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: Al Qaeda publishes second issue of English-language magazine; AQAP’s military commander Qasim al Raymi speaks in audio recording; AQAP claims responsibility for attack on security bus that killed 14; suspected al Qaeda militants gun down Yemeni official; explosions in Aden kill two people and injure 12 more; U.S. Ambassador reaffirms commitment to Yemen; tribesman killed and two security forces injured by fighting in Shabwah governorate; two security personnel injured when their car was attacked by gunmen; soldiers and al Sabbaiha tribesmen clash in Karesh; Interior Minister demands that Abyan security director be dismissed
Horn of Africa: The TFG condemned the arrest of a radio director in Gedo region; former Ghanaian president appointed as new AU representative to Somalia; pirates seize Japanese cargo ship; Puntland government official held hostage by pirates in Jariban, later released; 15 dead, 20 injured after heavy fighting over the weekend in Mogadishu; Somaliland police arrest a man with suspected connections to al Shabaab; al Shabaab warns Somalis against accepting medicine from AMISOM
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) recently published the second issue of its English-language magazine entitled, “Inspire.” Featured are articles by American-born radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki and Samir Khan, who traveled to Yemen from North Carolina and has been credited with the graphic design for the magazine. There is also an interview with Said al Shihri, also known as Abu Sufyan al Azdi, the deputy commander of AQAP.
- AQAP military commander Qasim al Raymi, also known as Abu Hureira al Sana’ani, announced that AQAP has begun to form a new army, Aden-Abyan, which “will be the line of defense for the Ummah and its faith, for the liberation of its holy places, and for cleansing its land from the Crusaders and their apostate agents.” In the audio message posted on AQAP’s website, Raymi warned President Saleh to step down. Raymi also says that AQAP sees itself “like our brothers in the Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement in Somalia, and the Taliban in Afghanistan before they assumed control. We strive to reach that state with Allah’s help and power, without establishing fronts with military frontlines and military positions. We live amongst the people. We say to the majority: if you see us assume control, then rise up. This is all in the framework of jihad.”
- AQAP claimed responsibility for the attack late last month on a political security bus in Sana’a that killed 14 senior officers from the counterterrorism unit and injured others. The officers were targeted after completing a training intelligence course taught by U.S. trainers.
- Ghazi al Samawi, the criminal investigations officer in Abyan governorate, was gunned down in Zinjibar Sunday night. Samawi was on AQAP’s list of 55 Yemeni officials targeted for assassination. Two attackers on a motorbike executed the assassination – one drove while the other opened fire on Samawi, reportedly both were yelling “Allahu Akbar.” AQAP has also claimed to have assassinated Colonel Abdul al Karim al Baan in Lahij governorate, the head of investigations, and al Hashidi, an intelligence officer in Lahij.
- Two timed bombs exploded one after the other in Aden on Monday, killing two people and injuring 12 more. The first bomb exploded outside of a sports club, injuring four people, and the second exploded once the police and the medical team had arrived. Bombs timed at an interval in order to harm the medical and security teams responding to an attack were a trademark of al Qaeda militants in Iraq.
- At a press conference in Yemen on Monday, U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to providing Yemen with financial and technical assistance in its fight against al Qaeda. He said that the U.S. is considering building a naval base in Yemen, but that for the time being the U.S. is hoping to defeat al Qaeda in Yemen by other means.
- A tribesman was killed and two security forces were hospitalized after fighting broke out Monday between security forces and tribesman in the Beer Ali district in Shabwah governorate. Although it has not been confirmed, the fighting has been blamed on al Qaeda.
- Two security personnel were injured when after a group of gunmen ambushed a police car in Lawder in Abyan governorate on Friday. Although he was not sure of the attackers’ identities, a security official said that he doubted that the Southern Movement was involved.
- Army forces and gunmen from al Sabbaiha tribe clashed in the Karesh district of Lahij governorate on Friday, injuring a gunman and a military officer. According to local sources, the al Sabbaiha gunmen had formed a checkpoint and demanded money from drivers to “improve the area of Karesh.”
- Yemeni Interior Minister Mutahar Rashad al Masri ordered that the security director of al Wadhee district of Abyan governorate be dismissed for his “inability to control security in the district.” This is part of a recent move by the Ministry of the Interior to replace unqualified security directors and improve the overall security of the country.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The Transitional Federal Government’s Ministry of Information released a statement condemning al Shabaab’s arrest of Hassan Halene, the director of Radio Mandeq in Balad Hawa district of Gedo region.
- The African Union named former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings as the AU representative to Somalia. Rawlings will work on promoting peace within the country and will also focus on bringing international attention to the crisis faced by Somalia.
- The European Union Naval Force in Somalia reported that pirates have seized a Japanese cargo ship with 20 Filipino crew members on board.
- Puntland Ports Minister Said Mohamed Rage was held hostage by pirates in the town of Jariban. His convoy was attacked two times, and two people were killed in the ambushes. Rage was released after negotiations with the tribal elders in Jariban.
- Mortar shelling and clashes between TFG forces and al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu on Monday killed at least 3 people and wounded 6 more. The clashes took place in the Hodan and Daynile districts and around Bakara market. Heavy fighting over the weekend left 12 dead, mostly civilians, and 14 injured. 
- Somaliland police arrested a man with suspected connections to al Shabaab after conducting a large security sweep in Hargeisa. The chief of police in Hargeisa reported that the suspect, Aadan Ali Abdiloow, is currently under investigation to determine if the alleged links to al Shabaab exist.
- Al Shabaab is warning Somalis against getting drugs administered by AMISOM forces. Sheikh Ali Mohammed Hussein, al Shabaab’s chairman of the Banadir region, reported that the drugs made available by AMISOM may have been contaminated with HIV.