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: State forces kill three AQAP militants, including top commander, after attacks in Shabwah province; al Houthi rebels seize army position, capture 70 troops; fighting between al Houthis and pro-government tribes continues despite brief truce; Saleh calls for end to tribal clashes; government boosts security in wake of al Qaeda attacks; U.S. ambassador to Yemen praises counterterrorism at departure meeting; French President Sarkozy renews support for Yemen’s security
Horn of Africa: AU leaders seek to give AMISOM offensive mandate; Guinea to send 850-man battalion to Somalia; Ugandan president calls for aggressive AU action against al Shabaab; Kenyan foreign minister wants AMISOM peacekeeping mission upgraded to “peace-making”; al Shabaab official tells AU to stay out of Somalia, threatens more Uganda bombings; Monday fighting between AMISOM soldiers, al Shabaab militants kills 19 in Mogadishu; weekend clashes between al Shabaab, government forces kills 8 in Mogadishu; Puntland security forces fight al Shabaab militants in Galgala Hills, president says no to AMISOM troops in Puntland; Puntland governor says security crackdown will continue despite criticism; Kenya, Djibouti sending delegations to Somaliland presidential inauguration
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni forces killed three al Qaeda militants, including AQAP commander Zayed al Daghari, after the militants opened fire on soldiers posted near a foreign oil company site east of Ataq. The militants were believed to be responsible for an ambush last week in Shabwah province in which killed five Yemeni soldiers. Six more soldiers were killed in a second ambush on Sunday.
- Al Houthi rebels reportedly seized a strategic army position in Amran province Monday, capturing roughly 70 troops. The rebels took control of the army post in al Za’ala after fighting that left seven soldiers and 12 Houthi rebels dead.
- Fighting between al Houthi rebels and pro-government Bin Aziz tribes in northern Yemen continued Sunday, breaking a truce negotiated between the groups by tribal mediators a day earlier. Dozens were killed in fighting between the al Houthi rebels and tribes last week.
- President Saleh called this weekend for an end to tribal clashes in northern Yemen that have left at least 70 dead in recent days. Saleh also pledged that the government would set aside money to rebuild battle-scarred Sa’ada.
- Officials in Yemen said Saturday that the government had stepped up security across the country in the wake of al Qaeda attacks targeted at security and intelligence installations. AQAP has taken credit for two such coordinated attacks in the past month. Among other measures, the government dispatched 54 “well-equipped” security vehicles to various police stations in provinces around Yemen.
- U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Stephen Seche praised Yemen’s efforts Monday to fight terrorism and piracy at a meeting with Interior Minister Rashad al Masri that marked the end of the ambassador’s tenure. Seche will be replaced by Gerald Feierstein, who vowed in a hearing earlier this month that the United States would try to bridge the gap between the Yemeni government, al Houthi rebels, and Southern Movement separatists.
- In a letter to President Saleh Monday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged continued French support for Yemen’s security and development, including efforts to train Yemeni forces to fight piracy. The two leaders will discuss bilateral relations during an upcoming visit by Saleh to France.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- African Union leaders reportedly agreed to change the mandate of AMISOM from peacekeeping to peace enforcement, authorizing AMISOM forces to attack al Shabaab militants throughout the country. The change needs to be approved by the AU Summit, and then the AU Security Council and the UN Security Council before any action can be taken.
- Guinea pledged an 850-troop army battalion to support the African Union’s peacekeeping effort in Somalia.
- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called on the African Union to step up its efforts in Somalia and take more aggressive action, saying al Shabaab must be “swept out of Africa.” He also said that Ugandan troops have every right to attack al Shabaab militants in self-defense.
- Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister called on the African Union to take stronger actions towards Somalia, saying AMISOM needed to go from “peacekeeping to peace-making.”
- An al Shabaab leader warned the African Union to stay away from Somalia, threatening more attacks like those in Uganda should the AU step up efforts there. Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim Bilal said African leaders should not foment chaos in Somalia by taking the wrong approach to the conflict there.
- Clashes between AMISOM troops and al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu killed at least 19 people and wounded at least 34 others on Monday.
- Eight people died over the weekend in clashes between al Shabaab militants and government soldiers in Mogadishu. A Somali official said most of the casualties were civilians.
- Puntland security forces killed 13 al Shabaab militants when they attacked an army post near Boosaaso on Monday. At least two soldiers died in clashes near Galgala Hills. Puntland President Abdirahman Sheikh Mohamed also said that Puntland did not need AMISOM assistance combating al Shabaab, and that all African soldiers should be deployed in the central and southern regions of the country.
- According to Bari Governor Sheikh Abdihafid Ali Yussuf, Puntland’s security crackdown will continue despite Somali and international criticism over its deporting of refugees.
- Kenya and Djibouti sent delegations to attend the Monday inauguration of Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo.