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: Amid fighting, government insists ceasefire still in place; AQAP calls for Muslims to join jihad against Yemeni government; exiled Yemeni opposition member assassinated
Horn of Africa: Islamist commander in Puntland backtracks on al Shabaab links; Hizb al Islam spokesman promises more militant action during Ramadan; human rights group says civilian deaths in Somalia up in 2010; AMISOM spokesman claims high kill count in Mogadishu fighting; British Minister for Africa supports increased AMISOM troop deployment; death toll in Kampala blasts up to 85; UN refugee agency urges Saudi Arabia to stop deporting Somalis
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemen’s spokesman in Washington, Mohammed Albasha, said Thursday that the ceasefire between al Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government remains in place, despite fighting in Amran province. Albasha noted that three senior al Houthi representatives have been invited to participate in a national dialogue called for by President Saleh and that the President is willing to form a coalition cabinet with the opposition.
- AQAP field commander Mohammed Said al Umdah made the announcement in an audio recording posted online and blasted the Yemen for its alliance with the United States. Al Umdah called for Muslims to join in jihad against the Yemeni government, saying that it had joined a “Crusader alliance.” He warned the Yemeni government, “You are not facing a group or an organization, but rather, you are facing a massive popular anger by all wronged Muslims.”
- Yemeni opposition member Abdel Raqib al Qershi was shot in the head and killed Wednesday after returning to the country from 32 years in exile. Al Qershi, who was accused of leading a rebellion against the government, was returning as part of an amnesty offer by President Saleh, but was shot while leaving a mosque with his sons.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The Islamist commander battling Puntland security forces backtracked on his claim that his militant group is connected to al Shabaab. Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom said that al Shabaab does not control his group, nor are there any foreign fighters within his ranks.
- Hizb al Islam spokesman Sheikh Mohamed Osman Arus said Wednesday’s attacks on AMISOM positions were only preparation for many attacks to come during the month of Ramadan, which starts August 10.
- A human rights group said 918 civilians have died from fighting in Somalia this year and another 2,555 have been wounded. The Elman rights group said those numbers are up from the same period last year, mostly the result of increased shelling between pro-government forces and al Shabaab militants, as well as increased fighting in central Somalia.
- An AMISOM spokesman claimed Ugandan forces killed up to dozens of Islamist militants in Wednesday’s Mogadishu fighting, but declined to give a kill count.
- The British Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, supported the African Union’s increased troop deployment in Somalia and said his government will work with Puntland and Somaliland to help bring stability to the country at-large.
- Many victims of al Shabaab’s Kampala bombings have succumbed to their injuries in the weeks following the attacks, raising the death toll to 85.
- The UN agency for refugees asked Saudi Arabia to stop deporting Somalis. The UNHCR said that Saudi Arabia recently sent 2,000 Somalis to Mogadishu.