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: Tribesmen kill two suspected al Qaeda-linked militants in Abyan; clashes between Salafists and al Houthis kill at least 14 people in Sa’ada; rival forces withdraw from streets in Taiz
Horn of Africa: Casualty figures emerge from December 8 Bardhere airstrikes; bomb wounds three people in Bakara goat market in Mogadishu; UN secretary general visits Somalia; Minnesota-based Hawala agents to close
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni tribesmen killed two suspected al Qaeda-linked militants that were attempting to enter the town of Mudia in Abyan governorate, according to a tribal source. The militants were identified as Abdullah Umeir and Shokri Shaher.
- Clashes between Salafists and the al Houthis killed at least 14 people in Sa’ada governorate since December 7. Four Salafists and at least three al Houthis were reportedly killed on December 8.
- An official reported that Saleh-loyalists and armed opposition tribesmen have begun withdrawing from the streets, roadblocks, and occupied buildings in Taiz. The official added that a committee tasked with “normalizing” Taiz is facilitating the withdrawal. Meanwhile, the General People’s Congress (GPC) said that it would stop staging rallies after Friday prayers in a show of support for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative and in order to “begin ending the political crisis” in Yemen. On the other hand, Assistant General Secretary for the Islah Party said, “We in the JMP do not have the authority to cancel protests and sit-ins. It's the youth movement that controls the protesters."
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Military officials with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) reported that at least sixty al Shabaab militants were killed near Bardhere in Gedo region during December 8 airstrikes that hit two al Shabaab bases and a checkpoint. Lieutenant Colonel Adan Hirse Mohamed Rufle, a TFG military spokesman, said that several senior al Shabaab officials were among those killed and several militant vehicles were also destroyed.
- A bomb exploded in Bakara market in the goat market section in Mogadishu, seriously wounding at least three people. The blast occurred early in the morning.
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made an unannounced visit to Somalia, where he met with TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali. Ban Ki-moon lauded the efforts of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and announced that the UN would move its Somalia office from Nairobi to Mogadishu in January.
- Several hawala agents in Minnesota plan to cease operations when Sunrise Community Banks close their accounts. The bank was one of only a few in the country to conduct wire transfers to Somalia. The bank fears that some of the funds may go to al Shabaab in violation of U.S. counter-terrorism laws. The U.S. Treasury Department estimated that Somalis living in the U.S. send one hundred million dollars to people still in Somalia every year. Dahir Jibreel, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, said, “It will touch every community member . . . everybody is scared. Everybody is worried. And they don’t know what will come.”