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: Clashes between al Qaeda-linked militants and Yemeni troops kill 18 militants near Zinjibar; security tightened near Saudi embassy in Sana’a and Saudi consulate in Aden; demonstrations in Taiz and al Bayda call for resignation of corrupt officials; UN official reports that food insecurity in Yemen has reached 22 percent
Horn of Africa: AMISOM reports progress against al Shabaab in Mogadishu outskirts; two senior al Shabaab commanders defect to TFG; landmine strikes Ethiopian and Ahlu Sunna military convoy in Galgudud region; district commissioner of El Adde abducted and beheaded; fighting among TFG soldiers in Mogadishu kills a civilian; Kenya-based Muslim Youth Center accuses Kenyan government of killing Muslim activist; Hammami reported to be alive
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni military-run website 26 September Net reported that 18 al Qaeda-linked militants were killed in clashes with the 39th Armored Brigade, backed by the 25th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, near Zinjibar in Abyan governorate on April 19. A military source added that two soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded. The website stated that Yemeni troops made significant advances towards Zinjibar since it was captured by Ansar al Sharia in May 2011.
- The Yemen Interior Ministry reportedly ramped up security near the Saudi embassy in Sana’a, the Saudi consulate in Aden, and the residences of Saudi staff in Yemen. On April 17, the Saudi embassy received a phone call from a wanted Saudi terror suspect, Mishaal Mohammed Rasheed al Shadoukhi, who claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Saudi diplomat Abdullah al Khaldi in Aden on March 28.
- Demonstrations reported in Taiz and al Bayda called for the prosecution of corrupt government officials from the Saleh era. In Taiz, thousands of protesters reportedly demanded the resignation of their newly appointed governor, Shawki Ahmed Hail. In al Bayda, protesters called for the trials of commanders who have failed to heed to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s recent official decrees. Protesters also demanded that the governor, Mohammed al Ameri, be fired for his failure to limit and combat terrorist activity in the area.
- On April 19, the UN Deputy Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Catherine Prague reported that 22 percent of Yemen’s population is currently suffering from food insecurity. She added that the humanitarian response plan needs $447 million to be effectively implemented. As of now, only $63 million has been provided.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The African Union Mission in Somali (AMISOM) reported progress against al Shabaab militants. Its Burundian contingent captured rebel bases on the outskirts of Mogadishu on April 19, including Daynile, which abuts the Afgoi corridor, an al Shabaab-controlled area.
- Two al Shabaab leaders, identified as Mohamoud Hajji Korane and Anas, defected to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Lower Jubba region. The defections followed a couple days of communication with the government, in which the two militants asked for amnesty. The TFG reported that they were treated the men well, so as to encourage more al Shabaab members to defect.
- An Ethiopian and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a convoy traveling between Wabho and Daac, two villages in Galgudud region, struck a landmine planted by al Shabaab militants on April 19. Three Ethiopian soldiers were reportedly killed.
- The District Commission of El Adde, Yahie Hussein Isaq, was kidnapped on the night of April 17 and his headless body was found the next day on the outskirts of the El Adde, a city in Gedo region. Local TFG officials accused al Shabaab of the execution.
- Fighting among TFG soldiers in Mogadishu killed one civilian and wounded 10 others. The clashes reportedly began when a group of soldiers attacked a police station.
- The Muslim Youth Center (MYC), the Kenya-based jihadist group with al Shabaab ties, accused the Kenyan government of assassinating Samir Khan, also known as Abu Nuseyba, a Muslim activist. The statement, posted on the MYC’s website on April 19, said that although the intent of Khan’s murder was to intimidate Kenya’s Muslims, it did no such thing: “Our response from the ghetto paradise here in Majengo [where the MYC is based] to the Kuffars is, ‘bring it on.’” Khan was abducted by unknown persons on April 10 and his mutilated body was found three days afterward.
- The online publication Somalia Report confirmed on April 19 that Omar Hammami, also known as Abu Mansour al Amriki, was spotted alive on April 17, attending noon prayers at a mosque in Kismayo accompanied by bodyguards. Al Shabaab militants are keeping a strict watch over him following a March 16 video he posted on YouTube. He was reportedly arrested by al Shabaab on March 19 in Gobweyn, a village 15 kilometers north of Kismayo. This report belies earlier rumors that said Hammami had been executed on April 4.