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: Government alleges that ceasefire breaches continue; Zawahiri condemns Yemeni clerics for not declaring jihad; three blasts rock Dhaleh; tribesmen blockade security office in Lahij province; President Saleh meets with UK development chief
Horn of Africa: AU lifts AMISOM’s cap on troop numbers; U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson calls Kampala bombings a “wake-up call” for the international community; al Shabaab announced second media foundation; Hizb al Islam, al Shabaab attack government positions in Mogadishu resulting in the death of 26 people; al Shabaab-linked Islamist leader vows jihad on Puntland; Silyano sworn in as Somaliland’s president; Ugandan security forces arrest 22 additional suspects; EU to contribute 35 million euros to humanitarian aid projects in Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
- Government officials insisted Wednesday that al Houthi breaches of the February ceasefire agreement are continuing. The officials alleged that the rebels are attacking security checkpoints and forcing citizens to flee their homes. Fighting continues in Sa’ada and the Harf Sufyan district of Amran province.
- Al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al Zawahiri criticized Yemeni clerics in his eulogy for Mustafa Abu al Yazid. Zawahiri noted the clerics have ignored signs that the Yemeni government cooperates with the United States and questions why they have not called for jihad. Zawahiri asks, “Has Amnesty International become more protective of and ardent for the people of Yemen than them [the clerics]? Are they waiting till missiles fall on their heads and hunt them? Are they waiting till the American soldiers roam through Sana’a with their tanks before they even think of declaring jihad against them? Do they need see that they got involved in Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan?”
- Militants were suspected to be behind three explosions that targeted the main police complex and two army posts in Dhaleh on Monday. Police Director General Ali al Haj was reportedly among the injured.
- Tens of armed al Sabiha tribesmen reportedly blockaded the security office in Lahij province Monday demanding that three people accused of killing their fellow tribesmen be handed over and brought to justice.
- President Saleh met Wednesday with British Minister of State for International Development Alan Duncan to discuss bilateral security and development cooperation.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- African Union officials said AMISOM’s cap of 8,100 troops has been lifted and there is discussion as to whether the African Union should expand the mandate to give troops the power to combat militants. The UN would have to approve any change in AMISOM’s mandate.
- U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said that the Kampala bombings were a “wake-up call” for the international community. “If al-Shabab can strike Kampala, it also is a threat to all of Somalia’s regional neighbors, from Djibouti and Ethiopia and Kenya all the way down to Tanzania. This is the first time that we have seen Shahab [sic] use suicide tactics outside of the south-central area of the county. This constitutes a threat and I think the regional states are genuinely concerned about the capacity of Shabab to do this.”
- Al Shabaab issued an Arabic statement announcing the foundation of “al Kata’ib News Channel” on July 26. The statement gives no indication as to whether this is independent from al Kata’ib Foundation of Media Productions, which is the group’s media arm. The News Channel is “specialized in reporting the truth directly from the ground, with sound and picture, proof and evidence.” It “comes to teach… to inform… and to incite…”
- Fighting between Islamist militants and government forces in Hodan district in Mogadishu killed 26 people and wounded over 60 others on Tuesday. Hizb al Islam and al Shabaab rebels attacked government positions, and Hizb al Islam spokesman Sheikh Mohamed Osman Arus claimed victory in the day’s fighting.
- Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom, an Islamist leader in Puntland, vowed to wage jihad against Puntland’s administration following a deadly battle between his al Shabaab-linked group and local security forces.
- Ahmed Mohamed Silyano was sworn in as the new president of Somaliland Tuesday, completing a peaceful transition of power from the previous administration of Dahir Riyale Kahin.
- Ugandan security authorities arrested 22 additional suspects in connection with the Kampala bombings, most of whom were Somalis. The men were arrested in Soroti, Uganda and then brought to Kampala for questioning.
- The European Union will contribute 35 million Euros of aid to humanitarian projects in Somalia.