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: Yemen denies rumor that the U.S. is opening facilities on Socotra; al Houthi rebels continue to be uncooperative in implementing the ceasefire; the Pentagon approved $150 million in military assistance; small arms dealers moving underground
Horn of Africa: Somali President pleads for international assistance; al Shabaab militants killed in Mogadishu explosion; Hizb al Islam denies involvement in Mogadishu explosion; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a clerics hold meeting with TFG forces
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi has denied that Yemen signed an agreement with the United States allowing it to establish facilities on the island of Socotra. Al Qirbi stated “The U.S. should act in the way it serves its interest and others' interest.”
- Al Houthi rebels reportedly continue to impede the implementation of a ceasefire agreement with the Yemeni government by postponing the opening of important roads, slowly eliminating landmines, and keeping captive the two remaining Saudi soldiers and Yemeni military and civilians. At this time, the Yemeni Supreme Security Committee views the al Houthis as uncommitted to the ceasefire.
- The Pentagon approved $150 million in military assistance to Yemen. This amount more than doubles Yemen’s aid from last year, $67 million. The current package is intended to pay for military equipment and training for Yemeni security forces.
- Arms dealers in local markets have been moving sales underground in response to theYemeni government’s implementation of tougher restrictions on sales. Arms dealers now open their shops with no merchandise displayed, but will sell weapons and ammunition to buyers at their homes. Abdurrahman al-Marwani, chairman of local NGO Dar al Salam (House of Peace), which works against armed violence and arms proliferation, stated there are more than 300 arms shops in Yemen.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed made a troubling announcement signifying the level of fragility of the state of Somalia. President Ahmed stated “My government has no powers; we need international support to restore law and order in Somalia.” Despite President Ahmed signaling the inefficiency and weakness of his government, he acknowledges it is his and the government’s responsibility to restore peace in Somalia.
- An explosion occurred in Mogadishu killing at least six people, three of whom were al Shabaab militants. The explosions were caused by two landmines which went off at the Bar Ubax intersection near the al Shabaab controlled Bakara market. A resident, who claimed anonymity, stated they were not sure who was behind the explosion because the area is controlled by Islamist forces.
- Hizb al Islam held a press conference stating they did not have any involvement in the Bakara market explosion in Mogadishu which killed three al Shabaab Islamists.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a clerics held a meeting with top TFG officials in Mogadishu. Sheik Omar Mohamed Farah, central Somali clerical chairman, stated their objective “Is to unite the clerics of Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama'a in central and southern Somalia, Puntland, and Somaliland to start a crackdown” on activities harmful to the people and the country.