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: President Hadi blames AQAP for latest string of attacks in Yemen; Prime Minister Basindwa and First Armored Division Commander Gen. Ali Mohsen al Ahmar travel to Doha, Qatar; AQAP offers condolences to Muslims and Palestinians in Gaza for the killing of terrorist leaders; Yemeni police officer gunned down in Lahij governorate
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases a video in honor of the Festival of Sacrifice; Human Rights Watch releases a report on Kenyan police abuse of native Somalis; Ugandan military leaders threaten to remove troops from Somalia; al Shabaab releases communiqués claiming nine attacks
Yemen Security Brief
- President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi blamed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for the latest string of attacks in Yemen in a televised speech on October 25. President Hadi referred specifically to an Ansar al Sharia attack on a military compound in Abyan governorate on October 19 that left 14 Yemeni soldiers dead. President Hadi reiterated his government’s determination to remove al Qaeda from Yemen.
- Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa and First Armored Division Commander Gen. Ali Mohsen al Ahmar traveled to Doha, Qatar on October 24 to meet with Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani. PM Basindwa delivered a letter from Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi to Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, outlining mutual relations and cooperation between Yemen and Qatar.
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) offered condolences on jihadist forums on October 24 to Muslims and Palestinians in Gaza for the killing of Hisham al Saedni and Ashraf Sabah. Hisham al Saedni and Ashraf Sabah were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Jabalia District in Gaza on October 13. Hisham al Saedni, also known as Abu al Walid al Maqdisi, was the founder of the Gaza-based Tawhid wa al Jihad in Jerusalem terrorist group. Ashraf Sabah, often referred to as Abu al Bara’a al Maqdisi, was the founder of Ansar al Sunna in Jerusalem, a similar Gaza-based terrorist group. Hisham al Saedni and Ashraf Sabah combined their respective groups in early 2011 to form Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, a Sinai Peninsula-Gaza based terrorist group that is affiliated with al Qaeda.
- A Yemeni police officer was killed in al Hawta city in southwestern Lahij governorate on October 26. Local sources reported that the Yemeni police officer was killed by unidentified gunmen at a checkpoint near the entrance of al Hawta city.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab has released a video on October 25 showing children play-fighting in honor of the Festival of Sacrifice. The video shows children who were taken in by the al Shaheed Foundation, an organization started by al Shabaab. The foundation brings in boys whose parents were killed in action and teaches them Islam and Arabic. The play-fight represented “the soldiers of truth and the soldiers of falsehood.”
- Human Rights Watch released a report on October 25 documenting abuse of Somali natives by Kenyan police officers. The report describes instances in which dozens of ethnic Somalis were beaten and sometimes shot following grenade attacks on Kenyan police. There were three separate incidents in September and October occurring in both Garissa and Mandera. Kenyan police have denied the allegations.
- Ugandan military leaders in Somalia are rethinking their involvement in Somalia after a leaked UN report claimed that Uganda, as well as Rwanda, were giving supplying weapons to M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A Ugandan minister said the country might now suspend its troop involvement with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), for which they currently supply the most troops.
- Al Shabaab released five communiqués on October 25 detailing nine attacks against Somali and AMISOM troops, during which it claimed to have killed five AMISOM troops at the Bali Doogle airport. Al Shabaab also described religious courses it held and said it handed out medicine to people in the Hiraan province.