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: AQAP claims responsibility for Abyan province attack; two Americans with Awlaki connections charged with terror offenses; 66 MPs suspend parliamentary membership over al Houthi attacks; Yemeni presidential advisor says Awlaki radicalized while in U.S.; Yemeni foreign minister emphasizes security as key to development
Horn of Africa: Three presidential guards defect to al Shabaab as it nears Villa Somalia, Uganda releases 20 suspects; al Shabaab attacks AMISOM base in northern Mogadishu, kills two Ugandan soldiers; AU official says Djibouti, Guinea will send forces to Somalia, total AMISOM deployment could top 10,000 soldiers; Uganda commander says four more African countries may send troops to Somalia; sources say thousands displaced from Somaliland clashes with rebels; Kenyan security forces suggest al Shabaab using snipers at border; Somali Information Ministry defends record on journalists, says al Shabaab sacrificing innocent journalists for propaganda; Hawiye clan, UN denounce Puntland refugee deportations
Yemen Security Brief
- AQAP has claimed responsibility for attacks against security and intelligence buildings earlier this month in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, that killed at least three people.
- Two American citizens were charged separately by U.S. authorities this week for terrorism offenses and are alleged to have been in email contact with radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al Awlaki.
- 66 Yemeni MPs have suspended their parliamentary membership to protest violent attacks by al Houthi rebels against pro-government Bin Aziz tribesmen in the north, which they claim constitute a breach of the Houthi-government ceasefire agreement.
- Abdul Kareem al Eryani, political advisor to President Saleh, claimed Friday that Anwar al Awlaki did not radicalize in Yemen but developed his extremist views while living in the United States. Eryani also indicated that AQAP’s membership in Yemen is believed to be only between 500 and 700 individuals.
- Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi said in an interview this week that public attention to Yemen’s security issues has diminished since January but that security problems remain an important issue—and are central to the country’s development. Qirbi also said that he does not believe the Southern Movement poses a danger of becoming an insurgency like the al Houthi movement in the north.
- Somali officials acknowledged that three members of its Presidential Guard defected to al Shabaab Thursday. The New York Times reports that al Shabaab has taken large swaths of territory from the TFG and is now just 300 yards from the Villa Somalia. Also, Uganda released 20 suspects held in connection with the Kampala bombings, and a police spokesman said that the remaining prisoners may have ties to al Shabaab and al Qaeda, but those links cannot be confirmed.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked an AMISOM base in Mogadishu’s Hodan district, killing two Ugandan soldiers. Fighting throughout the city’s northern districts killed four people and injured 13 on Thursday.
- At the African Union summit in Kampala, AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping said Djibouti and Guinea will send troops to Somalia. He also the AMISOM deployment could surpass the authorized 8,000 troops, potentially topping 10,000.
- Ugandan People’s Defense Force commander Katumba Wamala said that Nigeria, Zambia, Senegal and Ghana are considering sending ground forces to Somalia to support AMISOM.
- Local and UN sources say thousands of people have been displaced in Somaliland due to fighting between Somaliland forces and rebel militants over the past several weeks. Somaliland is battling separatists in its disputed regions of Sool, Sanaag, and Ayn.
- Kenyan security forces say al Shabaab snipers may have been responsible for Tuesday’s attack on two officers at the Somali border.
- The Somali Ministry of Information released a statement defending TFG military actions following accusations by Amnesty International that TFG soldiers were committing abuses against journalists. The ministry directly responded to an incident on July 1, arguing that TFG soldiers did not indiscriminately shell a building—which killed 11 journalists—but instead that al Shabaab forced civilians into its base to use their deaths for propaganda.
- Somalia’s Hawiye clan denounced Puntland’s security crackdown in which the semi-autonomous state has deported hundreds of refugees from southern regions of the country. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees also denounced Puntland, saying it has sent 900 refugees back into conflict zones.