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 government searching for al Qaeda suspects responsible for suicide attack; suicide attacker had been in Yemeni prison; al Houthis kill suspect on Yemen’s most wanted list
Horn of Africa: African Union denies war crimes allegations; at least 14 civilians killed in fighting between TFG and al Shabaab; Hizb al Islam denies signing agreement with TFG or Kenyan government; UN asks for stronger legal action against Somali pirates; TFG soldiers desert over lack of pay
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni police have stepped up their search for al Qaeda suspects wanted in conjunction with the failed attack Monday against the British ambassador. The interior ministry denied previous reports that police had already arrested dozens of suspects. The British and American embassies remain closed after the attack.
- The suicide bomber in the attack on the British ambassador had previously been jailed in Yemeni prison. The father of the bomber said that he was arrested and imprisoned two years ago in Sana’a for connections to al Qaeda.
- A fugitive listed on Yemen’s most wanted list was killed at a checkpoint controlled by al Houthi rebels in al Ghail. The group is believed to have killed the criminal, Abu Ruweya, but the details of his death are unknown. The Yemeni government said Abu Ruweya was wanted on murder and robbery charges.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The African Union denied that its troops violated the laws of war in its mission (known as AMISOM) supporting the TFG in its fight against al Shabaab for control of Mogadishu. Human rights groups have accused both sides of indiscriminately shelling civilian areas. The AU, which is severely limited by the parameters of its mandate to defend key locations in Mogadishu, says it takes precautions not to shell al Shabaab militants when they are interspersed with civilians. The AU, however, faces a difficult challenge because it is only permitted to remain in a defensive posture and engage with the enemy when fired upon. Al Shabaab takes advantage of this condition by launching mortars at AU positions while hiding among civilians.
- At least 14 civilians were killed in Mogadishu after fighting broke out between TFG forces and al Shabaab militants. The fighting took place after al Shabaab detonated a car bomb outside of an AU military post on Tuesday. An al Shabaab spokesman said the attack was in retaliation for the killing of two senior al Qaeda leaders in Iraq.
- A Hizb al Islam leader denied accusations that he had a signed an agreement with the TFG and the Kenyan government. Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam rebutted an earlier statement by another Hizb al Islam leader accusing him of signing the accord. Ahmed Islam did admit to meeting with the Somali transportation minister to discuss the role of TFG soldiers being trained in Kenya.
- The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution demanding tougher laws to prosecute pirates operating off the coast of Somalia. The resolution calls for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to present the council with an international or regional legal framework to handle detained pirates. The Kenyan government has said it would no longer prosecute Somali pirates because of the burden it puts on their justice system.
- Hundreds of Somali soldiers fighting for the TFG are deserting after not receiving their monthly wage of $100. The United States helped fund a training program for 1,000 Somali troops last year, and has spent $14 million in military aid on Somalia since 2007, with $2 million going toward Somali soldiers’ pay. Deserting soldiers are believed to be returning home or joining the militants fighting the government who offer higher pay.