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: Yemen’s military offensive on Shaqra continues; thousands of pro-revolution Yemenis take to the streets in Sana’a; AQAP shari’a official addresses Yemeni soldiers on war in Yemen; jihadist distributes alleged Ansar al Sharia statement threatening war throughout Yemen; Yemen seeks gasoil for delivery in July and August
Horn of Africa: Roadside bomb targets Ethiopian convoy in Beledweyne; Eritrean national pleads guilty to providing funding to al Shabaab and training to make bombs; unidentified gunmen kill commissioner of Somali government in Mogadishu; local traders in Wajid district pay al Shabaab $8,000 in fear of losing their businesses
Yemen Security Brief
- Local residents in Shaqra, a coastal town in Abyan governorate, said that Ansar al Sharia militants fled the area toward Azzan in Shabwah governorate after setting fire to two tanks and other military equipment. Yemeni troops backed by armed tribesmen were reportedly only a few kilometers outside Shaqra. The Yemeni Army, supported by warplanes, launched coordinated attacks on Ansar al Sharia positions in Shaqra on June 13, Yemeni officials said. Eight militants and three tribesmen were killed in the clashes. Separately, a Yemeni official reported that seven people were killed by mines in Zinjibar late on June 13.
- Thousands of Yemenis reportedly took to the streets in the capital Sana’a on June 14. Protesters gathered on Taiz Street and marched past the presidential zone, chanting pro-revolution slogans.
- Al Malahem Foundation, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) media wing, released an audio speech featuring AQAP’s shari’a official Abu Zubeir Adil al Abab on jihadist forums on June 13. In the speech titled, “A Message to the Soldiers,” Abab explains Yemeni soldiers’ roles in war and why militants target them. Abab argues that service in the Yemeni Army is impermissible because soldiers are ordered to fight Muslims and people trying to implement shari’a. Abab also touches on Ansar al Sharia’s aspirations and its ultimate goal of liberating Palestine and all the Muslim countries.
- A jihadist distributed a copy of an alleged Ansar al Sharia statement in which the militant group threatens to wage war throughout Yemen following its withdrawal from Jaar and Zinjibar on June 12: “The battle had been far away from your palaces and administration, but you believed the falsehoods of American policy, and their money has made you arrogant. So await O fools that which will do you harm by Allah's power and strength. As for us, this has been a year of preparation for the leaders, experts, and martyrdom-seekers, so await the battle in your palaces. The Americans will not help you any longer.”
- Traders reported that Yemen is seeking to purchase 240,000 tons of high-sulfur gasoil for delivery between July and August 2012. To date, there is no sign that Saudi Arabia will extend any of its gasoil supply to Yemen. Yemen’s main refinery in Aden, which yielded 150,000 barrels per day, was shutdown in October 2011 after a series of attacks on the pipeline.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A roadside bomb targeted Ethiopian troops traveling in a convoy on the outskirts of Beledweyne town. Transitional Federal Government (TFG) official Mohammed Ibrahim said the bomb was detonated by a remote control, adding that no casualties have been reported yet. Ethiopian troops investigated the area to find out who planned the attack, but found no information.
- An Eritrean national living in Sweden, Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed, pleaded guilty in federal court to supporting al Shabaab, providing funds to the group, and receiving military training. He will face 10 years in prison. Ahmed trained in bomb making while in Somalia and contributed more than 3,000 Euros to militants.
- District Commissioner for the TFG in Mogadishu Abdirahman Jowle Jim’ale was killed by an unknown gunman in Mogadishu’s Shibis district as he walked home after an evening prayer on June 13. Former Shibis commissioner for TFG, Yabarow Haruur, confirmed that security forces are looking to arrest those who committed the murder.
- Al Shabaab militants threatened local traders to pay $8,000 in support of jihad in Wajid district, Bakool region. The traders agreed to support the fight against “invading countries” with fears of losing their businesses if they failed to pay.