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: Clashes between al Houthi rebels, pro-government tribesmen kill seven people; government forces regaining control of Lawder following intense fighting with al Qaeda militants, says security official
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants storm Mogadishu hotel, at least 31 dead; heavy fighting in Mogadishu kills at least 20 as al Shabaab spokesman declares war; hundreds of Ugandan troops arrive in Somalia to reinforce AMISOM; al Shabaab seizes radio station in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- Fighting between pro-government tribesmen and al Houthi rebels killed at least seven people in Huth on Monday. The tribesmen took “dozens” of rebel militants captive, according to a tribal official. The clashes started when the pro-government militia attempted to search homes in the town for smuggled weapons, and the al Houthi rebels resisted their efforts.
- Government forces are regaining control of Lawder, a town in Abyan province that has been the site of intense fighting between Yemeni security forces and al Qaeda militants. "Yemeni forces managed to enter the city of [Lawder] and impose ... control over most of it after Al-Qaeda elements fled. We will not allow Al-Qaeda or other subversive elements allying with it to carry out acts of terror and sabotage in [Lawder],” a security official said. Four additional al Qaeda militants were killed Monday, according to the Defense Ministry website. Thirty-three people have died in fighting in the town since Friday.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants wearing military uniforms stormed the Huna Hotel in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district on Tuesday, killing at least 31 people, including six members of parliament and five soldiers. At least two of the attackers were suicide bombers, blowing themselves up after firing on people in the hotel. Witnesses said the attackers took hostages and then executed all of them. “Heavily armed Al-Shabaab fighters stormed the hotel early morning, and took hostage officials who were inside. Then they later killed all of them,” one said. The death toll could have been higher if several MPs had not kept weapons in their rooms for protection, according to Information Minister Abdirahman Osman. “This is a terrible act in this holy month of Ramadan. It shows their brutality and their lack of respect for humanity,” he said. Security forces captured one of the reported 10 gunmen.
- Heavy fighting erupted throughout Mogadishu on Monday between Islamist militants and pro-government forces, killing at least 20 people and wounding another 80. Eyewitnesses confirmed clashes in the city’s Hodan, Hawlwadag, and Bondhere districts following a declaration of war by al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dheere. “I call on all al-Shabaab troops, beginning at this hour, to invade and destroy all entrenchments of the apostate and Christian troops,” he said.
- Hundreds of Ugandan troops arrived in Mogadishu, the first wave of many pledged reinforcements to bolster AMISOM, an African Union official said on Monday. Wafula Wamunyinyi, the AU deputy special representative for Somalia, said the troops began arriving last Friday, and many have since been airlifted to various locations throughout the city. Major Barigye Ba-hoku, the spokesman for AMISOM, has said that the media has misunderstood Wamunyinyi’s statement and that there is no fresh deployment in Somalia right now. He said, “So I would like to clarify that the troops have not yet arrived. When they arrive, we will tell the world.”
- Al Shabaab’s Banadir administration seized the FM radio station IQK/Holy Qur’an in Mogadishu on Monday, and announced it would henceforth administer the station. Following the takeover, al Shabaab began broadcasting its own Arabic lectures and lessons on the station.