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: Death penalty upheld for Yemeni man accused of contacting Israel; southern separatist and policeman killed in separate incidents; AQAP members moving from Yemen to Somalia; Yemen on new U.S. terror watch list; south Yemen on strike; Yemeni government releases 10 al Houthi prisoners; 13,000 firearms seized in Yemen in March
Horn of Africa: Mogadishu clash leaves 20 dead and 30 wounded; Islamists and government forces both claim victory in Mogadishu clash; Somali State Minister claims the deaths of 12 Islamist rebels; 17 killed in central Somalia fighting; despite knowledge of government offensive, al Shabaab vows to take complete control of Mogadishu; Hizb al Islam invites Osama bin Laden to Somalia; TFG denounces Hizb al Islam ban on music; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a amassing troops in Mogadishu; Galmudug bans illegal firearms; Singapore tanker, operated by South Korea, hijacked; Puntland vows to strengthen operations against piracy; Puntland prepares to regain control of hijacked livestock vessel
Yemen Security Brief
- A Yemeni appeals court upheld the death sentence for Yemeni Bassem al Haidari convicted in March 2009 of offering to spy for Israel. The Yemeni government accuses him of sending an email to Israeli authorities offering his services as a spy.
- A southern activist, Naji bin Naji and his son were killed on their qat farm in Dhaleh by a suspected member of Yemen’s security forces on Monday. Following the death of the separatist, clashes broke out between separatists north of the city. In a separate incident, a policeman was killed as he stood guard at a checkpoint in Shabwah province.
- According to a report by Sahwa Net, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is transferring members from Yemen to Somalia due to increased pressure by the government. 15 to 20 members of the group are expected to relocate temporarily to Somalia from al Mukalla in Hadramawt.
- Yemen is among 14 countries listed on the U.S.’s new terror watch list. The list is part of a new counterterrorism strategy that looks to focus on potential terrorists travel patterns as opposed to their country of origin.
- A general strike by southern secessionists took place in Dhaleh, Habilain in Lahij province, and Lawder and Moudiya in Abyan province.
- Yemeni authorities have release ten al Houthi rebels captured during hostilities between the militants and government forces. Meanwhile, on Sunday the al Houthis released eight military engineers kidnapped last week. The two sides have maintained a tenuous truce since February.
- Yemeni authorities announced that they seized 13,678 firearms during the month of March in an effort to prevent the carrying of guns in the main cities of Yemen. Unofficial statistics indicate that there are 60 million firearms in Yemen, or roughly three for every Yemeni citizen.
Horn of Africa Brief
- Fighting between al Shabaab and government forces erupted in Mogadishu killing 20 civilians and wounding 30 others. Fighting took place in the northern districts of Karan, Shibbis and Hodan. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attacks on government forces.
- Both al Shabaab and Somali government forces claimed victory over the fighting in Mogadishu.
- State Minister of Somalia, Sheikh Yusuf Mohamed Siad Indha Ade, stated the government killed 12 Islamist rebels, including senior officials, from al Shabaab and Hizb al Islam after the attacks on government forces in Mogadishu.
- Heavy fighting erupted in Rage Ele in central Somalia between Islamist rebel groups al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a killing eight people and wounding eleven others. In Guriel and Elbur in Galgudug region, nine others were killed in clashes.
- Islamist rebel group al Shabaab has vowed to take complete control of Mogadishu before the arrival of fresh Somali troops. Al Shabaab spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mahmoud Raghe, urged the people to join in the fighting in the areas still under government control.
- Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, leader of Hizb al Islam, invited Osama bin Laden, leader of al Qaeda, to Somalia. Sheikh Aweys also called on jihadists all over the world to come and fight against the Somali government and the African Union troops. He also banned radio stations from broadcasting music, to be implemented in full in ten days.
- The Somali Transitional Federal Government has strongly denounced the recent actions by Hizb al Islam of banning radio stations from broadcasting music in Mogadishu.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a stated they completed the training of their forces and have begun amassing their troops in Mogadishu to participate in the upcoming offensive, per the recent power-sharing agreement with the TFG.
- The administration of the central Somali region of Galmudug has banned all illegal firearms. Galmudug Vice President Abdisalan Noor Gulled stated that Galmudug security forces have permission to deal with those in possession of an possessing an unauthorized weapon.
- A Singapore supertanker operated by South Korea was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. The vessel, carrying about $170 million in crude oil, was headed to the United States from Iraq. South Korea sent a destroyer to intercept the ship before it reached the Somali coast.
- Puntland Regional Security Minister General Yusuf Ahmed Kheyr stated that the government will increase its anti-piracy operations. Kheyr denied allegations that the Puntland government has close ties with the pirates.
- Puntland forces are preparing to recapture a boat carrying “some 432 cattle and 1400 goats” from pirates. The vessel, Safina Al-Bayatiri and its crew of 21, were hijacked after departing from the port of Barbera in Somaliland.