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: Somali government confirms al Qaeda members have arrived from Yemen; new photographs show the extent of the conflict in Sa’ada
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab raids UN base in Somalia; Somali pirates take control of Turkish cargo ship; Dutch commandos prevent pirate attack on German vessel; TFG Minister: Journalism in Somalia in dire straits; Puntland deploys forces to fight pirates; Hizb al Islam reiterates invite to Osama bin Laden; three civilians killed by mortars in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- A senior official in Somalia’s transitional government confirmed an earlier report that al Qaeda members from Yemen were moving to Somalia as Yemen has cracked down on the group’s sanctuaries. The official said that at least 12 members of al Qaeda had moved to Somalia in the past two weeks, possibly linking up with anti-government Islamist rebels.
- A new series of pictures released by Amnesty International show the devastation caused by the years-long conflict between the al Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government in the northern city of Sa’ada. The pictures show destroyed mosques, primary schools, health centers and other civilian buildings. International law forbids targeting civilian objects during armed conflict.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants disarmed guards and occupied a UN compound in the town of Wajid, near Baidoa. The fighters also seized a local airfield and computers belonging to the World Food Program. Al Shabaab has repeatedly called for the WFP to leave Somalia.
- Somali pirates have boarded and captured a Turkish cargo ship off the Kenyan coast. The Turkish vessel, the Yasin C, was en route to Mombasa when it was hijacked. The pirates are believed to be holding all 25 Turkish members of the crew hostage.
- Dutch Special Forces repelled an attempt by Somali pirates to capture the German ship MV Taipan. The Dutch commandos freed the crew of 15 and captured 10 pirates when they repelled onto to the ship from helicopters. The event marked the first time the Dutch contingent of the EU naval presence had used force to deter a pirate attack.
- A minister for the TFG said Wednesday that the state of journalism in Somalia is as low as it has ever been. The minister, Dahir Mohamud Gelle, said journalism in Somalia was on the verge of extinction due to threats of violence and intimidation.
- Somalia’s Puntland government has sent a contingent of armed forces to the coastal town of Bargal to apprehend pirates that are holding an Italian vessel hostage. The Puntland force also hopes to bar reinforcements from reaching the pirates holding the ship.
- A spokesman for the Hizb al Islam militant group reiterated the group’s invitation for Osama bin Laden to seek refuge in Somalia. A spokesman for the TFG said the transitional government strongly opposed Mr. bin Laden attempting to enter Somalia.
- Three civilians were killed in the Bakara Market neighborhood of Mogadishu after mortar rounds fell on their homes. 10 others were wounded by the shelling. It is unknown who fired the mortars, but reports indicate that anti-government militants and TFG forces had been trading mortar fire in the area.