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: 161 al Houthi prisoners released; Human Rights Watch to release report on Yemeni war crimes; six killed by explosions in north Yemen; al Fadhli ends truce with government
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab seizes Mataban district in the Hiraan region; government soldier opens fire on civilian in Mogadishu; Uganda forces to remain in Somalia; Somali police forces confiscate weapons and explosives in the Banadir region; 29 Somali refugees arrested in Mozambique; South Korean destroyer shadows seized vessel; Dutch marines rescue German vessel from Somali pirates; Iranian warships thwart attempted hijacking; joint U.S.-Oman operation rescues Indian dhow
Yemen Security Brief
- The Yemeni government has released 161 al Houthi prisoners. The release is the second after 75 detainees were liberated two weeks ago. The move comes as the Yemeni government is trying to solidify the ongoing truce with the al Houthi rebels that began February 11.
- Human Rights Watch will hold a press conference Wednesday to launch an inquiry into Yemen’s war violations during its conflict with the al Houthi movement. HRW said that the current ceasefire between the two sides does not call for investigating war crimes allegations.
- Six people were killed when a bomb went off in Sa’ada province on Tuesday. The deaths raise the toll of casualties from landmines and bombs since the ceasefire between the al Houthi rebels and the government to over a dozen.
- Tariq al Fadhli, one of the major leaders of the southern movement, has ended his truce with the Yemeni government signed last month. Al Fadhli announced he was ending the truce on Friday after Yemeni security forces tried to arrest him at his home in Zinjibar. Supporters of al Fadhli were able to push back security forces to prevent his arrest.
Horn of Africa Brief
Islamist rebel groups al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a were involved in heavy fighting in the Mataban district in the Hiraan region after militants from al Shabaab attacked Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a bases. The fighting resulted in al Shabaab taking control of the Mataban district. UPDATE: Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a reportedly recaptured the Mataban district.
- A Somali government soldier opened fire on a civilian in the Hamar Jajab district in Mogadishu.
- Chief of staff of the Land Forces, Brig. Charles Angina stated at a fundraiser for the construction of Pearl Haven Christian Centre in Mbale, the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) will remain in Somalia until the insurgents are defeated. Chief of Staff Angina also stated the UPDF had gained “recognition from the international community as a disciplined army whose presence in Somalia is for a noble cause.”
- Somali national police forces have confiscated weapons and explosives in the Hamarweyne and Hamar Jajab districts in the Banadir region during a routine security operation. Somali national police officer Ali Hirsi, known as Ali Gab, stated police forces uncovered multiple types of weapons, ammunition, and explosive materials.
- Mozambique arrested 29 Somali refugees in two minibuses who were en route to South Africa to escape the violence in Somalia.
- A South Korean destroyer has reached the hijacked tanker, Samho Dream, and is shadowing the ship. Twenty-four crew members and an estimated $170 million in crude oil are aboard
- Dutch marines rescued the hijacked German container ship, the MS Taipan. The marines tried to peacefully negotiate the release; however, when peaceful negotiations failed, the marines stormed the ship and arrested ten Somali pirates. The MS Taipan was hijacked approximately 500 nautical miles east of the Somali coast while en route from the Kenyan port city of Mombasa to Djibouti.
- An Iranian oil tanker, Iran Faraz, was attacked by four Somali speed-boats while en route from Bandar Bushehr in southern Iran to the port city of Izmir, Turkey. The Iranian fleet patrolling the area prevented the hijacking of the ship after received an SOS signal.
- A joint U.S.-Oman navy operation rescued an Indian dhow with a crew of eight sailors that was hijacked last month.