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: Police release activist; three soldiers confess to abducting tourists
Horn of Africa: UN to hold special meeting on sidelines of AU summit; ten fighters killed in clashes between Ahlu Sunna and al Shabaab; gunmen assassinate Puntland prosecutor; two people die in Mogadishu skirmishes between AMISOM and TFG forces and al Shabaab militants; al Shabaab official calls for alliance with TFG; AMISOM general apologizes for shooting of civilians; 1,800 Ugandan soldiers arrive in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni police released Naief al Kanis, chairman of the political department of opposition group Baath Arab Socialist Party and a member of the Joint Meeting Parties executive board, less than a day after his arrest in Sana’a Monday. Al Kanis told reporters, “Before they released me, security authorities ordered me not to organize any protest rallies and not to incite people against the regime, but I refused…they later set me free,” adding that he was not tortured while in custody.
- Three Yemeni soldiers confessed to abducting four Czech tourists in Sana’a last week. The soldiers, along with two accomplices who are still at large, said that they hoped to trade the hostages for the release of one soldier’s brother, who is being held on murder charges, but the plan failed when the soldiers were chased off following a gun battle with police.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- UN Special Representative for Somalia Augustine Mahiga announced that a Special High Level Meeting on Somalia will occur on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Mahiga reported that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) had drafted a road map outlining tasks to be accomplished by the end of its transition period. The Australian foreign ministry issued a warning that Somali Islamists may attempt to execute attacks in Addis Ababa during the AU summit.
- At least ten fighters were killed in clashes between al Shabaab militants and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a fighters in the Galgudud region in central Somalia. Witnesses reported most of the fighting occurred in and around the villages of Wardhumalo, Dhagahyale, and Elgal, and al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunna have issued conflicting statements regarding the outcome of the fighting. Sheikh Abdirisak Ashari, Ahlu Sunna’s spokesman in the region, said that “Our forces attacked al Shabaab controlled areas after they made military movements,” adding that “many al Shabaab fighters were killed.” Al Shabaab’s regional leader, Sheikh Yusef Kabo Kutukade disagreed, saying that al Shabaab fighters had “defended towns” from Ahlu Sunna incursions and “now controls areas formerly controlled by Ahlu Sunna.”
- Three gunmen killed Abdikadir Jama, head prosecutor of the Mudug region in Puntland, as he left a mosque in Galkayo. Galkayo mayor Abirahman Haji Hassan informed Garowe Radio that while no suspects have been arrested, the police are already working on the case.
- Skirmishes between al Shabaab forces and AMISOM and TFG soldiers killed two people in the Hodan and Hawl Wadag districts of Mogadishu. Locals reported that fighting erupted after al Shabaab militants raided several government and military positions, leading to an exchange of gunfire and artillery lasting several hours. The fighting occurred in Sigale neighborhood and along Makka al Mukarama road.
- Fuad Shongole, a top al Shabaab official, told a crowd gathered at a mosque in Bakara Market that al Shabaab should abandon its campaign of violence and work with the TFG to establish Islamic law in Somalia. In his address, Shongole said, “I call on the Shabaab militia to stop killing innocent people. We should especially stop killing people that we have condemned of spying for the government.” Shongole’s remarks follow rumors of a disagreement between him and al Shabaab head Ahmed Godane.
- Somali MP Farah Hirsi Awoley was hit in the leg by a stray bullet while sitting in his home in the Hamar Jabjab neighborhood of Mogadishu. The MP was taken to a private hospital and told Shabelle that he is recovering well.
- AMISOM’s deputy force commander, General Cyprien, spoke to the media and apologized for an incident Tuesday where AMISOM soldiers fired on a crowd of civilians, injuring four people. The general assured reporters that the shooting was under investigation and the soldiers responsible had been taken into custody. The TFG Ministry of Information also released a statement condemning the incident and confirming that an investigation is underway.
- 1,800 soldiers from the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) arrived in Mogadishu to join AMISOM as 83 of their colleagues returned to Uganda. UPDF Lieutenant General Katumba Wamala said that although AMISOM salaries have been increased from about $750 to $1,028 per month, “people should know that we are not in Somalia for payments but to help our fellow brothers and sisters there.” Ugandan LTC Francis Chemo, commander of the Uganda Battle Group Six, reported that he had ten men killed in action and thirty others wounded over the course of a nine-month deployment.