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: U.S. labels Awlaki “key leader” of AQAP, Yemen says hunt for terror leader continues; American citizen in Yemen believed to be ghostwriter behind al Qaeda magazine; state forces preparing for war, Houthi rebels claim; Houthis back official dialogue between opposition groups and government, 400 Houthi-linked detainees and 27 Southern Movement activists to be released from prison; senior district judge killed in Lahij
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab launches Mogadishu offensive, 14 civilians killed; militants attack TFG positions Saturday, killing 3 people; Uganda police release images of reconstructed faces of suicide bombers; Kenya FM says country had credible intelligence pointing to Kampala attacks; British intelligence officers visit Somaliland; gunmen kidnap UN aid worker; Ethiopian troops withdraw from Hiraan, Bakool regions; Puntland president names general top defense adviser; Puntland Cabinet of Ministers approves new counterterrorism law; gunmen kill judge in Sool region; TFG operation in Mogadishu seizes illegal weapons, drugs; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a bans broadcasts favorable to al Shabaab in central town
Yemen Security Brief
- The U.S. Treasury Department declared Friday that it would freeze the assets of radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al Awlaki, declaring him a “key leader” of AQAP. Yemeni officials responded Sunday by announcing that the hunt for Awlaki is continuing in the southern Shabwa province and the surrounding mountainous region.
- U.S. intelligence officials believe the ghostwriter beyond al Qaeda’s recently released Inspire magazine is 23-old American Samir Khan, who reportedly fled North Carolina for Yemen in October 2009. Khan previously ran “Jihad Recollections,” a radical Islamist blog, authorities said.
- State forces are allegedly planning for a seventh war against the al Houthi rebels despite ongoing truce discussions, the rebels said on their website Saturday. They claim that the government is currently digging trenches from Sana’a to Sa’ada in preparation for an offensive.
- Al Houthi officials announced their support Monday for an agreement signed Saturday between the government and the country’s political opposition groups to initiate a dialogue on political restructuring and “national unity.” As part of the agreement, the government agreed to an opposition demand for the release 27 Southern Movement detainees and 400 individuals linked with the northern al Houthi rebels.
- Mohammad Abdullah Dughaish, a senior district judge, was killed by gunmen in al Khazajah of Lahij province Sunday.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab launched a new offensive Sunday on TFG held districts in Mogadishu, and the clashes continued into Monday. Fighting in the Shibis and Abdulaziz districts have killed at least 14 civilians without any conclusive result to the battle.
- Islamist militants attacked TFG positions in Mogadishu’s Hodan district Saturday, sparking a battle that killed three people and wounded five others.
- Ugandan security officials released pictures of the reconstructed faces of both Kampala suicide bombers, hoping the images would lead to a breakthrough in the case.
- Kenya’s foreign affairs minister said his country had credible intelligence pointing to major attacks from al Shabaab three days before the Kampala bombings.
- A delegation of British intelligence officers arrived in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, for the purpose of boosting their monitoring of Islamist militants in southern Somalia.
- Gunmen kidnapped a UN demining worker outside Mogadishu his relatives said Sunday. The man, Said Moalim Bashir, worked for the UN Mine Action Centre.
- Ethiopian troops withdrew back to Ethiopia from the Hiraan and Bakool regions Saturday, ending a two-month presence on the Somali side of their border.
- Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole appointed one of his top generals, Abdullahi Ali Mire "Areys,” as his new top defense adviser.
- Puntland’s Cabinet of Ministers approved a new counterterrorism law aimed at strengthening the region’s security following a series of bombings and assassination attempts. The state’s parliament must now vote on passage for the law.
- Unidentified gunmen killed a judge in Las Anod in the disputed Sool region on Sunday.
- Mogadishu police conducted a minor operation in several parts of the city Sunday, seizing illegal weapons and drugs, in order to further secure areas under TFG control.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a prohibited two radio stations in Abudwaq, a town in central Somalia, from broadcasting programs favorable to al Shabaab.