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: U.S. to include attack helicopters in massive Saudi arms sale; U.S. military officials claim May airstrike on al Qaeda target in Ma’rib; AQAP leader in Jawf province turns self in; Interior Ministry issues directive urging vigilance against sabotage in six provinces; Eritrean pirates seize Yemeni fishing boats, release crews
Horn of Africa: South Africa set to join AMISOM; Friday clashes between Puntland security forces, militants in Galgala Hills kill seven; Puntland arrests, sentences journalist for broadcasting interview with rebel leader Atom; message from Somali militant published on jihadist forum justifying Kampala attacks; Somaliland Interior Minister calls for security cooperation from Puntland; TFG soldiers fire on civilian vehicle at checkpoint, kill two; AMISOM prepared for Islamist attacks says spokesman; clerics group calls for halt to fighting during Ramadan; Somali PM campaigning for support of government; UN official says Somalia severely short of needed humanitarian aid; Shabelle Media Network resumes syndication of BBC Somali broadcasts
Yemen Security Brief
- The United States announced it will include about 70 UH-60 Black Hawk and up to 60 Longbow Apache attack helicopters in an expanded arms sale to Saudi Arabia, pushing the deal to as much as $60 billion over 10 years. The Apaches will not have the standoff systems to allay Israeli concerns about a challenge to its military superiority; however, the deal dramatically expands Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities. It is also the largest foreign arms sale by the U.S. government.
- U.S. military officials confirmed American fighters were responsible for a secret May 25 airstrike in Ma’rib province targeting al Qaeda militants. The attack, the fourth such airstrike since December, also killed the Ma’rib deputy governor and triggered a string of retaliatory attacks from local tribesmen on oil pipelines.
- Yemeni security officials in Jawf province said an al Qaeda leader, Juman Safian, turned himself in on Saturday. Also, officials in Lahij province said unidentified gunmen attacked and killed a security officer there.
- Yemen’s Interior Ministry issued a directive Monday ordering governments in six provinces to increase security measures around vital facilities due to the threat of sabotage. The provinces warned were Hadramawt, Abyan, Shabwah, Ma’rib, Jawf and Sa’ada.
- Eritrean pirates hijacked two Yemeni fishing boats, keeping one and sending the crews back to shore on the second.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- South Africa’s cabinet is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss contributing military support to AMISOM. An anonymous source within the government said President Jacob Zuma is leaning towards fulfilling the request for such support by African Union chairman Jean Ping, among others. “The South African government will definitely seize the opportunity to show the continent that they are the big brothers,” he said. Uganda State Minister for International Affairs Henry Okello Oryem welcomed the news. “The assurance that President Zuma gave President Museveni during AU summit in Kampala last month was to give logistical assistance and other support to ensure Amisom does its work better than now,” he said.
- Friday’s clashes between Puntland security forces and Islamist militants in the Galgala Hills killed seven people and wounded nine others. The rebels led by Mohamed Said Atom attacked a Puntland military base in the recently captured Madashod village.
- Puntland arrested journalist Abdifatah Jama Mire and sentenced him to six years imprisonment for broadcasting an interview he conducted with rebel Islamist leader Mohamed Said Atom. Mire, the deputy director of Horseed FM, was jailed with six of his colleagues who were all later released without facing a trial. The International Federation of Journalists condemned Mire’s arrest and sentencing, and its Africa director called the action a “miscarriage of justice.” “Independence is as the heart of professional journalism and the authorities cannot decree which views are allowed or banned in media. Even opposing views need to be heard in a democracy. This judgment must be set aside,” he said.
- An Islamist published a message from an anonymous Somali on the jihadist Ansar al-Mujahideen Network, demanding that Uganda withdraw its troops from Somalia. The Somali claimed that the Kampala bombings were justified by Uganda’s killing of innocent civilians in Mogadishu’s Bakara Market. “Well the decision is in your hands, either you get the message and swallow your arrogance and withdraw your soldiers and the Ugandan people will leave in peace, at least they will not face attacks from Al Shabaab, or you make a foolish decision as did your former master Bush,” he said.
- Somaliland Interior Minister Mohamed Abdi Gabose asked for security cooperation from Puntland, as well as Somaliland’s other neighbors. He also praised Puntland for preventing its own security concerns from spilling into Somaliland.
- Government soldiers fired on a minibus in Mogadishu’s Asluubta district, killing two women and wounding two other civilians. The vehicle was en route to Afgoi and refused to stop at a military checkpoint, triggering the attack.
- AMISOM spokesman Major Behuko Barighye said on Saturday that his group is prepared for attacks that Islamist militants are preparing against its troops. “Hizbul Islam and Al-Shabaab are preparing new forces in the districts under their control for new attacks with Somali government troops and AMISOM. AMISOM has the power to defend any attacks from the armed militias and we are informing to the civilians to leave the areas under fighting as soon as possible,” he said.
- The Hargeisa-based Islamic Clerics Organization of Somalia called for a halt to fighting within the country during Ramadan. The group’s chairman, Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salad, said the fighting was un-Islamic. "This month is for a month which the Muslims required to beg Allah and follow his orders during the Ramadan. If fighting continues, the sins would be increased. So I suggest for those who are fighting to halt the clashes and respect the Somali civilians," he said.
- Hawiye clan elders called on Hizb al Islam’s administration to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Sheikh Mohamed Tahlil Warsameh, a former peace mediator. He was murdered in Elasha Biyaha, a village outside Mogadishu under Hizb al Islam’s control.
- Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke returned to Mogadishu Sunday in order to promote his government in the face of widespread criticism from lawmakers. He had spent the past week in Kenya meeting with international delegations over the political and military situation in Somalia.
- United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Mark Bowden said this year the country will receive too little assistance for its 35-40 percent of people dependent of humanitarian aid. "But this year it looked a little bit as if we will receive between 300 and 400 million dollars worth of assistance and we have critical gaps in assistance in some of the key areas where people need help," he said.
- The Shabelle Media Network formally resumed syndicating BBC Somali broadcasts from its headquarters in Mogadishu. The radio station originally ceased its syndication of the broadcasts after al Shabaab banned it.