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: Security forces lay siege to al Fadhli’s house; religious schools in Yemen face stricter scrutiny; former President of South Yemen, Ali Salem al Beidh, says unity failed; Turkish president reaffirms support of Yemeni government; aid programs in northern Yemen threatened by lack of funding
Horn of Africa: Death toll in Mogadishu clash rises to 12; pirates hijack empty Saudi tanker; al Shabaab states willingness to fight Kenya; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a calls for monitoring of journalists; UN World Food Program reports capture of trucks and drivers by pirates near coastal town of Eyl
Yemen Security Brief
- Security forces laid siege to separatist leader Tariq al Fadhli’s house for several hours on Tuesday before pulling back. The siege followed an attack by followers of al Fadhli on an armored car in Abyan. The attackers clashed with security forces and fled to al Fadhli’s house.
- Religious schools in Hadramawt are under close watch since the attempted Christmas day bombing by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Locals acknowledge the recent proliferation of Salafist schools; however, officials have tightened up visa procedures over the past couple months to prevent potential terrorists from reaching these schools.
- Ali Salem al Beidh, the former president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, said Wednesday that the unification of the country has failed. Al Beidh accused the current government of provoking southern secessionists into violence by usurping resources. Al Beidh has been in exile since the Yemeni civil war in 1994.
- Turkish Deputy Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, Engin Soysal, met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the past week to convey Turkish President’s Abdullah Gül’s support for Yemen’s sovereignty over its territory.
- Aid programs in northern Yemen could leave if they do not receive an immediate influx of funds. UNHCR needs approximately $16 million to continue its work with the nearly 170,000 displaced persons under its care. Fighting between government forces and al Houthi rebels in the north of the country has caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Yesterday’s fighting between African Union troops and al Shabaab militants killed at least twelve people and wounded forty-nine others. Witnesses report that six al Shabaab fighters were killed by a mortar shell and that two Hizb al Islam militants were executed for spying.
- Somali pirates hijacked the MT Nisir al Saudi, an empty Saudi tanker traveling between Japan and Jeddah. Reportedly, the ship was outside of the shipping lanes that are patrolled by naval warships.
- Sheikh Hassan Yakub, the spokesman of the al Shabaab in the Jubba regions, declared that al Shabaab is willing to go to war with Kenya if necessary. He also accused Kenya of signing an agreement with “western countries” to fight al Shabaab. Sheikh Hassan Rakub reports that Kenya has deployed troops to the Kenyan-Somali border.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a said that all journalists in central Somalia need to register with them within three days as part of the group’s effort to “monitor and censor” the journalists reporting in the region. Abuu Al-Qadi, head of Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a’s information department, stated the group’s effort is merely an attempt to make sure the reports being put out are based on facts.
- The UN World Food Program reports that pirates seized three trucks and their drivers last week and are now holding them hostage in the coastal town of Eyl. The pirates are demanding the release of their colleagues in exchange for the trucks and drivers.