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: AQAP urges Muslims to undertake jihad; Gazan extremists call on al Qaeda to kill Yemeni Jews; security forces forcibly enter mosque in Dhaleh
Horn of Africa: Ethiopian forces expel al Shabaab from El Barde, in addition to clerical arrests and imposing a curfew; 3 dead after Mogadishu clash; U.S. and AU pledge greater cooperation in Somalia; Puntland Islamic Conference: War in Somalia is “not jihad”; Djibouti delegation mediating between Somali leaders; Djiboutian Minister for Foreign Affairs: UN Eritrean sanctions are positive for Somalia and Djibouti; EU condemns attacks on Somali media; UN: peace in Somalia only accessible through national reconciliation
- In an audio speech released on April 17th on jihadist web forums, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) urged Muslims to participate in jihad. The message was released by Ibrahim al Rubaish, a former Guantanamo detainee and AQAP spiritual leader, through the group’s media outlet, al Malahem Foundation.
- A Muslim extremist group in the Gaza Strip has called on al Qaeda in Yemen to attack Jews living in that country. The “Abu Amir” group specifically listed names of Jewish leaders in northern Yemen that should be targeted. An additional letter from the group claimed that an al Qaeda source in Yemen was supplying weapons to the Abu Amir group through a conduit in Egypt.
- Yemeni security personnel arrested the imam of a mosque in Dhaleh after he reportedly refused to let the soldiers on the roof to fire on protestors. Imam Adel al Jaadi said in a statement that he did not let the soldiers in because they would interfere with the women praying at the mosque.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Ethiopian troops, along with Somali forces, reportedly expelled al Shabaab from the Somali-Ethiopian border-town El Barde in Bakool. Local residents report the Ethiopians and Somalis came with 30 armored vehicles and pushed the Islamist rebels to retreat into the neighboring town of Rabdhere. As of now, 10 people are reported to have been killed in the attack. Ethiopian troops also reportedly arrested 15 prominent clerics from the southwestern Somali town of El Barde. The motive for the arrests has not been completely determined, however residents claim the Ethiopians suspect the clerics were working with al Shabaab. Lastly, Ethiopian troops have imposed a curfew in El Barde. Subsequently, Ethiopian forces then arrested several teenagers violating the curfew.   
- Fighting between Somali troops over civilian robbery in the Wabari district in Mogadishu left 3 soldiers dead and 5 injured.
- During AU delegation talks currently being held in Washington, the U.S. and AU have both pledged greater cooperation in supporting the promotion of democracy and development in Somalia.
- After a weeklong Puntland Islamic conference held in Masjid al Huda, Garowe, well respected Islamic scholars concluded the current war in Somalia is “not jihad,” as Islamist forces such as al Shabaab claim, but rather an “incitement.”
- A delegation from Djibouti has been sent to Mogadishu to help resolve the tensions between Somali parliament members which have been hindering any possible progress by the TFG. The delegation also met with President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed urging him to reopen parliament.
- Djiboutian Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahamoud Ali Youssouf stated the UN sanctions imposed on Eritrea are positive for both Somalia and Djibouti.
- The EU has openly condemned attacks on Somali media outlets. This statement comes after recent threats and orders made to Somali radio stations to stop playing music on air or face being shut down. In regards to the media situation in Somalia, the EU Stated “Freedom of information is a fundamental pillar of any free society, and attacks against it are totally unacceptable.”
- After a meeting of the International Contact Group on Somalia, UN Special Representative from Somalia Ahmedou Ould Abdallah stated “Somalia will not experience stability or peace without national reconciliation.”