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 talks about situation in Abyan and the revolution in video; GPC intends to name Yemeni vice president as a presidential candidate; Yemeni opposition meets with U.S. and European ambassadors to Yemen
Horn of Africa: Kenyan forces take Burgabo; al Shabaab threatens revenge for Kenyan strike on refugee camp; al Shabaab orders locals near Baidoa to leave; TFG soldier shoots woman in Mogadishu; protest in Jilib against Kenyan airstrike; more than 25 militants defect to the TFG; AMISOM to be deployed to Galkayo, Puntland; body of young man found near al Shabaab checkpoint
Yemen Security Brief
- A jihadist uploaded the last part of a three-part unreleased al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) video, titled “One Ummah,” to YouTube on October 31. The video features an interview with AQAP military commander Qasim al Raymi, also known as Abu Hurayrah, in which he speaks about AQAP support for Yemeni opposition protesters and fighting in Abyan governorate. Raymi said that AQAP supports opposition protesters in their fight to oust Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh from office; however, he criticized the opposition for going into negotiations with the United States and Saudi Arabia, adding that the opposition “tied its destiny to the approval of the Americans.” He also discussed what he called the “crimes of the 25th Mechanized Brigade,” accusing them of bombing the homes of innocent Muslims. He also touched on the August 15 attack on the al Houthis in al Jawf governorate saying in regards to the al Houthis, that they must be punished for their “aggression against Sunnis.” Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ibrahim al Rubaish, AQAP’s spiritual leader, also appeared in the video.
- Yemeni Deputy Information Minister Abdul Janadi announced in a press conference that the General People’s Congress (GPC) intends to name Yemeni Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi as a presidential candidate, on October 30. Janadi also confirmed that Vice President Hadi will return from the United States, after a scheduled medical trip there, to Sana’a, on Thursday. He also praised the peaceful protests that have taken place over the past two days and added that the Yemeni security forces are the only ones who can ensure the protection of the “youth protesters.”
- Leaders from Yemen’s opposition met with United States Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein and European ambassadors to Yemen on Monday. The ambassadors are trying to pacify the tension between Yemen’s Opposition and Ruling Party. National Yemeni Council spokesman told the media that the meeting was positive and that the Opposition reiterated their agreement to accepting the terms of the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 2014.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Kenyan forces and pro-government militia have taken the small port town of Burgabo in Lower Jubba region. Abdulle Yasin, a town elder, said that the Kenyan and militia troops entered the town from two directions and al Shabaab did not put up a fight. Residents were told to stay calm and report any militant activity.
- Sheikh Abukar Ali Adam, head of al Shabaab in Middle and Lower Jubba regions, threatened retaliation against Kenya in response to the recent airstrike on a refugee camp near the town of Jilib in Lower Jubba region on an al Shabaab radio station.
- Al Shabaab militants evicted locals living near Baidoa airstrip, no reason was given. The order was given by local commander Adan Abuu Safia speaking to a pro-militant radio station. The order comes shortly after an airplane carrying weapons and other supplies landed at the airstrip, allegedly from Eritrea.
- A Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldier shot and killed a woman and wounded at least two others as they were attempting to get food aid. Locals report that the soldier was guarding the food and shot when the crowd threatened to overwhelm him to get at the food. Those shot at did not have an ID that is generally given out prior to receiving food aid from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
- Demonstrators gathered in Jilib in Lower Jubba region to protest an airstrike that killed at least five people at a refugee camp near the town. The protestors, made up primarily from famine refugees, marched through the town chanting anti-Kenyan slogans.
- The TFG’s National Security Agency displayed more than 25 fighters whom they said had defected from al Shabaab. The defectors came from both Mogadishu and regions under al Shabaab control. One of the defectors claimed to be a member of al Shabaab’s intelligence department and gave details about what that department does. National Security Agency Spokesman Ibrahim Omar said that the rate of defections from al Shabaab has sharply increased recently.
- The government of the semi-autonomous state of Puntland said that African Union (AU) peacekeepers would be deployed to Galkayo. The president of Puntland, Abdirahman Mohammed Farole, said that security in the city was deteriorating and the insecurity is intolerable. He commented that the worsening security had nothing to do with the clans who lived north of the city and instead blamed al Shabaab for conducting attacks there.
- Locals discovered the body of a young man near the town of Sar Kusta on the road linking Mogadishu and Afgoi near an al Shabaab checkpoint. The body bore gunshot wounds to the chest and a small piece of cloth hanging from the neck. No one claimed to have killed him but locals suspect al Shabaab due to the proximity of the body to the checkpoint.