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: Saudi Arabia arrests 101 al Qaeda terrorists; two southern opposition leaders jailed; al Qaeda escapes to Yemeni mountains; bomb kills four in northern Yemeni refugee camp; British ambassador applauds improved security situation in Hadramawt
Horn of Africa: Somali terror suspect escapes from Kenyan jail; Kenya charges two in Somali prison escape; Somali terror suspect possibly fled to Uganda; fighting reignites in Mogadishu; private security force kills Somali pirate; Yemeni Navy fought off Somali pirates in attempted hijacking; calm reaches parts of central Somalia after Islamist and pro-government forces clash; 1,000 Ugandan soldiers to be deployed to Somalia; prominent clerics’ grave destroyed by al Shabaab; helicopters spotted flying over Marka and Barawe
Yemen Security Brief
- The Saudi Interior Ministry announced that Saudi security forces arrested 101 al Qaeda terrorists since October 2009 when Saudi security forces killed two terrorists in possession of suicide vests in southwestern Saudi Arabia. [CTP independently points out that a third al Qaeda suspect was detained during the same October 2009 incident.] Intelligence from the incident led to the arrests. 47 of the arrested terrorists were Saudi, 51 were Yemeni, one was Somali, one was Bengali, and one was Eritrean. 12 of the arrested were reportedly part of two different suicide bombing cells.
- Two leaders of the Yemeni southern secessionist movement were sentenced to prison terms on Tuesday. Ahmed Bamualem, a former Member of Parliament, was sentenced to 10 years in jail, while retired general Ali Mohammed al Saadi was given 15 months in prison. Both were charged with working against national unity and calling for southern secession.
- Al Qaeda elements who have evaded security forces in Abyan province have reportedly sought refuge in the Radfan and Dhale mountains in Lahij and Dhale governorates, according to a source in Dhale. Recently, two al Qaeda leaders were killed in their hideout in Abyan governorate. [Editor’s note: CTP is skeptical about this report from the Yemen Post. Prior to this report there has been very little indication of an al Qaeda presence in Lahij and Dhale governorates; however, these two governorates are central for the southern secessionist movement. The government of Yemen has continuously attempted to conflate the al Qaeda threat with the secessionist threat, which may have been the motivation for this story.]
- Three students were killed by an explosion in the al Mezraq refugee camp in northern Yemen. A steel and copper merchant was weighing the device containing the explosive when it went off, killing the merchant and the students nearby.
- British Ambassador to Yemen Tim Torlot said Wednesday that he was impressed with the improved security situation in Hadramawt. The ambassador recently returned from a cultural event in the town of Tarim in the governorate, and said that the actual security in the region was much better than what was reported in the media.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Hussein Hashi Farah, a Somali terror suspect with Australian citizenship, escaped from a Kenyan prison yesterday in the border town of Busia. Farah, who is on an international terrorist watch list, was initially arrested at the Kenya-Uganda border by immigration officers. An anonymous Kenyan police officer disclosed Farah was a member of the Somali Islamist rebel group al Shabaab.
- Kenya has charged two businessmen with aiding in the escape of Hussein Hashi Farah, a Somali terror suspect. Kenyan Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino stated the two police officers who were on duty at the time of Farah’s escape are still under investigation.
- Escaped Somali terror suspect Hussein Hashi Farah is believed to have fled to Uganda. Ugandan security personnel have not commented on the issue. Ugandan Police Chief Kale Kayihura stated he did not receive any reports of Farah’s presence in Uganda. Ugandan Army Spokesman Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye stated Farah’s name sounded familiar and needed to cross-check it.
- Fighting in the Hodan district of Mogadishu resumed between TFG-backed AMISOM forces and Islamist rebels, killing 3 civilians and injuring 4. This follows a clash which occurred early Tuesday, killing 3 and injuring 5.
- EU Naval forces found a killed Somali pirate, along with one pirate mothership and two skiffs, in response to the MV Almezaan’s distress call off the Somali coast. This is believed to be the first time a pirate was killed by private security forces, as they repelled a hijacking of the MV Almezaan.
- Yemeni navel forces successfully defended a Yemeni oil tanker from being hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of the Shabwa governorate. Yemeni naval forces pursued the Somali pirates after they fled from the fight.
- Parts of the central Somali region Hiran are reported as being calm after the fighting between the Somali Islamist group Hizb al Islam and pro government forces ceased. Fighting initially erupted between both sides as Hizb al Islam forces conducted search operations against the banditry action in the Kala-beyrka junction.
- At least 1,000 Ugandan soldiers are being deployed to Somalia to replace the current battalion, which has been conducting peace-keeping operations there for over a year.
- Al Shabaab destroyed the graves of the prominent Somali cleric Sheik Mohidin Eli and Sheik Ahmed Haji in northern Mogadishu.
- Helicopters were seen flying low over the towns of Marka and Barawe on Tuesday. It was reported that local residents expressed concern over the helicopter flights. No comments have been made as of yet by al Shabaab, the Islamist group who control the two coastal towns.