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: Police chief shot dead during Southern Movement demonstration in Abyan governorate; Abyan governor’s convoy attacked; deputy intelligence chief town in Hadramawt governorate dies from injuries after attack
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants take over K50 airport; Hawiye elders ask Somali businessmen to withdraw from Mogadishu markets; Ethiopian troops reportedly cross the border into the Hiraan region; Djibouti will provide peacekeeping troops to Somalia; UN refugee chief calls on countries to stop sending Somali refugees back to Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- Abdullah al Baham was shot dead during clashes between armed Southern Movement demonstrators and Yemeni security forces in Mudia in Abyan governorate. A Southern Movement official, Abbas al Assal, denied any involvement in the shooting and attributed the violence to al Qaeda. Assal said that the security forces fired on “peaceful protestors.” He added, “We are peaceful and reject violence. The Southern Movement is holding mass demonstrations to mark the 47th anniversary of the beginning of the south’s rebellion against British colonial rule.
- Gunmen fired on the convoy of Ahmad al Maisari, the governor of Abyan, as it was on its way to investigate the death of Baham. Maisari’s security guards returned fire. Two guards were injured.
- Gunmen on motorcycles shot Brig. Gen. Riyadh al Khatabi, the deputy intelligence of the town of Sayoun in Hadramawt governorate Wednesday. He later died from his injuries.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants took control of the K50 airport outside of the capital, Mogadishu, on Tuesday. The militants then forced out the guards. A senior official said, “The airstrip is temporarily closed now and aircraft transporting khat did not come today. I think it will be operational later.” Al Shabaab has banned the selling of qat in Somali regions under its control.
- Mogadishu businessmen have been requested to move out of Bakara Market in Hodan and Hawl Wadag districts and Suk Baad in Yaqshid district due to the violence. The spokesman of the Hawiye clan traditional elders said, “More die in both markets everyday and fighting is daily. So if the peace was missed, security was missed and the shelling became continuous. We are saying to the Somali people and businessmen to close the doors and remove their belongings from the markets and search another palaces [sic] in the country, because the country is large, we are saying to you, please move from these dangerous markets if there are no any side respecting you.”
- Residents report that Ethiopian troops and military vehicles entered the Hiraan region of Somalia late Wednesday and were heading towards the strategic town of Beledweyen. The troops have reportedly reached the village of Elgal, about 18 km north of Beledweyne, and have begun to search buses and trucks. Residents say that al Shabaab militants have taken defensive measures.
- Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelle announced in an Arab League meeting in Libya that Djibouti will send peacekeeping troops to Somalia. According to the Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamud Ali Yussuf their troops will not participate in any direct confrontations between the TFG and insurgent forces, but will provide technical support to other peacekeeping forces stationed in Somalia.
- Antonio Guterres, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, spoke out against the practice of sending Somali and Iraqi refugees back to their respective capitals. Guterres described Somali refugees as the most “systematically undesired, stigmatized and discriminated against” in the world. Citing situation in Somalia’s capital, Guterres said, “Mogadishu is, obviously, not a place we can ask people to call home.”