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: Local AQAP leader detained for links to the June 18 Aden suicide bombing; U.S. provides $52 million in aid to areas conflict-hit hardest; Yemeni soldiers deployed to Belhaf to protect pipeline
Horn of Africa: TFG and al Shabaab clash en route to Afgoi; al Shabaab militants briefly capture town in Gedo region; IED reportedly detonates in Bay region; al Shabaab militants flee from villages near Marka, 70 km south of Mogadishu; Somaliland-Somalia talks result in eight-point plan; TFG President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to run in August elections; al Shabaab release two communiqués identifying June 16 Afgoi suicide bomber and claiming attacks
Yemen Security Brief
- A local al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) leader, Sami Dayyan, was captured with two other militants in connection with the suicide bombing that killed the commander of the southern military zone Major General Salem Qatan in Aden on June 18. The militants were reportedly driving from Aden to Lahij governorate after locals prohibited Dayyan from renting a house in Aden’s al Mansoura district. A source stated that the men were leaving Aden after plotting and preparing the attack.
- The United States offered an additional $52 million in aid to be directed at “conflict afflicted areas” in south Yemen, bringing the total amount of aid extended to $170 million. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah announced the aid in a statement on June 21.
- The Yemeni government reportedly deployed soldiers to Belhaf in Shabwah governorate to protect the gas pipeline feeding the Yemen LNG export terminal on June 21, according to the Yemeni Minister of Electricity and Energy Saleh Hasan Sumai. Anti-government protesters and militants most recently targeted Yemen’s largest industrial asset in late April. Yemen LNG resumed production in late May.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Eyewitnesses reported that clashes between Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops and al Shabaab militants broke out in Elasha Biyaha, 30 kilometers south of Mogadishu. The clashes began after al Shabaab militants ambushed TFG military vehicles en route to Afgoi. Somali military sources confirmed that the police chief in the Elasha Biyaha area, Afrah Ali Afrah, was killed in the attack.
- Al Shabaab militants allegedly briefly seized Beled Hawo in Gedo region after clashing with TFG forces, backed by and Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a fighters on June 20. Three TFG soldiers were reportedly killed in the fighting.
- Somali officials and witnesses reported that a remote-controlled improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in Qansax Dhere in Bay region, targeting a convoy of TFG soldiers. TFG commissioner of Qansax Dhere district Aden Abdikalil Qoqani, however, reported that Somali security forces successfully defused the IED.
- Reports emerged from Lower Shabelle region indicating that al Shabaab militants fled their bases in KM-50, KM-60, and Shalambood villages on June 21. Residents added that al Shabaab militants were preparing to flee Marka, a coastal town roughly 70 kilometers south of Mogadishu.
- The two-day Somaliland-Somalia talks held near London culminated in agreement to an eight-point plan. The agreement guarantees future talks between Somaliland and Somalia, joint efforts to fight terrorism and piracy, and providing humanitarian assistance to Somalis. The plan also calls on the international community to continue to facilitate dialogue and provide expert help in legal, economic, and security issues.
- TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed announced that he will run for another term in the presidential elections slated for August 2012. Sharif made his announcement on the sidelines of meetings with international representatives in Nairobi, Kenya on June 21.
- Al Shabaab released two communiqués through its media wing, al Kata’ib Media Foundation on jihadist forums on June 21. The first communiqué reports that the June 16 suicide bomber on a TFG intelligence camp in Afgoi, identified as Omar Noor, was featured on al Shabaab’s Radio al Andalus before the operation and threatened future al Shabaab suicide attacks. In the second communiqué, al Shabaab reports on attacks and activities on June 16, including two separate ambushes on TFG troops in Gedo region and near Afgoi, and an attack TFG soldiers in Bay region.