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: President Hadi issues two decrees weakening the Republican Guard and First Armored Division; air strikes kill seven militants, including Abu Osama al Ma’ribi, in al Bayda; Yemen releases four AQAP suspects under Egyptian pressure; Yemeni Army kills two soldiers during raid in Jaar; Technical Committee convenes and elects leaders
Horn of Africa: TFG and Ethiopian forces kill 30 al Shabaab militants in Hudur; grenade attack kills one in Baidoa; TFG to set up police force in Beledweyne; head of the UN Political Office for Somalia welcomes communiqué issued by roadmap signatories; TFG Prime Minister Ali announces his candidacy for the August 20 presidential election
Yemen Security Brief
- President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued two decrees restructuring the military on August 6. The first decree formed a Presidential Protection Force from four brigades previously of the First Armored Division and the Republican Guard. The second decree separated eight brigades from the Division and the Guard and transferred them to the Southern and Middle Military Districts in the governorates of Lahij, Shabwah, Abyan, Taiz, and Ma’rib. The brigades are now financially and administratively independent.
- Raids by suspected U.S. drones killed seven militants near the town of Rada’a in al Bayda governorate late on August 6. Yemeni security forces announced that Abdullah Awad al Masri, known as Abu Osama al Ma’ribi, was killed in the raids. Ma’ribi was the leader of an explosives workshop for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to a release from the Yemeni state news agency.
- A spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced that Yemen had released four suspected members of an AQAP cell detained in July by Yemeni authorities in Sana’a on August 7. The spokesman, Amer Rashdi, said that the decision came after Egyptian efforts to secure the men’s release.
- Yemeni soldiers backed by popular resistance committee members killed two militants and arrested three others while raiding a home in Jaar on August 7, according to military officials.
- President Hadi led a meeting attended by all but three of the members of the Technical Committee, tasked with preparing for the National Dialogue, to urge its members to avoid delay on August 5. The committee elected Abdulkarim al Iryani as its head and Raqia Humaidan and Sultan al Atawani as deputies on August 6. It also selected Ahmed Mubarak as its reporter and Amal al Basha as its spokeswoman. The al Houthis sent Sharaf al Din and Mohammed al Bokhaiti instead of the appointed Mohammed Abdul Salam and Saleh Habrah to the meeting.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Heavily-armed al Shabaab militants attacked Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Ethiopian bases in Hudur in Bakool region on August 6. District commissioner of Hudur Mohamed Moalim Ahmed reported that over 30 al Shabaab militants were killed in the hours of fighting and dozens more were injured. TFG and Ethiopian casualty figures were not released. Al Shabaab claimed that they killed over 60 Ethiopian soldiers, including four senior commanders, and seized vehicles, weapon depots, and full control of the city via its Twitter feed. Additionally, al Shabaab said that only seven of its fighters were killed in the clashes.
- Eyewitnesses reported that one person was killed and two others were injured in a grenade attack in Baidoa in Bay region late on August 6. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Hiraan regional governor Abdifatah Hassan Afrah said that the TFG has agreed to set up a police force in Beledweyne. The police force will be comprised of 220 “well-trained” officers initially.
- Augustine Mahiga, the head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) welcomed a communiqué issued at the end of the roadmap signatories meeting in Nairobi on August 6. The communiqué lists six agenda items of the meeting: “The consolidation and publication of the traditional elders list; the selection of the 275 members of parliament; the integrity and protection of the technical selection committee; the procedures for election by the parliament of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the President; and the current political situation in Galmadug.” The remaining tasks are expected to be completed by August 20, which will officially mark the end of Somalia’s transitional phase.
- TFG Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali announced that he will run in the upcoming presidential election, slated for August 20. Ali has been serving as the Somali government’s prime minister for the past year.