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: Bomb kills 4 people, wounds 10 others in Abyan province; Yemeni terror suspect released from Guantanamo Bay; Eritrean pirates hijack three Yemeni fishing boats
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants increasing cross-border raids into Kenya; Uganda charges 32 in connection with Kampala bombings; battle between Ethiopian forces, Somalis in Ogaden region of Ethiopia kills 10; Mogadishu mayor criticizes international aid agencies for destroying city’s image; U.S. judge drops piracy charges against 6 Somalis; EU ship thwarts pirate attack in Gulf of Aden
Yemen Security Brief
- A bomb blast in al Majalah village in Abyan province killed at least four people and wounded another ten on Wednesday. No party has been accused or claimed responsibility for the attack.
- A U.S. federal judge ordered the release of a Yemeni man detained at Guantanamo Bay due to a lack of evidence to connect him to al Qaeda. Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif was arrested during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
- Eritrean pirates hijacked three Yemeni fishing vessels and took their 24 sailors hostage in the Red Sea on Tuesday and then took them back to Eritrea.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants have increased cross-border raids in Kenya in the past month, according to local officials and residents. A retired military officer in the border town of Liboi alleged that Kenyan security forces are allowing Somali militants to operate from their territory as a tactic to contain al Shabaab. "A section of local leaders have colluded with Somali militants and have sanctioned the use of their fighters to hold al Shabaab back and create a buffer zone. They (insurgents) have opened up new battle grounds in parts of Kenya's territory. It is a serious security issue which confirms Kenya's direct involvement. Our government must stay out of this conflict,” he said. At the Dabachabulla border post, local elder Mohamed Barre Ali said the threat of attacks is increasing. "Last month they attacked a hotel, spraying bullets all over the place for over two hours. It was not the first raid and it will not be the last. They issued another warning they would attack us two days ago," he said.
- Uganda charged 32 people in connection with the Kampala bombings, including the four alleged masterminds paraded before journalists last week. The suspects were collectively charges with 76 counts of murder, 10 counts of attempted murder and committing acts of terror. “We have a very strong case. All of these people will go to trial but we may add others later. The investigations are still ongoing," said Richard Butera, the director of public prosecutions. The defendants include 14 Ugandans, 10 Kenyans, six Somalis, a Rwandan and a Pakistani.
- Tuesday’s battle between Ethiopian troops and a Somali militia in Ogaden killed at least 10 people and wounded 30 others. Fighting erupted when Ethiopian forces attacked Jeed, a village in the Jillaabo region in retaliation for an attack that killed three Ethiopian policemen on Monday.
- Mogadishu mayor Mohamed Ahmed Tarsan criticized international aid agencies for stoking unmerited war fears in the city. “They are denying Mogadishu it's good image, the militias against the Somali government are the ones who are refusing Mogadishu to get peace and stability because they work with our enemy," he said.
- A U.S. judge dismissed piracy charges against six Somalis accused of attacking the USS Ashland in the Gulf of Aden in April. He agreed with the defense that because the men did not board and take control of the ship, nor steal anything of value from it, that their actions did not constitute piracy under U.S. law. The suspects still face lesser charges.
- An EU NAVFOR helicopter thwarted a suspected attack by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday. The suspected pirate skiff was equipped with a ladder and many fuel barrels when the EU DE GRASSE intercepted it, captured its crew and seized its equipment.