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: Interior Ministry releases list of eight most wanted al Qaeda terrorists; Saleh meets with UK PM Cameron in London over regional security
Horn of Africa: Four Ugandan bombing suspects confess before reporters, reveal Kampala plot; fighting continues between Puntland security forces and Islamist militants in Galgala Hills; UN envoy to Somalia says Kampala attacks highlight implications of Somalia instability; Botswana FM says country lacks resources to contribute troops to AMISOM; Somali journalist organization condemns Puntland ban on VOA correspondent; Somaliland cabinet sworn in, president appoints regional and municipal governors; France sends destroyer to patrol with EU NAVFOR against Somali pirates
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemen’s Interior Ministry issued a new list of its most wanted al Qaeda members, which includes the names, photos and additional relevant information on eight suspected militants. The ministry distributed the lists to security checkpoints throughout the country in an effort to boost its efforts against terrorism. “Investigations revealed that the eight most-wanted terrorists were involved in a number of criminal and saboteur acts taken place in the northeast province of Marib and southeast province of [Shabwah]," the ministry’s statement said.
- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh met with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London on Friday to discuss various regional security issues. Cameron hailed Yemen’s efforts to fight terrorism and pledged British support to continue them. Saleh asked for more direct investment from Britain to decrease unemployment and deter Yemeni youths from extremism.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Four Ugandan suspects connected to the Kampala bombings faced reporters on Thursday in a press conference organized by government officials. Isah Ahmed Luyima confessed to being the mastermind behind the attacks as well as a member of al Shabaab, and said he intended to kill more Americans in the operation. "I targeted places where many Americans go. I was made to believe that Americans were responsible for the suffering of Muslims all over the world," he said. His younger brother, Haruna Luyima, was supposed to detonate a bomb at a discotheque, but said he backed out at the last minute. “But when I reached there I wondered why so many people watching football on television should be killed over nothing,” he said. Another suspect, Muhamed Mugisha said he fought with al Shabaab after al Qaeda initially recruited him, and was in charge of the operation until a misstep led to his replacement. He said more bombings are possible, thanks in part to complicit Kenyan policemen. "Kenyan policemen, especially the Somali tribe, helped us to cross from Somalia to Kenya, and from Kenya to Uganda. I am sure they knew who we were. Our bosses communicated to them and they easily let us through," he said. Kenyan police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said his force took the allegations seriously and would investigate them. The fourth suspect, Idris Nsubuga claimed he detonated a second bomb in the rugby club by mobile phone and apologized for his actions. "I know no one can believe that I did this evil...But deep down in me I broke down -- honestly I didn't know the impact of those explosives," he said. Uganda’s chief military intelligence officer, James Mugira, said those four suspects were solely responsible for financing, planning, and executing the attacks. Ugandan Major General Kale Kayihura said in a separate press conference that the men belonged to al Qaeda.
- Fighting in the Galgala Hills continued Thursday and Friday between Puntland security forces and Islamist militants led by Mohamed Said Atom, after Puntland claimed victory in the fighting. The sides clashed in Madashod, a village recently captured and secured by Puntland forces. Reports said Thursday’s fighting killed 18 people and wounded 20 others. Colonel Omar Abdullahi said militants killed one of his soldiers and wounded three others in Friday’s clashes, but that his men had inflicted heavier casualties on the rebels.
- United Nations Special Representative to Somalia Augustine Mahiga said the Kampala bombings highlighted the regional and global implications of instability in Somalia. He added that all regional actors, including the African Unity and East African IGAD bloc, have increased their focus on the growing menace of al Shabaab. He urged the Somali diaspora to boost its involvement with the country in order to serve a constructive role there. “In partnership with all those who support the peace process, you in the diaspora can ensure that the existing prospects for peace are harnessed into tangible outcomes – better security and improved conditions for the long-suffering Somali people,” he said.
- Botswana Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani reiterated that his country will not send troops to Somalia due to resource constraints, but will provide aircraft to assist the peacekeeping operation.
- The National Union of Somali Journalists condemned Puntland’s ban on Nuh Muse Birjeb, a Voice of America correspondent. "The suspension of a journalist who is merely carrying out his media work is a breach of press freedom. We understand that this is the height of a series of intimidations and scrutiny against Nuh Muse. Such actions are tantamount to an open subjugation of the journalist's freedom," said Omar Farouk Osman, the group’s secretary general.
- Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo’s 26-person cabinet was sworn in Thursday following unanimous approval from the state’s parliament. Silanyo also appointed new regional and municipal governors in the Maroodi, Jeex, Togdheere, Saaxil, Hawd, Gabiley, and Sarsar regions.
- France sent a destroyer, the FS De Grasse, to aid EU NAVFOR in combating piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.