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 militant Hezam Mujali arrested four years after prison break; militant throws grenade at police station in Abyan province, wounds five policemen; gunmen, soldiers clash in Ma’rib province
Horn of Africa: AMISOM commander says troop estimate outdated, may need 40,000 to defeat al Shabaab; Ugandan police say Kampala attacks still under investigation; Hizb al Islam imposes curfew in Afgoi; al Shabaab militants, TFG forces fight in Mogadishu’s Hodan district; grenade attack in Mogadishu kills one, wounds two; human rights officials say Kenya illegally extradited bombing suspects to Uganda, FBI unlawfully interrogated them; FS De Grasse intercepts pirate skiff
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemen authorities arrested an escaped al Qaeda militant just north of Sana’a on Wednesday. According to a security official, Hezam Mujali “surrendered after a successful raid by the anti-terrorism forces on a house he was hiding in.” Mujali was suspected of attacking a French ship in 2002, and was arrested in 2004. He was sentenced to death before escaping from prison in a major jailbreak in February 2006.
- An unidentified assailant on a motorbike threw a hand grenade at the Jaar police station in Abyan province on Wednesday, wounding at least five policemen. The blast followed another attack in the province, which killed at least two people and wounded a dozen others.
- Clashes erupted between unidentified militants and Yemeni soldiers at military posts and security checkpoints in Ma’rib province late Wednesday night, although no casualties were reported.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- AMISOM commander Major General Nathan Mugisha said his force might need as many as 40,000 troops to defeat al Shabaab and pacify Somalia. He said the original estimate reflected the situation in the country three years ago, when al Shabaab was relatively weak and disorganized, but now foreign fighters have made it a formidable insurgency. “Further complicating the picture is the unchallenged flow arms and other contrabands into Somali through the Kismayo port which is under the control of Al-Shabaab, the lack of political will among the TFG leadership to create a coherent and unified front, and weak centralized command over forces loyal to the TFG,” he said.
- Ugandan police said the Kampala bombings are still under investigation and more arrests could be made, a day after authorities charged 32 people in connection with the attacks.
- Hizb al Islam imposed a curfew in Afgoi over fears of an attack from al Shabaab, some witnesses said on Thursday. Hizb al Islam did not give a reason for the curfew, but both Islamist groups have been executing military maneuvers in the town recently.
- Fighting broke out between TFG forces and al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu’s Hodan district on Wednesday. Government officers claimed victory in the battle, which killed several people and wounded many others.
- A grenade attack targeting the Afar-Irdood police station in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district killed one civilian and wounded two others, both children, on Wednesday. TFG troops started a search for those responsible for the attack.
- Human rights officials criticized Kenya for circumventing its own extradition law and illegally sending four suspects connected to the Kampala bombings to Uganda. They also claim the FBI and Kenyan police interrogated three suspects in a manner that violated Ugandan law.
- The FS De Grasse intercepted a pirate skiff Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden following a distress call from the MV SE VIRIDIAN. The pirates were released with just enough fuel to return to Somalia.