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: US says al Qaeda targeting ships off Yemeni coast; Saleh denies American military presence in Yemen; Somaliland president meets Yemeni delegation; two protesters die in southern Yemen; President Saleh says he will not run for a third term
Horn of Africa: Somali President rejects American military intervention; TFG planning to take full control of Mogadishu; al Shabaab deports journalist from home town; Kenyan security forces capture 11 suspected Somali pirates; Senior al Shabaab commander assassinated; Hizb al Islam militant guns down civilian woman; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a imposes curfew in Abdud Waq
Yemen Security Brief
- The U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence is warning maritime vessels off the coast of Yemen that they are at high risk of attack from al Qaeda. The agency says attacks could be similar to the attack on the USS Cole, where a small boat laden with explosives rammed into the side of the larger ship. However, reports also indicate that al Qaeda could launch a more sophisticated attack with missiles or projectiles.
- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh denied the presence of American military forces inside the country. He also denied any bilateral security agreement between the two countries.
- The president of Somaliland, Dahir Rayane Kahlin, met with a Yemeni delegation in Hargeisa on Saturday. The two sides discussed areas cooperation and further bilateral relations, and agreed to set up a Yemeni trade office in the region at the end of the delegation’s trip.
- Two protesters that had been wounded in clashes with police in Dhale last Thursday, died on Saturday from their injuries. The protesters were participating in a rally for “Detainee Day” when they were fired upon by the police. In a separate incident, 50 prisoners in Mukalla in Hadramawt have gone on a hunger strike to protest their detainment for three years without a trial.
- President Ali Abdullah Saleh stated he will not be running for a third term in office due to the provisions set out in the Yemeni constitution.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed stated he does not support direct American military intervention in Somalia; however, President Ahmed welcomes AU peacekeeping forces. He further stated he wants the U.S. to provide assistance for rebuilding their forces and weapons, but not direct military action.
- TFG Minister for Internal Affairs Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar stated the Somali government is fully prepared to take complete control of Mogadishu. Minister Omar urged Somali citizens to support the “legitimate government of Somalia.”
- Mohamed Salad Abdulle, a journalist from Kismayo, was deported from his home town by al Shabaab because he reported news against the interests of the Islamist militant group. Al Shabaab also banned Abdulle from reporting in the lower and middle Jubba regions in southern Somalia.
- The Kenyan Navy and police reportedly arrested 11 suspected Somali pirates near Kiguna, an area south of the Somali-Kenyan border. Kenyan Security Forces claim the Somalis were captured in Kenyan waters, despite the marine boundary disparity between the two countries.
- Senior al Shabaab commander Sheikh Daud Ali Hasan was shot several times in the head and chest by three unidentified gunmen as he was leaving a mosque in Kismayo, a town controlled by the Islamist group in the southern region of Somalia. Al Shabaab stated they have arrested several suspects and will try them in court; however, the group did not identify the detained suspects. Hizb al Islam along with other rival Islamist groups in the region have neither confirmed nor denied the killing.
- A militant from Hizb al Islam killed a civilian woman in the town of Afgoye after the public bus she was riding on allegedly ran over a checkpoint operated by the group. It has yet to be confirmed why the Islamist militant opened fire on the woman.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a has imposed a curfew in the town of Abdud Waq in the central Somali region of Galgudud. Security Force Commander Sheikh Mahad Khali stated the curfew will be from 9 pm to 6 am.