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: Yemeni soldiers killed al Qaeda leader; President Saleh made appearance on Yemen TV; gunfire by Saleh supporters killed 11 civilians
Horn of Africa: Uganda issued nationwide terror alert; Kenyan police arrest al Shabaab-linked teenager; al Shabaab leader in U.S. custody had links with al Qaeda leader Anwar al Awlaki; Eritrea denied links with al Shabaab
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni military forces killed al Qaeda leader Mubarak Firas al Juhmi and other terrorists on July 7 in clashes with militants near Zinjibar city in Abyan governorate, Saba news reported. A military source said al Juhmi was the commander of an armed milita in Serwah district of Ma’rib governorate and had ambushed and killed troops in the past. Soldiers identified three other dead militants as Shaif al Jarbou’a al Hejazi, Musa’b bin Mabkhout Aboud al Sharif, and Saeed bin Ahmed bin Ghulaib.
- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh appeared on Yemen TV on July 7 and said he was open to dialogue with opposition groups. Saleh said, “We are with the participation of all political forces, whether from the opposition or from the regime, but in the light of a plan that would be agreed upon by all Yemenis…We welcome participation within the constitution and law and based on democracy…The Yemeni people will stand defiant against all challenges that target their security, stability, freedom and democracy…We will face challenge with challenge.” The president appeared to have sustained severe burns to his face and had heavily bandaged arms and hands in his television statement. He claimed to have undergone “more than eight successful operations from the burns sustained in the accident.” He did not indicate whether he will return to power. Opposition leader Sultan al Atwani made a statement in response to Saleh’s speech, “It's clear that his state is not great. As for his speech, it wasn't anything new and the participation of which he spoke will not come until a national dialogue after a transfer of power.”
- Gunfire by government supporters following Saleh’s television appearance killed at least 11 people and injured another hundred. Most of the gunfire was in celebration of the president’s address, but hospital officials said they’re unsure if all the deaths were accidental. A medical source also reported that pro-Saleh gunmen attacked protestors in the city of Ibb, south of Sana’a, killing two and wounding ten.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Ugandan police issued a terror alert on July 7, warning that al Shabaab may be planning anniversary bombings in Uganda and Kenya to coincide with twin bomb attacks on July 11, 2010 during the World Cup finals. Authorities had received intelligence that al Shabaab intends to carry out the attack either before or immediately after July 11. The police said they “would conduct impromptu security checks in public places to ensure that appropriate security measure have been put in place.”
- Kenyan police arrested a student who received six months of training with al Shabaab in Bur Hakaba, Somalia. 17-year-old Adan Bashir dropped out of Nasib Primary School to join al Shabaab, and was apprehended at the Holugho town border in Garissa county, Kenya. He claimed to have escaped al Shabaab’s training camp due to “harsh training, starvation and unrewarding promises that include financial rewards.” Many other teenagers have dropped have dropped out of school in Kenya to join al Shabaab.
- U.S. officials said on July 7 that Somali terrorist suspect Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame had direct links with Anwar al Awlaki, a leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Warsame was described as “a key interlocutor” between AQAP and Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamist insurgency.
- Eritrean Ambassador to Kenya Beyene Russom denied allegations by the Intergovernmental Authorit on Development (IGAD) that Eritrea has links with al Shabaab. Russom said, “We do not have the capacity. It is not our agenda to destabilise the region. They (IGAD) have to substantiate the accusations. This is part of a ploy by Ethiopia to push Eritrea to forget about the border issue.”