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: Abductors of three aid workers allegedly linked to AQAP; two government military divisions defect to youth-led opposition movement; UN special envoy to Yemen helps broker deal between government and opposition
Horn of Africa: Roadside bomb kills four Kenyan soldiers near Somali border; al Shabaab fighters mobilize against local residents in Middle Shabelle region; AMISOM head says the government is winning in Somalia; al Shabaab bans common snack; U.S. congressman says over forty Americans have traveled to Somalia to fight with al Shabaab; Somali prime minister accuses foreign aid agencies of not doing enough to help drought victims; Ethiopia and Uganda sign regional security cooperation agreements
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni government officials said the abductors of three French aid workers have links to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and are demanding a $12 million ransom. The workers were abducted three months ago in Hadramawt governorate while working for Triangle Generation Humanitaire, a French aid agency based in Lyon, France.
- Two military divisions defected from the Central Security and Republican Guard forces to the youth-led revolution movement on July 26. A spokesman for the group said they rebuke the “destructive and bloody orientations of the remaining officials within the Saleh regime who refuse peaceful solutions to the situation in Yemen.” He said he expects more defections in the coming days.
- Jamal bin Omar, the special envoy of the UN Secretary General to Yemen, visited government and oppositions officials in a “few-day visit” to help broker a deal between warring political factions. He said the country is “suffering from a collapse of state” and that no external parties should intervene in resolving domestic affairs.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A roadside bomb near a military checkpoint on the Kenya-Somalia border killed four Kenyan security forces and injured eight others. The bomb exploded during security operations along the border in Mandera district. Al Shabaab is suspected to be behind the attack.
- Al Shabaab fighters have mobilized forces near Ad Adey village in Middle Shabelle region to launch an attack against local residents. The move comes after residents refused to hand over some camels to al Shabaab.
- Boubacar Gaoussou Diarra, head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), published an assessment of the security situation in Mogadishu. Diarra said the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM have made significant headway against al Shabaab, and that an increased commitment from the international community is required to solidify gains and seize control of the country. He claims the government controls two-thirds of Mogadishu, provides medical care and water to thousands of citizens, and will soon secure Bakara market. He also called on the United Nations to expand AMISOM’s force strength to 20,000 soldiers.
- Al Shabaab imposed a nationwide ban on the sale and consumption of samosas, a triangular snack the group claims resembles the Christian Holy Trinity.
- Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said more than forty Americans have traveled to Somalia to fight alongside al Shabaab. King said, “[Al Shabaab is] engaged in an ongoing, successful effort to recruit and radicalize dozens of Muslim-American jihadis, who pose a direct threat to the U.S.” The committee’s investigation shows al Shabaab has recruited at least twenty Canadians as well.
- Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali accused international aid agencies of not using their money properly to maximize assistance to drought victims. He said, “We will launch full and tough accountability measures to trace how the aid agencies are assisting those who are in desperate need for help… They (aid agencies) are given money claiming they will help Somalia, despite that the people who arrived at Mogadishu are dying of hunger and that is unacceptable absolutely.”
- Ethiopia and Uganda signed a series of bilateral agreements to strengthen economic and security cooperation. The new partnership will allow free movement between the two countries and address mutual security concerns in Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea.