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: Al Qaeda militants ambush Abyan official, wound him in attack; U.S. embassy issues warning of potential al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula attacks during Ramadan
Horn of Africa: Puntland security forces claim militants driven from Galgala Hills; Ethiopian PM would send troops to Somalia if AMISOM fails; all sides preparing for increased fighting during Ramadan; AMISOM troops launch mortars at IDP camp, kill 5; lawmakers, military officials say TFG mismanaging tax revenue; Puntland police commissioner in Mudug region resigns over poor administration; Christian aid groups reject al Shabaab claims of proselytizing Muslims
Yemen Security Brief
- Suspected al Qaeda militants ambushed Haidarah Saleh al Shadadi, the General Director of Planning and International Cooperation in Abyan province. The attack severely wounded Shadadi and two of his guards on Tuesday.
- The U.S. embassy in Sana’a issued a Ramadan warning saying that AQAP “may use the Ramadan season as an opportunity to conduct attacks against American citizens and interests.” Additional warnings tell Embassy personnel and visitors to avoid Hadda Street and for all personnel to avoid hotels, areas with significant crowds, places where foreigners gather, and other large events.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Puntland security forces claimed total victory over Islamist rebels in the Galgala Hills, saying they have captured the last militant base following a skirmish there Wednesday. A Puntland security officer, Mohamed Abdirahman, said the militants led by Mohammed Said Atom fled their base. "We have taken control of the last base where the terrorist leader trained his militants and if God wills the war will soon be over after we arrest the militia commander," he said. One militant leader, Abdikarin Ahmed Beynah, denied losing the insurgency against Puntland. "The enemy forces are trapped in the mountainous area where they encountered tough resistance and for the time being, I tell you they are in the middle of nowhere with our fighters besieging them. They lost many soldiers and many more will die in the course," he said. One security officer said his forces lost two men but killed seven militants in the fighting.
- Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said he would send troops to Somalia should AMISOM forces need to be evacuated. “We will provide all the assistance that we can from our side of the border but we will not cross it, even if the TFG is threatened. The only time when we may cross it is if the lives of AMISOM troops are under threat, and if they ask for our assistance. Then we will intervene without hesitation," he said. He insisted, though, that Ethiopian troops under such circumstances would only be aiding the evacuation of peacekeepers.
- All warring parties expect fighting throughout Somalia to intensify during the month of Ramadan. AMISOM spokesman Major Ba-Hoku Barigye said his troops are preparing for a significant increase in militant attacks over the next month. Hizb al Islam commander Moalim Hashi Mohamed Farah said his group would step up its efforts against pro-government forces during the month. “We shall strengthen the battles against the so called Somali government and their ally African Union troops in the Holy month of Ramadan, I’m sure God will reward his servants who stage war against infidels and the apostates in the month of Ramadan,” he said. Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a also stated that it will increase attacks against its enemies, al Shabaab and Hizb al Islam, during Ramadan.
- AMISOM troops responded to an al Shabaab attack in Mogadishu’s Madina district by launching mortars that inadvertently killed at least five civilians and wounded 18 others at IDP camp KM-13 on the outskirts of the city.
- Somali lawmakers and military officers denounced TFG leadership for failing to establish security and stability in the country despite collecting taxes from the seaport and airport. Colonel Mohamed Warsame accused the government of failing to pay the salaries of its soldiers. Lawmaker Ibraahim Yarow said the TFG is mismanaging its revenue. "I believe the government leaders have failed to stabilise the country, we don’t know how the government spends the funds they get from the donors and taxes from the sea and airport,” he said.
- Puntland police commissioner of Mudug region Muse Abdirahman Hasasi resigned from his post due to poor administration in the region. “I have been for so long seeing unprofessional conducts within the regional police department, and after I was unable to control the misconduct I had no any other alternative, but only to undress myself from the Khaki police uniform, and abandon the police profession which I have seen that I was in a such that high rank just by name but not by command” he said.
- Two Christian aid agencies responded to a ban by al Shabaab, claiming they are only providing humanitarian aid. “It was shocking to us and we never thought this will happen, we only help the civilians, we don’t work on religion or politics," said WORLD VISION spokesperson Amanda Koech. A statement from ADRA said it would temporarily suspend its operations in the country’s southern regions to the detriment of 180,000 people dependent on the group’s aid. We help the people regardless of their religion, language or nationality, we assist everyone who is hungry, and we will continue to operate in the areas that Al-Shabaab doesn’t control," the group said.