yemen in an effort to combat arms proliferation in Yemen’s major cities. This announcement comes in advance of new regulatory procedures aimed at increasing security measures.
- U.S. officials noted that the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) video originally released on March 29 depicted an “atypical” gathering of top leadership and militants. The video footage shows a reception in Yemen for AQAP fighters who escaped from Sana’a’s Central Prison February 13, 2014. Al Qaeda’s general manager and AQAP leader Nasser al Wahayshi and Ibrahim al Rubaish, an AQAP official and former Guantanamo detainee, appeared at ease in the video, speaking to over 100 fighters.
- New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key announced on April 15 that an Australian and a New Zealander with links to AQAP were killed in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen in November 2013. Key also stated that the New Zealander may have participated in an AQAP training camp but failed to provide further details.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A Ugandan military court in Makindye near Kampala held a hearing on April 15 for two Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) officers alleged to have trained al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu. A witness, Lance Corporal Jackson Byabagambi, stated that the two officers, Major Frank Kawero and Captain Hassan Wantimba, knowingly provided firearms training to ten al Shabaab militants at the Al Jazeera training camp in Mogadishu last May.
- The Puntland government threatened a firm military response after Somaliland forces seized the disputed town of Taleh in Sool region on April 15. The Somaliland seizure of Taleh, the capital of a proposed Khatumo state not yet recognized by Mogadishu, was seen as a direct challenge to Puntland regional sovereignty. UN Secretary-General for Somalia Nicholas Kay called for de-escalation efforts amidst the tension, indicating the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) is eager to support dialogue and provide mediation.
- Unidentified gunmen killed two Jubbaland Interim Administration (JIA) officials, Abdiaziz Bilal and Mohamed Hassan, in Kismayo in Lower Jubba on April 16. Although there was no clear motivation behind the act, al Shabaab is traditionally blamed for the targeted killings of JIA officials in Kismayo. Separately, unidentified assailants killed a security official in the Ifo Refugee Camp at Dadaab in the North Eastern Province of Kenya on April 16. Reporting indicates that the official, identified only as Aadan, served as the security chief for Afmadow district in Lower Jubba region.