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: 49 dead in north Yemen clashes; al Houthi rebels kill tribal chief; Awlaki added to UN sanctions list; officials meet to discuss opening anti-piracy center in Sana’a; Yemen, Singapore hold talks on counterterrorism
Horn of Africa: Clashes in Mogadishu have killed at least 53 people in past week;AU internal report says troops use indiscriminate shelling; al Shabaab militants ambush Kenyan convoy on border; Uganda investigators say bombs smuggled into country in June, police have 43 suspects in custody; U.S. congressman urges designation of Eritrea as state sponsor of terrorism; Eritrea seeks lifting of UN sanctions; AFRICOM commander says U.S. ready to increase support to AMISOM; AU official says more resources needed to strengthen AMISOM; al Shabaab launches new FM radio station in Galgudud region; Puntland starts security crackdown, deports over 500 southern Somalis in Boasaaso; Burundi charges journalist with treason; Somali pirates release hijacked two ships; Tanzania, Rwanda increase security following Kampala bombings
Yemen Security Brief
- Tribal and al Houthi rebel sources report that at least 49 people have been killed in four days of fighting between al Houthi rebels and pro-government tribes in the northern Amran province Major clashes have occurred in al Amsheyah in northern Amran province where al Houthi rebels have reportedly besieged the tribe of MP Sheikh Sagheer Aziz. A tribal source reports the death of 20 tribesmen and 10 al Houthi rebels; however, the rebels report that 20 of them had been killed. The spokesman for the al Houthi rebels, Mohammed Abdul Salam, said that the rebels are “confronting military positions.”
- Al Houthi rebels ambushed a tribal chief, Sheikh Zeidan al Maqnaee, in his car, killing him, his son, and four bodyguards when they opened fire on the vehicle. The ambush occurred in the Munabbeh district of Sa’ada province, near the border with Saudi Arabia.
- The UN has added radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki to its terrorist blacklist that targets al Qaeda and Taliban associates under UNSCR 1267. Awlaki will have all of his assets frozen and will face a travel ban by all states.
- Minister of Transport Khalid al Wazir met Tuesday with the International Maritime Organization to discuss launching a regional center in Sana’a for coordinating and exchanging information to combat maritime piracy in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.
- Singapore praised Yemen’s efforts Tuesday to contain extremist groups during a meeting between officials from both countries to discuss counterterrorism cooperation.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A Somali human rights group reported that at least 53 people have died over the past week in clashes and that many more were wounded.
- Internal African Union reports say that AMISOM troops have resorted to indiscriminate shelling of residential neighborhoods in Mogadishu. A recent report warns that if this practice continues, AMISOM will lose the support of the people.
- Al Shabaab militants ambushed a Kenyan security patrol from across the Somali border, wounding one officer. Reportedly, both sides are sending reinforcements to the area, which is near the Kenyan district of Lagdera.
- Ugandan investigators said the bombs used in the Kampala bombings had been smuggled into the country in June. The Joint-Action Terrorism Task Force and the FBI have been assisting in the investigation. Reportedly, Ugandan police now have 43 men in custody in connection with the attacks, including 16 Pakistanis, 11 Somalis, and eight Ugandans. Previous reports claimed at least 20 of the suspects were Somali.
- Representative Ed Royce urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to designate Eritrea a state sponsor of terrorism due to its support for al Shabaab.
- Eritrea asked the United Nations Security Council to end its sanctions on the country after the UN released a report commending improvement in Eritrea’s border negotiations with Djibouti.
- U.S. AFRICOM commander General William Ward said Tuesday that the United States hopes to provide more training, transportation, and logistical aid to AMISOM forces.
- African Union Commission Vice President Erastus Mwencha said that the AU lacks the resources needed to bolster AMISOM with troops from more African states and criticized the slow response from Western countries. "If someone gave us resources today, we would send 20,000 troops to Somalia immediately," he declared.
- Al Shabaab launched a new radio station in Galgudud region using a powerful FM transmitter allegedly confiscated from Somaliweyn in Mogadishu. Al Shabaab’s spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, and Sheikh Abukar Zaila’i, also known as Ibrahim al Afghan, a senior official, attended the opening ceremony. Sources say the frequency can reach Galkayo in central Mudug region.
- Puntland’s security minister said the semi-autonomous state is beginning a major crackdown in Boosaaso to staunch increasing violence in the region. His statement coincided with reports that Puntland security forces have arrested and deported at least 500 southern Somalis from other parts of the country due to security concerns.
- Burundi charged a jourlanist with treason for publishing an article that suggested that the Burundian military is not capable of protecting the country from terrorist attacks.
- Somali pirates released two hijacked ships that had been held for over four months, one was from Myanmar and the other was from Kenya.
- Tanzania has raised its international security alert following the Kampala bombings, bolstering security particularly at entry points into the country. Rwanda has also increased security throughout its territory.