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: Kuwait peace talks discuss al Houthi withdrawal and restoration of security in Sana’a; former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh criticizes Saudi-led coalition in Ramadan message; Yemeni prime minister meets with cabinet and governors to discuss unlawful deportations and moving financial center from Sana’a; Yemeni foreign minister says child soldier release will proceed despite al Houthi inaction; al Houthi and popular resistance fighters clash in Lahij
Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants attack Somali army outpost in Adale, Middle Shabelle region; Kenyan security forces intensify security operations in Mandera and Garissa County, Kenya; Ugandan military investigates reports of AMISOM soldiers selling military equipment to Somali civilians in Mogadishu; Ethiopian AMISOM troops meet with elders from Gal’ad village, Galgudud region seeking cooperation in anti-al Shabaab campaign
Yemen Security Brief
- The Yemeni government delegation and the al Houthi- General People’s Congress (GPC) party delegation met with UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on June 7 to discuss the resumption of governance and restoration of security following the necessary withdrawal of al Houthi-Saleh fighters from the capital Sana’a. The delegations also opened discussion of the role of constitutional institutions like the Yemeni House of Representatives and the Shura Council, which will be continued in forthcoming sessions.
- Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh criticized the Saudi-led coalition’s actions in Yemen. Saleh described Saudi actions as an effort to kill Yemeni brothers and sisters and destroy their Yemeni homeland in his June 5 Ramadan message. He claimed the Saudi intervention in Yemen was waged in alliance with a number of collaborating Islamic and foreign countries, noting they lacked any legal justification or moral reason for the intervention.
- Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghir met with cabinet members and the governors of Aden, Lahij and Abyan governorates on June 8 to discuss the troubling trend of southern police forces deporting residents of northern origin. The group also discussed the possibility of diverting the flow of government funds from Sana’a to prevent the al Houthi-Saleh government from using it for its war effort. The World Bank has denied requests for emergency funding to support foreign reserves because the internationally recognized Yemeni government cannot prove that al Houthi-Saleh forces would not steal it. Moving the financial center away from Sana’a in the interim would improve the credibility of Yemeni assurances that the Yemeni Central Bank is neutral.
- Yemeni Foreign Minister Mikhlafi said on June 8 that the government would proceed with the release of child soldiers despite the al Houthis’ failure thus far to fulfill their side of the agreement. He also lauded the United Nations’ decision to take Saudi Arabia off the blacklist for human rights violations, saying that it reflects the UN’s keenness to present correct information. Likewise, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir praised the UN’s reversal of its decision, adding that he hoped future UN investigations be more accurate before their publication. Jubeir stressed the Saudi-led coalition’s role in preserving the Hadi-led government’s legitimacy and fighting terror groups, including al Qaeda.
- Al Houthi-Saleh fighters and popular resistance fighters clashed in al Huwaymi in northern Lahij governorate on June 8. The al Houthis were attempting to gain control of the al Anad military base, the largest airbase in Yemen, but were pushed back by resistance fighters. Al Houthis also led attacks against resistance positions in the Shifan region of Lahij governorate.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Suspected al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) outpost with gunfire in Adale, Middle Shabelle region on June 8. The SNA claimed it repelled the militants. Al Shabaab has carried out attacks on the SNA near Adale in the past few months.
- Kenyan security forces intensified security operations in Mandera and Garissa County, Kenya, targeting al Shabaab militants along the Somali-Kenyan border. The security forces have been patrolling the counties in heavily armed vehicles and conducting searches for militants in suspected areas. These operations follow an al Shabaab attack on two Kenyan police vehicles in Mandera, Mandera County and an attack on a Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) convoy in Liboi, Garissa County on June 3.
- The Ugandan military said on June 6 that it began investigating the reports of five Ugandan African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) soldiers selling military equipment to ten Somali civilians on June 5. The Ugandan military said the soldiers will face legal punishment if found guilty. SNA and AMISOM troops arrested the soldiers during a security operation in Mogadishu for selling equipment which included petrol, sandbags and detonators. Somalia’s Interior Minister said such illegal sales may be contributing to increased insecurity in Somalia.
- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud disagreed on the process for closing the Dadaab refugee camp in Garissa County, Kenya during a meeting at Kenyatta’s State House in Nairobi, Kenya on June 7. Mohamud asked for a refugee repatriation plan and discussed security and trade issues between the two countries, including aviation regulations. The leaders are scheduled to meet on June 8 for a second round of talks. Kenya announced on May 31 that it will close the camp by November 2016, expediting the closing process from May 2017.
- Ethiopian AMISOM troops met with elders from Gal’ad village, Galgudud region on June 8 asking for cooperation with an anti-al Shabaab operation to increase civilian security in the region. SNA special operations forces conducted a raid on an al Shabaab training camp in El Timir village near Gal’ad on May 11 and SNA and AMISOM troops recaptured villages in Galgudud from al Shabaab militants on May 4.