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 clash with Ansar al Sharia militants in Abyan; al Houthi-Salafist clashes kill at least 24 in Sa’ada; UNSC to discuss draft resolution on Yemen; Yemeni Military Committee meets to examine ways to bridge military divisions; USAID says Yemen’s humanitarian crisis is being “overlooked”; AQAP plot to capture Ataq foiled; Madad News Agency releases video on residents’ reactions to airstrikes on Jaar; jihadists discuss AQAP’s offer to provide assistance to lone wolves
Horn of Africa: Senior al Shabaab leaders flee Kismayo; chief of TFG military court warns Somali forces against acts of violence; Ugandan police seize al Shabaab suspect; four TFG soldiers killed in internal clashes; five al Shabaab members pardoned by Ahlu Sunna
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemen’s Defense Ministry announced that overnight clashes between Yemeni soldiers and al Qaeda-linked militants killed a soldier and 23 militants, including a Somali and a Pakistani, in Zinjibar and al Kod in Abyan governorate. One Yemeni soldier was also injured. Military officials added that another ten militants were either injured or killed in clashes with the Yemeni military in Jaar.
- Salafist spokesman in Sa’ada’s Kataf district Abu Ismail said that nine Salafists and 15 al Houthi rebels were killed in overnight clashes. Ismail also remarked that mediation efforts were now underway.
- The five permanent UN Security Council members have reportedly agreed upon text for a proposed United Nations Security Council resolution that threatens non-military sanctions on those who undermine Yemen’s national unity government, according to diplomats. The diplomats added that the draft has been circulated to the ten non-permanent members. The full UN Security Council will reportedly discuss the draft on June 6.
- The Yemeni Military Committee met on June 4 and discussed a comprehensive strategy to restructure the military to eliminate internal divisions that arose from the popular uprising in 2011, according to SABA News Agency. The goal will be to modernize the military and re-station troops to implement integrated security measures in line with Yemen’s defense policy.
- U.S. Agency for International Development’s assistant administrator Nancy Lindborg said that Yemen’s humanitarian crisis is being “overlooked” on June 5. Lindborg stated that the depletion of water resources is of particular concern: “This is something the government must absolutely find the political will to organise. Otherwise they will be going off a cliff soon.” Her comments were made following a joint visit to Yemen with the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Arab League.
- Abdullah al Sumnah, the chief official in Ataq, the capital of Shabwah governorate, said that security forces in coordination with local tribesmen foiled a militant plot to capture the city on June 4. Sumnah stated that the Yemeni military siege on Abyan governorate helped foil the plan.
- Ansar al Sharia’s media wing Madad News Agency released its 13th installment of its video series titled, “Eye on the Event,” on jihadist forums on June 2. The video focuses on suspected U.S. airstrikes that targeted Jaar on unspecified dates. In the video, Madad interviews residents while surveying the damage. One resident states, “The homes of the people of Abyan are destroyed, because they wanted the rule of the Shariah… Here is the Qur’an being humiliated by American rockets, wouldn’t jihad be obligatory…”
- The 9th issue of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) English-language magazine, Inspire, featured in article that offered to provide lone wolves assistance in carrying out attacks in their home countries. The article was reposted in Arabic on jihadist forums on June 3. Many forum-users welcomed the post. One responder alluded to a post he made on May 27, in which he claims that he hacked a Yemeni database with information on Yemeni ambassadors, government officials, newspapers, and non-governmental organizations.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Senior al Shabaab leaders including deputy leader Mukhtar Robow, also known as Abu Mansur, senior commander Ibrahim al Afghani, and Kismayo governor Sheikh Hassan Yaqub Ali reportedly fled Kismayo, pressured by the advance of the Kenyan military. Transitional Federal Government (TFG) security forces reported that other al Shabaab militants fled to Marka and crossed the Gulf of Aden to Yemen.
- Hassan Mohammed Hussein, chief of the TFG’s military court, warned Somali military forces against harming the civilian population in the regions between Mogadishu and Afgoi. Hussein declared that Somali soldiers committing theft against internally displaced people (IDP) will be brought to justice.
- Ugandan authorities apprehended an al Shabaab suspect on June 5 as he attempted to cross into Kenya. There is speculation that the man, who is identified as Hussein, partook in the planning of the Nairobi mall bombing last week where at least one person was killed and 35 others injured.
- Four soldiers were killed and many others injured due to TFG infighting in Afgoi on the night of June 4. Abdullah Ahmed, district commissioner of Afgoi district, said in a press conference that authorities will investigate the matter.
- Five al Shabaab militants were granted amnesty by an Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a court in Dhusamareb in Galgudud region after they surrendered and returned five AK-47 rifles.