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: AQAP targets role of women in jihad; negotiations underway between Yemeni government and al Houthi rebels; former AQAP member speaks on Saudi TV
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab released communiqué on unification ceremony; al Shabaab’s Kismayo administration to support fight in Mogadishu; overnight clashes occur in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- Um Hajir al Azdiyah, the wife of the deputy leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Said al Shihri, wrote in the latest issue of AQAP’s Arabic-language magazine, Sada al Malahem (Echo of the Epics), that women should support the jihad by demonstrating their faith through their actions and by raising their children to be mujahideen. A second article in the magazine warns of exposure to Western values through the media and a third article calls on Muslims youths to join the jihad.
- Yemeni sources report that negotiations are underway between the Yemeni government and the al Houthi rebels in Sana’a. The Qatari ambassador is overseeing the talks. Dhaif Allah Maran and Hassan al Marani are named as representatives of the al Houthi rebels.
- Jabir Jubran al Fayfi, a former Guantanamo detainee (#188) and former member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), spoke on Saudi TV Monday against terrorism and noted that he turned his back on the generosity of the Saudi government when he rejoined al Qaeda after graduating from the Saudi terrorist rehabilitation program. He said, “Terrorism was born without any knowledge of the true Islamic religion. Takfir (declaring another out of the fold of Islam) was done without any evidence or profit behind prison walls by politicized Arabs and Afghans.”
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab released a communiqué on jihadist forums on December 28 that highlighted the unification ceremony between al Shabaab and Hizb al Islam. The ceremony was held in Afgoi, outside of Mogadishu, and was attended by leaders from both groups. Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, formerly the leader of Hizb al Islam, spoke about jihad in Somalia and called for unity across the Muslim world. Al Shabaab commander, Sheikh Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, also known as Shongole, also spoke and said that it was Allah’s will that he was not killed when an explosive device hit the mosque in which he was teaching. Al Shabaab also released photos of the event.
- Al Shabaab’s administration in the southern port-city of Kismayo announced that it would deploy troops to Mogadishu to combat the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the African Union peacekeepers. Al Shabaab’s leader of the administration, Sheikh Hassan Yakub Ali, added, “It’s great pleasure for Mujahidins that Shabab and Hisbul Islam united together and with one rule and one military help.”
- Clashes occurred in Mogadishu between al Shabaab and TFG and AMISOM forces in northern Mogadishu. Local residents report that the fighting was concentrated in Abdul Aziz, Bondhere, Hodan, and Hawl Wadag districts. Mareeg Online reports that three people were killed and seven were injured. Shabelle radio reports that a TFG military officer, Dhame Abdulkadir, claimed that 18 al Shabaab militants were killed. Abdulkadir said that al Shabaab attempted to take the TFG base three separate times, but that they were unsuccessful. Health officials confirm that at least ten people died over the course of the last 24 hours.