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: Yemeni security forces kill at least eight al Qaeda-linked militants in Abyan; Taiz clashes killed at least 17 people; Yemeni forces kill two opposition tribesmen in shelling in Arhab; al Qaeda-linked militants publicly lash five youths accused of taking drugs in Jaar; three kidnapped French aid workers freed
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases video describing battle of Daynile district; AMISOM troops face $10 million budget deficit; TFG soldiers fire at displaced persons in Mogadishu; several blasts heard in Afgoi; thirty al Shabaab militants seek amnesty in Kenya; Kenyan and Somali troops attack al Shabaab camp; al Shabaab attacks TFG positions in Heliwa district; al Shabaab ambushes Kenyan convoy near Qoqani; Kenya PM asks Israel for training
Yemen Security Brief
- Clashes between Yemeni army troops allied with tribesmen and al Qaeda-linked militants killed at least three militants, two of them Somali, in al Tariyya village, northeast of Zinjibar. Separately, army shelling killed five al Qaeda-linked militants in al Kod near Zinjibar. One of the militants killed was Saudi Nayef al Qahtani, allegedly a senior member of Ansar al Sharia (Supporters of Islamic Law).
- Fighting between Republican Guard troops and opposition tribesmen killed at least 17 people and injured at least 30 others in Taiz on November 11. The Yemeni Defense Ministry reported that armed opposition tribesmen killed two soldiers and injured seven others. Residents reported widespread shelling across the city while the most intense shelling took place in the al Rawda and Zeid al Mushky neighborhoods. Witnesses also reported that loyalist forces later shelled al Rawda Hospital. Blasts also reportedly took place in Freedom Square, preventing protesters from conducting Friday prayers. Residents reported that the clashes erupted after gunmen killed a loyalist soldier who was stationed at government building on November 10. A pro-Saleh tribal leader was killed and one of his bodyguards was wounded following the attack.
- Yemeni forces shelled a position held by opposition tribesmen killing two tribesmen in Arhab district, north of Sana’a. Tribal sources reported that the shelling injured several civilians.
- Al Qaeda-linked militants publicly lashed five Yemeni youths in a large field in front of dozens of witnesses on November 11. The youths, who each received 80 lashes, were accused of taking “narcotic pills.”
- The three French aid workers who were kidnapped by al Qaeda-linked militants in Hadramawt governorate on May 28 have been freed. The senior Yemeni mediator said that Oman and Yemeni tribesmen negotiated the aid workers’ release and added that they were transported from Shabwah governorate to Oman late Sunday night. A Yemeni mediator said that a ransom had been paid for the aid workers; however, French authorities maintain that the French government does not pay ransoms and Omani authorities did not comment publicly on their role in the workers’ release. French President Nicolas Sarkozy released a statement confirming the workers’ release and in which he "warmly thanks the sultan of Oman and the Oman authorities for their decisive help, as well as all those who contributed to this happy outcome."
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab’s media arm, al Kata’ib, released an English-language video describing the October 20 fight in Daynile district in Mogadishu between al Shabaab militants and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops. In the video, the presenter tours the area, speaking with residents about what negative affects AMISOM and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) have had on their lives. An al Shabaab commander, identified as Abu Ukasha, described the battle field, which, according to the commander, was a site of a previous battle with Ethiopian forces. There is also an excerpt from a speech by al Shabaab leader Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubair.
- Burundi and Uganda reported that the UN-administered fund dedicated to financing AMISOM’s operations has been empty since March. AMISOM spokesman Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda reported that the countries are owed $10 million in back payments. Additionally, reinforcements and supplies have been delayed to the funding gap.
- Internally displaced people seeking food aid at a distribution point in northern Mogadishu became “unruly.” The TFG soldiers guarding the food fired into the air and attempted to restore order, but were overwhelmed. The soldiers fired into the crowd, killing one person and wounding five others. Amino Mohamed, a local resident, said that following the shooting, the crowd quickly dispersed but returned later to get food.
- Several large explosions were heard in the town of Afgoi, just north of Mogadishu. A resident of the town, Ali Sheik Muhudin, said that the blasts occurred near a militant base. Kenyan military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir reported that the explosions happened during an al Shabaab meeting, but denied any involvement by the Kenyan military.
- Thirty members of al Shabaab living in Kenya turned themselves over to police during a police program offering amnesty. Kenyan police say that they are cooperating and are giving information about al Shabaab activities in Kenya. Kenyan police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said that the group was a mix of Kenyan citizens and Somali refugees.
- Kenyan Military Spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said that TFG and Kenyan troops discovered an al Shabaab camp during a night patrol on November 12. Chirchir said that the patrol attacked the camp, killing nine militants. Four Kenyan soldiers were injured, one seriously. Kenyan troops also conducted a raid in Elwaq, arresting four people for “possession of illegal weapons.”
- Al Shabaab militants attacked TFG forces in Heliwa district in Mogadishu. SONNA reports that many militants were killed and AMISOM and TFG forces advanced on al Shabaab positions.
- Al Shabaab militants ambushed a Kenyan convoy near Qoqani in Lower Jubba region. Neither side reported any casualties, but locals reported that two people were killed and ten others wounded.
- The Kenyan government released a statement saying that Prime Minister Raila Odinga asked Israeli President Shimon Peres for assistance in training Kenyan police to counter the threat posed by al Shabaab militants in Kenya.