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 Houthi-GPC delegation to participate in Kuwait peace talks, with conditions; Ansar al Sharia and al Houthi-Saleh forces exchange prisoners in al Bayda; U.S. and GCC to conduct joint patrols against Iranian weapons smuggling to Yemen
Horn of Africa: Uganda rotates AMISOM troops in Banadir and Lower Shabelle regions; clan clashes kill civilians in Lower Shabelle region; gunmen in SNA uniforms kill civilians in Mogadishu, Banadir region
Yemen Security Brief
- Representatives from the al Houthis and the General People’s Congress (GPC) party, which is led by former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, announced on April 20 that they will participate in UN-led peace talks in Kuwait after a two-day delay. The al Houthi-GPC delegation reportedly boarded a plane from Yemen’s capital Sana’a to Muscat, Oman on April 20 and will continue on to Kuwait within the next day. Al Houthi representative Mahdi al Mashat wrote on Facebook that the delegation had received assurances from both Kuwait and Oman that the Saudi-led coalition will adhere to the ceasefire agreement. Al Mashat said that if these conditions are not met, the al Houthi-Saleh delegation will remove itself from the peace talks and that President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s delegation will bear the responsibility for the failed negotiations.
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) affiliate Ansar al Sharia exchanged prisoners with al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda governorate on the night of April 19-20. Ansar al Sharia exchanged 47 al Houthi-Saleh prisoners in return for 49 prisoners, including two sons of Sheikh Tariq al Fadhli. Al Fadhli, who is the head of a prominent tribe in in southwestern Abyan governorate, declared his support for Ansar al Sharia in 2014. This is the largest reported prisoner exchange between the al Houthis and Ansar al Sharia to date.
- The U.S. agreed to participate in joint patrols with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to interdict Iranian weapons smuggling to Yemen. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter gave a joint press conference with GCC Secretary General Abdullatif bin Rashid al Zayani to announce the agreement. The U.S. Navy intercepted a large Iranian weapons shipment likely bound for al Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen on March 28.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Uganda is rotating part of its African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) contingent in Somalia. Uganda’s Battle Group 18 arrived in Mogadishu on April 19. It will replace Battle Group 15 and will be based in Arbiska, Lower Shabelle region. Battle Group 18 will also station some troops in the outskirts of Mogadishu.
- Clan militiamen burned seven civilians alive on April 19 in Jeebey village, on the outskirts of Marka, Lower Shabelle region. Other militiamen retaliated by firing a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) at a civilian vehicle in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region on April 20, killing two civilians. A civilian vehicle also hit a landmine on the same day in Marka, killing one person and wounding another.
- Gunmen wearing Somali National Army (SNA) uniforms killed three civilians and wounded a dozen others on April 20 in Hodon district, Mogadishu while conducting a robbery. Al Shabaab leverages abuses of power by SNA soldiers, as well as crimes unrelated to the SNA, to justify its own attacks on the SNA.