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: Yemeni journalist abducted and interrogated about al Qaeda; Yemeni court upholds death sentences for four al Qaeda members; AQAP claims responsibility for June attack on Yemeni intelligence headquarters; al Houthis kidnap five oil workers; Yemeni security forces allegedly capture top al Qaeda member; gunmen fire on checkpoint in Ma'rib; Yemen releases 165 al Houthi prisoners of war
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims responsibility for Kampala bombings, 74 dead in Uganda; Hizb al Islam, al Shabaab leaders meet for unity talks in Mogadishu mediated by foreign al Qaeda fighters; al Shabaab claims assassination of TFG official in Beledweyne, executes "Ethopian spy" in Baidoa; Kenya deploys additional troops to Somali border; landmine kills three soldiers in Puntland; Ethiopian troops clash with clan militias in Somali region, 20 killed
Yemen Security Brief
- Intelligence officers released a Yemeni journalist they said they interrogated about al Qaeda. Abdulelah Shaea was previously reported to have been kidnapped after witnesses saw armed gunmen abducting him Sunday evening.
- A Yemeni court upheld death sentences for four members of a 16-man al Qaeda cell that perpetrated attacks on government and Western targets in 2008. Two other members of the group had their death sentences commuted. The cell killed two Belgian tourists, mortared the U.S. embassy, and attacked oil facilities and a military camp.
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the June 19 attack on Yemen’s intelligence headquarters in Aden. The statement claimed that the attack killed 24 officers and soldiers, deviating from the government’s report of 11 killed. AQAP also denied that the government had captured those responsible for the attack.
- The Yemeni Interior Ministry accused al Houthi rebels of kidnapping five oil workers and said it foiled an attempt by the group to blow up an oil pipeline. The Interior Ministry said the five workers were employees of the state oil company and were kidnapped while inspecting fuel stations in the al Jawf governorate.
- Yemeni security forces arrested two alleged al Qaeda members from a cell in Mukalla. One of those arrested was Abdullah Faraj Mahmoud Lojobar, a Saudi citizen listed on both Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s most wanted lists.
- Gunmen opened fire on a government checkpoint in Ma'rib governorate. While no group took credit for the attack, the Interior Ministry said the attacks likely came in response to a Yemeni court ruling this past Wednesday sentencing two al Qaeda members to death.
- Yemeni authorities released 165 al Houthi detainees that had been captured during the last war between Yemen and the al Houthi rebels. The freed rebels were the final prisoners to be released following the ceasefire between the two sides in February.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for two bombings on Sunday in Uganda’s capital that killed 74 people watching the World Cup final match on television. The attacks in Kampala were al Shabaab’s first outside of Somalia, although the group had promised such action before. The militant group’s spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dheere, said, "We will carry out attacks against our enemy wherever they are. No one will deter us from performing our Islamic duty."
- Hizb al Islam leader Sheikh Dahir Hassan Aweys met with al Shabaab leader Abu Zubayr in Mogadishu Friday to discuss a merger of the two militant groups. Both sides confirmed the presence of al Qaeda foreign fighters to mediate the talks, and a senior al Shabaab official said he expected the parties to reach a unity agreement within days.
- Al Shabaab claimed the assassination of a local TFG official in Beledweyne, whom the group said was spying in preparation for an attack on the town. The militant group also executed a man in Baidoa convicted of spying for the Ethiopian government.
- Kenya deployed additional troops to its border with Somalia in order to tighten security in that region.
- A landmine explosion targeting a Puntland military patrol killed three soldiers and wounded four others in Boosaaso. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Ethiopian troops clashed with clan militias in El Dibir in Ethiopia’s Somali region Saturday, killing 20 people and wounding another 35.