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: Opposition tribesmen clashed with Houthi rebels in al Jawf governorate; U.S. official discussed power transition with Yemeni vice president; Joint Meeting Parties called for end to Saleh regime
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab flogged four people in Afgoi district; U.S. sends Marine Task Force to AFRICOM to help train African peacekeepers; al Shabaab allows aid organization into Somalia; Somali government approved the Kampala Accord; Ugandan president called for foreign air and sea support; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a appointed new interim chairman in Gedo region
Yemen Security Brief
- Tribesmen loyal to the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) clashed with al Houthi rebels in al Jawf governorate on July 11, leaving at least 30 people dead and hundreds injured in the past four days. Fighting between the Houthis and opposition tribes began four months ago when al Houthi rebels tried to seize control of al Jawf. Tribal leader Ali Saleh Bin Shateah has accused the government of supporting the Houthi rebels in an effort “to humiliate the tribes that supported the revolution.
- Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan met with Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi on July 11 to press for a transition of power and discuss and the political and security climate in Yemen. Hadi told Brennan that the government and opposition parties are close to an agreement that would open a dialogue and bring an end to the violence.
- The JMP issued a statement on July 11 calling for an end to “the abduction of power by the remnants of the [Saleh] regime.” The coalition of parties urged the Yemeni people to persist in their peaceful revolution and reject the government’s “collective punishment” by “cutting power and water and hiding oil derivatives.”
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab punished four people in Afgoi district of Lower Shabelle region for committing numerous crimes. An eighty-year-old man was sentenced to 25 lashes for “viewing indecent films” and a fifty-five-year-old women to 39 lashes for “being a healer who treats ailments believed to be caused by witchcraft” and “practicing un-Islamic ways of healing.” Another woman was whipped 39 times “for making her husband love her much better than before using witchdoctors in the area” and a man 60 times for “alleged involvement in drug dealing.”
- A new Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force has been assigned to U.S. Africa Command to provide training and foster strategic partnerships with African militaries fighting al Qaeda-linked militant groups in Somalia and the Maghreb. The task force will be based in southern Europe and will focus on training African troops. Colonel Dale Vesely, plans and operations chief for Marine Forces Africa, said, “We’re not going to hunt down al-Qaeda in the Maghreb…but we’re training [African militaries] to go fight it.” The new force will also give AFRICOM the ability to respond to humanitarian crises in the region.
- Al Shabaab has allowed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to enter territories under its control and provide assistance to drought-hit Somali citizens.
- The Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) approved the Kampala Accord on July 11 with a 393-36 vote and 7 abstentions. Approval officially extends the government’s term for another year. Parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam chaired the session, and 436 out of 550 parliamentarians were present.
- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called for air and sea support to help fight al Shabaab in Somalia. At a service held to commemorate those killed in last year’s twin bombings in Uganda, Museveni said that air and sea support are essential in defeating al Shabaab.
- The Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a administration in Somalia’s southwest Gedo region announced Sheikh Ali Darus Ahmed as its new interim chairman. The administration’s spokesmen said the group’s forces said will intensify their fighting against al Shabaab. Al Shabaab militants killed Ahlu Sunna’s previous leader in Gedo two months ago.