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: AQAP member captured during an attack in Shabwah on June 14; New Yorker pleads guilty to providing material and monetary support to AQAP; U.S. reiterates its support for Yemen in combating al Qaeda-linked militants following Qatan’s death; Yemeni cleric featured in video lecture on the obligation of jihad in Yemen
Horn of Africa: TFG, Ahlu Sunna fighters clash with al Shabaab in Gedo region; TFG soldiers exchange gunfire with armed gangs in Mogadishu; British government to mediate talks between Somaliland and Somalia in London on June 20; al Shabaab reports on recapturing two cities in Galgudud region and attacks against TFG and AMISOM forces on Afgoi’s outskirts
Yemen Security Brief
- The Yemeni military captured a Tunisian member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Nizar Juma’a, also known as Abu Jaber, during an attack on a military checkpoint in Belhaf in Shabwah governorate on June 14 when over 300 militants fled from Abyan to Shabwah. The army currently holds Juma’a in Shabwah. Juma’a told Yemeni troops that he came to Yemen to fight Americans, yet found none.
- New York citizen, Wesam el Hanafi, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to providing material and monetary support to al Qaeda on June 18. In 2010, Hanafi purchased several Casio watches and shipped them overseas to AQAP members in Yemen. The alarms in these watches were viable bomb triggers. Two years prior, he visited Yemen. Due to a blood clot in his leg, Hanafi does not yet have a court date for sentencing.
- After a suicide bomb attack that killed Yemen’s southern military zone commander Salem Ali al Qatan in Aden on June 18, the U.S reiterated its offerings of continued support for the Yemeni government in combating al Qaeda-linked militants. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland condemned the terrorist attack and offered condolences.
- Yemeni cleric Awad Muhammad Ba Nijar spoke on the responsibilities of jihad in Yemen in a video posted on jihadist forums on June 18 by Fursan al Balagh Media. In the video, Nijar discusses the clarity of the American invasion of Yemen and incites Muslims to make them leave. Nijar also addresses Yemeni youths on the obligatory nature of jihad in Yemen.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers, backed by Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a fighters, reportedly clashed with al Shabaab militants in Tulo Barwako village in Gedo region on June 18. The clashes began after TFG and Ahlu Sunna soldiers attacked an al Shabaab convoy. Ahlu Sunna spokesman Sheikh Mohammed Hussein al Qadi stated that two militants were killed and many others were injured in the attack.
- Police chief in Mogadishu’s Hodan district Lt. Col. Hassan Mohamed Abukar said that clashes erupted after gunmen, dressed in army uniforms, illegally collected money at a checkpoint. Somali security forces detained the gunmen and handed them over to the TFG, Abukar added.
- The British government announced that it would mediate talks on June 20 in London between Somaliland and Somalia as part of an arrangement first discussed at London’s Somalia conference held on February 23. The Somaliland delegation, headed by Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, will reportedly push for increased autonomy and diplomatic recognition. Officials from Mogadishu, on the other hand, have indicated that they will aim for reunification between the two regions.
- Al Kata’ib Media Foundation, al Shabaab’s media arm, released three communiqués on jihadist forums on June 15 detailing attacks and activities from June 10 through 12. In the communiqués, al Shabaab claims it recaptured Elbur and Wabho in Galgudud region and attacked Ethiopian troops as they withdrew on June 10 and 12 respectively. Al Shabaab also reported on attacks against African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces and TFG forces on the outskirts of Afgoi while TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was visiting “to make him hear the sound of their bullets so that he and his soldiers wouldn’t feel a moment of peace.”