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: Forty al Qaeda-linked militants killed by government forces; armed tribesmen clashed with security forces in Taiz; Yemeni cleric released statement about political future of Yemen; Saudi foreign minister said President Saleh is in “generally good health”
Horn of Africa: Somali national indicted on charges of aiding al Shabaab and AQAP; European Union extended training program for Somali government soldiers; Hizb al Islam leader posted article on recent developments in Somalia and rest of Arab world; al Shabaab lifted ban on foreign aid agencies
Yemen Security Brief
- The Yemeni government claimed to have killed at least 40 al Qaeda-linked militants in airstrikes and ground operations in the past two days. SABA news agency said security forces responded to an attack by Islamist militants on a military camp in Abyan governorate. The counterattack left two government soldiers killed and 20 others injured. At least three civilians were killed and seven others wounded on July 5 in a government air strike that targeted the residence of Parliament Speaker Muhammad al Shadadi in Abyan.
- Armed tribesmen clashed with Yemeni military forces in Taiz on July 6. Locals reported that the clashes broke out when military forces attempted to disperse a protest march and armed tribesmen prevented them from doing so. A number of soldiers were injured in the clash and some military equipment was destroyed.
- Sheikh Abdul Majid al Zindani released a statement regarding the political future of Yemen on July 5. Zindani rejected the idea of forming a transitional council. He indicated his preference that power be handed over to Yemeni Vice President Hadi to oversee presidential elections. Zindani also called for, “the establishment of an Islamic state.” Sheikh Zindani, accused of financing terrorism, is among America’s most-wanted global terrorists.
- Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Saud al Faisal said on July 5 that President Ali Abdullah Saleh is in “generally good health” at a hospital in Riyadh.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- 25-year-old Somali national Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was indicted on charges of aiding al Shabaab and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The indictment read, “Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame…has been indicted on charges of providing material support to al Shabaab and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (“AQAP”), two designated foreign terrorist organizations, as well as conspiring to teach and demonstrate the making of explosives, possessing firearms and explosives in furtherance of crimes of violence, and other violence.” Warsame was captured on April 19 in “the Gulf Region” and detained on an American navy vessel for more than two months. The U.S. attorney’s office in New York said Warsame was “questioned for intelligence purposes” while on board the vessel before being transferred to New York.
- The European Union decided on July 5 to extend the training program of Somali government forces in Uganda. Spanish minister for defense Carme Chacon Piqueras said, “The EU and the government of Spain is satisfied with this mission and has decided to extend it for another one year.” The European Union Training Mission (EUTM) has trained 1,000 Somali troops and will train another 1,000 within the next year. Piqueras said that the extension of the training program would also include “logistical and financial assistance” to the Transitional Federal Government.
- Hassan Dahir Aweys, the leader of Hizb al Islam before its merger with al Shabaab, published an article on June 3 titled “Pauses with the Events of the Islamic World.” Aweys’s piece examines recent developments in Somalia and across the Arab world. In a section about Somalia, his article read, “It was shown by the latest events in Somalia, especially the meeting of Kampala between the two Sharifs to oust the government of Farmajo [Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed] and replace it with another that would complete the brutal Western-African occupation project…those who claim responsibility for the Somali government are mere agents and puppets in the hands of their masters, weak and powerless but to follow those who made them…The fig leaf has fallen and the people realized that the president and the president of his parliament and all of heads of brigades and those who are behind the Burundian and Ugandan tanks don’t work for the good of the Muslim Somali people; rather, they work to please their African and Western masters and to fulfill their needs through looting and selling the religion and the country for a cheap price…say to the Somali people who realized the truth and the size of the conspiracy and the plot, to rise to help your strong, proud country and to save it from the claws of the enemies. Rise to support your pure religion and to oust the agents from the positions of humiliation to the honor of Islam and its justice and beneficence.”
- Al Shabaab has lifted a ban on foreign aid agencies due to the worst drought in the region in 60 years. Foreign charities can now liaise with a new committee established by al Shabaab to oversee aid activities. Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage said, "Whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims, [if] their intention is only to assist those suffering, they can contact the committee which will give them access to the drought-hit areas…Anyone with no hidden agenda will be assisted... and those who intend to harm our people will be prevented to do so.” Analysts see the move as an effort by al Shabaab to reduce the number of Somalis leaving regions under its control in search of food.