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: Seven suspected al Qaeda militants killed in latest clash between militants, security forces; AQAP releases posthumous document from Muhammad Umeir al Awlaki; al Houthi rebels attack pro-government clansmen, kill two; al Qaeda member surrenders to authorities; Abyan official survives assassination attempt; gunmen throw grenade at Interior Ministry official’s home in Shabwah, no casualties reported; seven people die in clan fighting in northern provinces; Eritrean pirates seize two Yemeni fishing boats, release one with crews
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab seizes and burns food aid; eleven militants died in premature bomb explosions, foreign fighters included; AMISOM spokesman says his group ready for militant attacks; Hizb al Islam claims group will capture Dolow in Gedo region; Hawiye elders spokesman calls for end to violence in Puntland, Mogadishu; Puntland refutes militant claim that government is engaged in clan warfare; Somali ambassador thanks Uganda for support of peacekeeping mission; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a conducts security operation, arrests two men suspected of murdering IDP; UN says Somali humanitarian crisis eases in past six months; Dutch send ship to aid anti-piracy mission of coast of Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
- Seven al Qaeda members were killed Sunday in clashes with Yemeni soldiers in the city of Lawder in Abyan governorate. Five other militants were reported killed from previously. Earlier on Friday, at least 21 people had been killed in clashes in the city, including 11 soldiers and seven al Qaeda members, three of whom were foreigners. Residents report that the Yemeni army has deployed additional troops to the city. The Defense Ministry identified Adham Shibani as killed and named others who had fled the scene as Ahmed Mohammed Abdu Daradish, Abdel Rauf Abdullah Mohammed Nassib and Jalal Saleh Mohammed Saidi. Wounded militants are reportedly being interrogated.
- AQAP media arm al Malahem released a posthumous text from Muhammad Umeir al Awlaki, who was killed in a US airstrike on December 24, 2009 in Shabwah province. The document, titled “Why I Chose Al-Qaeda?” includes an introduction from AQAP leader Abu Baseer al Wuhayshi and Abu al Bara’a al Awlaki, as well as a eulogy from Ibrahim al Rubeish.
- Al Houthi rebels attacked a pro-government clan vehicle, killing two people and wounding three others Sa’ada province’s Manabah district on Saturday.
- Ali Hossein al Tais, an al Qaeda member and ex-Guantanamo Bay inmate, surrendered himself to security authorities on Saturday.
- The deputy governor of Abyan province, Ahmed Ghalib al Rahawai survived an assassination attempt by unidentified assailants. The militants set the bomb on a road in the province’s al Rumailah district, and it injured the official and one of his guards. Also, gunmen attacked the police station in Shabwah province, but no casualties were reported.
- Two unidentified gunmen threw a grenade at a senior Interior Ministry official’s home in Shabwah province on Sunday, but the explosion inflicted no casualties.
- Seven people died in fighting between clans in the al Jameemah village in Hajah province and Sueer village in Amran province on Friday and Saturday.
- Eritrean pirates hijacked two Yemeni fishing boats, keeping one and sending the 12 crewmen back to Yemen on the second.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab seized and burned over 500 bags of maize and wheat from the World Food Program in Mogadishu. A spokesman for al Shabaab, Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, said “WFP brought the dirty food to poison our people. Many would have died because of the expired food so we have traced and raided from the markets and decided to burn.” Merchants report that an estimated 3,000-4,000 sacks of food have been confiscated by al Shabaab militants over the past week.
- Eleven militants died in two separate incidents where their bombs detonated prematurely, according to TFG officials. Ten of the mostly foreign fighters died when a car bomb they were preparing exploded at a house in Mogadishu’s Hawl-Wadaag district, and another died while setting a roadside bomb elsewhere in the city. The Information Ministry said the militants dead in the first bomb included three Pakistanis, two Indians, one Afghani, one Algerian, and two Somalis. A Somali imam, Aweys Abu Yusuf, was also killed in the blast as he was offering prayers to the bombers before their attack. Police arrested two men guarding the second bomb and confiscated their materials.
- AMISOM spokesman Major Barigye Bahuko said his force had received credible intelligence suggesting imminent attacks from Islamist insurgents in Mogadishu, and assured that his troops are ready for such an attack. “We have the ability to defend our bases in Mogadishu from any insurgent attack,” he said. He also claimed AMISOM has captured parts of Mogadishu’s Shibis, Bondhere, and Karani districts in recent operations.
- Hizb al Islam’s governor in Gedo region, Sheikh Farhan Abdi, threatened to seize Dolow, a town in the region controlled by the TFG and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a. Sharif Abdiwahid Sharif, the spokesman for pro-government forces in the region responded by saying his groups would capture Luq, Beled Hawo, and Bardere from Islamist militants.
- Hawiye traditional elders spokesman Ahmed Derie Ali urged all responsible parties to end conflict in Puntland and Mogadishu in order to prevent more civilian casualties. “I call for both sides of fighting in Puntland, officials of Mohamed Said [Atom] and Puntland to stop the clashes in Galgala village. We are saying to them please and please halt the fighting and reach peace. The fighting in Mogadishu is not Jihad and all Islamic clerics know and agreed that. So we repeat and repeat our calls to halt the fighting," Ali said.
- Puntland Internal Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development Minister General Abdullahi Ahmed Jaamac Ilka Jiir refuted claims by Islamist militants that his government is engaged in clan warfare. "We are very disappointed about the propaganda that the terrorist group is using to mislead our people, they said the clashes are between Puntland and clan militias, which is totally incorrect. We are fighting terrorists and the people must understand that the government is there to defend them from any attack and I appeal for unite to defeat our enemy," he said.
- Somalia’s ambassador to Uganda, Sayid Ahmed Sheikh Dahir, thanked the country for its role in AMISOM and offered condolences for the Kampala bombings. President Museveni and his people have played a very important role in the restoration of peace and sanity in our country,” he said.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a conducted a security operation in Galgudud region’s Abudwaq district and arrested two suspects on charges of murdering a woman in an IDP camp there.
- The United Nations said that Somalia’s humanitarian crisis has eased moderately in the past six months. The number of people needing humanitarian aid reduced by 25 percent to two million, but still over a quarter of the population needs aid.
- The Netherlands sent an armed supply ship, the Amsterdam, to aid the European Union’s anti-piracy effort off the coast of Somalia.