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: Gunmen briefly seize control of the Yemeni Interior Ministry, Italian embassy guard kidnapped; tribal leader’s son killed by explosives-filled package in Sana’a; Yemeni lawmaker avoids assassination attempt in Ibb; National Dialogue conference to be delayed; Aden refinery receives its first oil shipment from Ma’rib pipeline
Horn of Africa: Ongoing clashes between TFG, backed by AMISOM, and al Shabaab in Gedo region; Kenyan police release a photograph of a suspected terrorist in Uganda; al Shabaab transport prisoners from Jowhar to Adan Yabal; Somali and Ethiopian troops dismantle illegal checkpoint in Hiraan; UN Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group reports of three U.S. operations to help Somalia combat al Shabaab; unknown assailants launch mortars at Galkayo Airport; TFG President Ahmed visits Afgoi; MYC criticizes July 13 UNSEMG report
Yemen Security Brief
- A Yemeni security official said that roughly 100 gunmen loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh briefly stormed and seized control of the Interior Ministry in Sana’a on July 29. The official added that an ex-security official and relative of Saleh sent the gunmen to raid the building, while other reports indicate that the gunmen stormed the office to demand jobs that were promised to them during the Yemeni uprising in 2011. The gunmen blocked off the airport road for several hours. Separately, a Yemeni Interior Ministry official said that gunmen kidnapped an Italian embassy guard in Sana’a on July 29. Italian Foreign Ministry officials confirmed the kidnapping and are working to secure the guard’s release.
- Sheikh Majid al Dhahab, the leader of al Qayfa tribe in al Bayda governorate, stated that his 12-year-old son was killed when a package filled with explosives detonated in his house in Sana’a on July 28. Dhahab’s son received the package from an unknown man claiming it was a gift for his father. Dhahab said that he received a message reading, “Those who stand against al-Qaeda will be killed.”
- Yemeni lawmaker Saleh Qaasah avoided an assassination attempt in Ibb city on July 29, according to the Yemeni Defense Ministry. Militants attacked Qasaah’s car with grenades, but Qasaah was not in the vehicle. His driver was critically injured.
- Emirati newspaper al Khaleej reported that Yemen’s National Dialogue, originally slated for November 2012, will be postponed due to unspecified complications and challenges. The Technical Committee, tasked with the preparation process for the National Dialogue, cancelled its first meeting last week, but sources indicated that the group will reconvene when member Abdulkarim al Iryani returns from a trip abroad.
- A Yemeni official from Aden’s refinery said that Yemen delivered its first oil shipment of 15,000 tons from Ma’rib pipeline to Aden on July 28, ending a nine-month halt. The pipelines were previously damaged by attacks staged by tribesmen in 2011.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Clashes between Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers, backed by AMISOM, and al Shabaab killed eight militants and wounded two TFG soldiers near Garbaharey in Gedo region on July 30. A day earlier, TFG forces clashed with al Shabaab in Tulo Barwako village near Garbaharey. Gedo region Governor Mohamed Abdi Kalil announced at least 26 militants were killed. Clashes in the area initially began when al Shabaab launched an attack on Somali troops in Yurkud, between Bay and Gedo region on July 28.
- Kenyan police released a photograph of a suspected terrorist with intentions to hit Ugandan targets. Police spokesman Samson Kuteesa reported to the press that a Somali terrorist identified as Muhamed Libani Hajji had entered Uganda.
- Al Shabaab members reportedly transferred prisoners from Jowhar to Adan Yabal. The militant group revealed that it will not defend Jowhar from Somali and AMISOM forces days after the allied forces took control of Bal’ad town in Middle Shabelle region.
- Joint Somali-Ethiopian forces allegedly gunned down an illegal checkpoint manned by two armed gangs between Kala Beyr and Dira’le areas of Hiraan region on July 29.
- The UN Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group (UNSEMG) reported that the U.S. will implement three covert programs to help Somali fighters in their combat against al Shabaab, violating the country’s embargo with the UN. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported deploying special forces officers to Puntland in order for help Puntland soldiers.
- Somali officials and witnesses reported that Galkayo Airport in Mudug region came under mortar fire on July 29. While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, an executive manager at the airport believes it is over a land dispute between Puntland and Galmudug administrations.
- TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed reportedly paid a surprise visit to Afgoi in Lower Shabelle region alongside army officials and ministers to boost the local population’s morale.
- The Kenya-based Muslim Youth Center (MYC) released a statement on its English-language blog on July 27 dismissing the UNSEMG report from July 13. The MYC disagreed with the UNSEMG's definition of jihad and claimed that the report "attempted to repeat old lies and stories" from 2011. MYC reaffirmed that it is "determined and committed to waging Jihad to liberate our Muslim brothers in Somalia and the rest of East Africa under the banner AQEA."