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: Al Houthi rebels free 200 captured soldiers; Awlaki’s father exploring lawsuit against U.S. government; President Saleh makes proposal for resolving fighting in Amran province; Yemen, Djibouti discuss security cooperation
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab spokesman warns African countries against sending troops to Somalia; al Shabaab denies link to Islamist militants in Puntland; Beledweyne residents flee amidst fear of clashes; AMISOM spokesman says six Mogadishu sites captured in July; Somaliland president names new cabinet; pirates release Maltese-flagged ship and crew
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Houthi rebels freed 200 soldiers Wednesday who had been captured two days earlier during fighting in the al Amishiya region of Amran province, according to reports. However, the defense ministry denied that the rebels had captured soldiers from the Republican Guards, as was widely reported earlier in the week.
- Dr. Nasser al Awlaki, the father of radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al Awlaki, has reportedly been in contact with lawyers in the United States to discuss a possible lawsuit against the U.S. government, alleging that its placement of his son—a U.S. citizen—on a terrorist “capture or kill” list is illegal. Awlaki’s potential lawsuit has been speculated as one of the reasons the United States and United Nations formally designated Anwar al Awlaki an al Qaeda leader in recent days, a move that would appear to grant more legal cover for including Awlaki in targeting lists.
- President Saleh proposed this week a list of ceasefire conditions designed to resolve the fighting between al Houthi rebels and pro-government tribes in the Harf Sufyan district of Amran province, according to reports. Saleh is said to have proposed the following in a letter to local officials: eliminating positions, reopening roads, ordering troops to return to their camps, handing over all seized properties, and committing al Houthis to not to attack the homes and properties of pro-government tribes. The terms also included a call for resuming dialogue and implementing the rest terms of the February ceasefire agreement. President Saleh held the al Houthi rebels responsible for the current situation.
- Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Mujawar met in Sana’a Wednesday with Djibouti Interior Minister Yasin Almi Boh. The two sides discussed bilateral security cooperation and focused on enhancing joint efforts to combat piracy and illicit activities in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Mohamed Ali Rage, also known as Ali Dheere, warned African countries against sending troops to Somalia, saying that they would be “annihilated.” He added, “We are telling the African populations not to get duped by the mirage peddled by your leaders. Let your sons not be annihilated in Mogadishu. Those who are pushing your leaders such as the U.S. and Europe and the like are in agony in areas they invaded. All the [sic] want is for you to share with their people the loss, mourning and cries.”
- Puntland warlord, Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom, said: “Shabab are our brothers. We are members of the Shabab, and the Shabab are members of us. We have good contacts. We are united in our objectives.” Atom pledged allegiance to al Shabaab and said he would fight the Puntland government until it imposed strict Islamic law. Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage denied relations with Atom: “So if seen people opposing intimidations and something against Shari law, does not mean they are al Shabab.”
- Many residents of the strategic town of Beledweyne in Hiraan region have fled their homes amidst growing tensions between al Shabaab militants in the town and pro-government forces outside it. Government soldier have begun military movements outside of the town and reports say that Ethiopian troops from the ethnically Somali Ethiopian town of Ferfer have reached the Kala-beyrka intersection.
- An AMISOM spokesman reported that AMISOM and TFG forces captured six strategic locations in Mogadishu from al Shabaab in July and secured several others with previously tenuous control. These include the State House and Parliament and the Urubah and Juba hotels.
- Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo named his new 26-member cabinet.
- Somali pirates released a Maltese-flagged cargo ship, the MV FRIGIA, and its Turkish crew held since March 23.