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: Five al Qaeda-linked militants escape from Yemeni prison in al Hudaydah; Yemeni government calls for the release of those arrested without criminal charges; two British Muslims killed after fighting against the al Houthis in Sa’ada governorate
Horn of Africa: KDF, TFG clash with al Shabaab in Lower Jubba; TFG President Sheikh Ahmed calls on attendees of global anti-piracy conference to provide aid and arms to Somali naval forces; al Shabaab claims ambush in Kenyan territory, 20 km south of Somali border; five Pakistanis arrested in Uganda for alleged links to al Shabaab; al Shabaab issues three communiqués detailing attacks and community outreach projects; current AMISOM spokesperson will reportedly be replaced by Col. Mohamed Adam Hamud
Yemen Security Brief
- At least five al Qaeda members escaped a Yemeni prison in al Hudaydah. Additionally, Omani Foreign Minister Badr bin Hamad al Busaidi said that al Qaeda militants had infiltrated Omani territory. Yemeni security forces have begun to search for the five escapees. Pictures of the men were distributed and authorities urged people to come forward with information to the security services.
- The Yemeni government renewed its call to release all detainees arrested without charges on June 26. The council of ministers ordered the interior, justice, and human rights ministers to make visits to prisons and oversee the immediate release of those held without criminal charges.
- Two British Muslims were reportedly killed in fighting against the al Houthis near Damaj town in Sa’ada governorate. Director General of MI5, Jonathan Evans, warned, “Yemen has become a destination for a small number of British ‘would be jihadis’ seeking to use the Arab Spring for training and militant activity.”
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A Somali military official reported that clashes between Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), backed by Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers, and al Shabaab militants killed at least five militants and three soldiers in Badhadhe in Lower Jubba region on June 26. Seven other al Shabaab fighters were wounded in the attack. The fighting began when al Shabaab militants attacked KDF and TFG bases with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and machine guns.
- TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed called on attendees of the global anti-piracy conference in Dubai to provide financial aid, organize, and better arm Somali naval forces on June 27. Ahmed said, “These pirates do not live at sea, they live in Somalia. Who better to battle them than the people of the land.” He also stated that between 5,000 and 6,000 men were ready to combat piracy on and off Somalia’s coast and claimed that if given funds Somalia could help eliminate piracy in a year.
- Al Shabaab issued a press release claiming an ambush in Haluqa, 20 kilometers inside Kenya, on a Kenyan convoy travelling from Kenya to Kolbio, a Somali border town, on June 26. In the statement, al Shabaab claims that seven Kenyan soldiers were killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated under their vehicle. Al Shabaab adds that 16 soldiers were killed by RPG and machine-gun fire. In addition, al Shabaab pledges future attacks to repel the Kenyan offensive in Lower Jubba region.
- Ugandan officials said that they have detained five Pakistanis with alleged links to al Shabaab on June 24. The Pakistanis were arrested near the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border in an area which formerly served as an Islamist rebel group’s base.
- Al Shabaab’s media arm, al Kata’ib Media Foundation, released three communiqués on jihadist forums on June 25. In the communiqués, al Shabaab reports on military activities and community outreach projects between June 21 and 23. Most notably, al Shabaab reported several attacks against Somali targets in Lafole district, located between Afgoi and Mogadishu, and an IED attack that injured several Somali officials in Qansax Dhere in Bay region.
- Raxanreeb reported that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will be replacing its current spokesman, Paddy Ankunda, with Col. Mohamed Adam Hamud from the Djiboutian contingent.