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: AQAP militants allegedly kill six soldiers in al Bayda governorate; protests continue in Sana’a, Ibb, and Taiz; unidentified gunmen kill two soldiers in Shabwah governorate, one soldier in Abyan; GCC secretary-general in Sana’a for talks
Horn of Africa: Explosion kills five pro-government soldiers in Mogadishu; al Shabaab threatens attacks; fighting between al Shabaab and TFG troops injure 37 people in Mogadishu; Ugandan police arrest four Somalis on charges of terrorism; al Shabaab militants arrest five in connection with roadside robberies; al Shabaab militants began shelling capital of Gedo region; TFG commander accuses al Shabaab of trying to eliminate the Somali people; two businessmen assassinated in Boosaaso, Puntland; Djibouti to send two battalions to support AMISOM
Yemen Security Brief
- Local Yemeni officials reported that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants killed six soldiers and injured seven others in an attack on a checkpoint in Rada'a, a city in al Bayda governorate. Security officials reported that more than twenty militants in two cars attacked Lamsan security checkpoint with small arms before detonating "several bombs" and fleeing the scene.
- Widespread protests continue throughout Yemen. In Sana'a, the government deployed armored vehicles, soldiers, and military academy cadets to contain a four-mile-long demonstration on May 13 along one of Sana'a's main thoroughfares. Security forces fired on demonstrators in Ibb, killing three protestors were killed and wounding at least 15 others. Demonstrators responded by setting an armored personnel carrier alight. In Taiz, security forces opened fire on demonstrators, wounding at least three protestors. On May 14, at least one protestor was killed in Taiz and over 35 others were wounded when plainclothes security forces fired on demonstrators from rooftops. On May 15, protestors in Taiz seized a government building, a police headquarters, and an office building used by the General People's Congress (GPC).
- In Shabwah governorate, two soldiers were killed in an ambush by unidentified gunmen on May 13. On May 15, at least one soldier was killed and another soldier wounded in Abyan when unidentified gunmen attacked them in a market.
- Abdul Latif al Zayani, the secretary-general of the GCC, negotiated separately with the GPC and Yemen's opposition bloc, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP). Mohammed Qahtan, a JMP spokesman, described the transition plan as "dead" in an interview with Bloomberg. An opposition leader, Sultan al Atwan, accused the GCC of being more concerned with President Ali Abdullah Saleh's interests than the interests of the Yemeni people, saying, "This mediation does not concern us anymore. Its proponents are concerned about President Saleh and not the Yemeni...Our Gulf brothers are only concerned with satisfying Saleh, who is trying to buy time in an attempt to save his regime."
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- An explosion at a recently captured al Shabaab base killed at least five pro-government troops in Mogadishu. Major Paddy Ankunda, a spokesman for AMISOM, said that TFG troops and AMISOM soldiers had captured the base, a former Sufi shrine, in a recent offensive. Ankunda added that the objective of the recent offensive is to secure Bakara, Mogadishu's main market, and to secure major roads for public use.
- AMISOM reported that Abdufita Mohamed, al Shabaab’s commander in Mogadishu’s Bakara neighborhood, was killed on May 13 along with his intelligence officer Abdiwahab Sheikh Dole and two Pakistani militants, Hussein Abassi and Abdullahi Yalb. Sixty percent of the capital is now reported to be under full control of TFG and AMISOM forces. Burundian peacekeepers also captured “the Russian building” in Mogadishu’s Hodan district.
- Al Shabaab released an English-language statement on May 14 threatening to launch attacks against the Ugandan people in response to the re-election of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni: "By electing Museveni’s National Resistance Movement...the people of Uganda have...become unanimously complicit in the crimes of their soldiers here in Somalia." The statement warned that bloodshed by Ugandan soldiers attached to the AMISOM task-force in Mogadishu "will be accounted for – ounce for ounce...It is you, the people of Uganda, who will pay the heftiest price for your army’s invasion of our country. And now that you have made your choice very clear by re-electing Museveni, it is time for you to bear the burden of your choices."
- At least 37 people were injured after fighting broke out between al Shabaab militants and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops backed by AMISOM forces in Mogadishu. TFG army chief General Abdikarim Yusuf Adam claimed that TFG troops had routed al Shabaab militants; al Shabaab military spokesman Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abu Mus'ab claimed that al Shabaab militants successfully defended their positions against the TFG and AMISOM attack.
- Ugandan police forces arrested four Somali citizens in Pakwach in connection with terrorist activities. The suspects had tried to enter Uganda without travel documents and were arrested at the border.
- Al Shabaab militants arrested five men in connection recent roadside robberies in Wanlaweyn district in Lower Shabelle region and Burhakaba district in the Bay region.
- Al Shabaab militants began shelling Garbaharey, the capital of Gedo region, with mortar rounds.
- TFG commander General Sheikh Mohammed Siad, also known as Indha Adde, accused al Shabaab of perpetuating conflict in Somalia in order to destroy the Somali people. Siad added that TFG troops and AMISOM soldiers had made headway into pushing al Shabaab out of Somalia.
- Two businessmen, Shire Abdurrahman and Abdisalan Warsme, were assassinated in Boosaaso, Puntland on May 14. In Galkayo, a man was shot to death by unidentified gunmen. In response, President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole issued a statement condemning the rising assassinations in Puntland and pledged to improve security throughout the state. Puntland security forces have detained at least five suspects in connection with the assassinations.
- Mohamoud Ali Yusuf, Djibouti’s foreign affairs minister, announced that two Djibouti battalions would join the AMISOM mission in Mogadishu. Djibouti will be the third nation to send peacekeeping troops to Somalia.