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 suspect claims he was working for Yemeni Intelligence Agency; Ma’rib sheikhs declare loyalty to the al Houthi rebels; gunman on a motorcycle kills soldier in Dhaleh; General Saleh says Yemen open to continued cooperation with U.S. in fighting terrorism; President Saleh pledges 30,000 troops at Gulf Cup; President of Puntland calls for increased coordination with Yemen; Yemeni police arrest five men for attempting to liberate al Qaeda prisoners; security forces prepare for second offensive in Shabwah governorate
Horn of Africa: 13 people killed and 70 injured in Mogadishu fighting this weekend; AMISOM fighters burned three al Shabaab vehicles in Hodan district; Uganda may eliminate peacekeeping forces in Somalia following UN report; Somaliland police arrest 12 men with connections to terror plot; AMISOM commander says infighting within the TFG is having negative effects on the government’s armed forces; German naval forces thwart pirate attack; al Shabaab offers $250 a month to foreign fighters; al Shabaab chops of hand and foot of criminal; Ethiopia feels threatened by Somali violence, calls for help from UN; al Shabaab orders monthly tax from residents of Kismayo
Yemen Security Brief
- Badr Ahmed, one of four al Qaeda suspects on trial for planning terrorist attacks on local and foreign sites, is denying the charges, saying instead that he has been working for the Yemeni Intelligence Agency. Ahmed claims his role was to work with the suspected terrorists in order to expose their plots, and has called on intelligence officer Abdullah al Ashwal to support him in court.
- A number of Ma’rib sheikhs, primarily from the Jahm tribe, declared their loyalty to the al Houthi rebels Sunday after a meeting with the al Houthi leader in Jawf governorate. Brigadier General Mubarak al Mashan, advisor to the Interior Minister and the man who took hostage the financial attaché at the U.S. embassy in 1992, was among the chiefs who declared their loyalty to the al Houthi group.
- A motorcyclist shot dead Mahrous Hasan, a soldier from Taiz province, in the city of Dhaleh in southern Yemen on Sunday. The gunman managed to escape.
- The director of Yemen’s counterterrorism unit General Yahya Saleh said in an interview that Yemen receives U.S. funds for training, development, and intelligence sharing. Saleh said, “There is international cooperation in fighting terror. The thing that we can’t do is to be shy about asking for cooperation from others. And that’s why we shouldn’t be ashamed to announce that there is cooperation and intelligence sharing and cooperation in searching for al Qaeda elements.” This interview followed a statement by Yemen’s foreign minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi that Yemen put a stop to U.S. air strikes after they were deemed ineffective.
- Responding to concerns that al Qaeda might disrupt the 20th Gulf Cup, to be held in Yemen in late November and early December, President Saleh has said that almost 30,000 security and armed forces will be securing the tournament. President Saleh added, “Al Qaeda no longer worries us. The security forces have cracked down terrorists in Abyan governorate and are hunting al-Qaeda members everywhere.”
- The President of the Puntland State of Somalia Abdul Rahman Mohammed Mahmoud Farole visited Yemen to discuss coordination between the two states, particularly in the field of security. In a meeting between the Puntland President and Yemeni minister of the interior Mutahar al Masri, the two discussed coordination, especially concerning coast guards, the fight against terrorism, training, and fighting piracy.
- The Yemeni police arrested five men after they were observed tailing a van carrying six al Qaeda members detained by the Yemeni government. The Defense Ministry reported that the six prisoners were being transported back from an appeals court in Sana’a to their prison, and the police present were concerned that the men who were following the van intended to free the prisoners.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- At least 13 were killed and 70 more injured in fighting in Mogadishu this weekend, reports the head of the city’s ambulance service Ali Muse.
- Major Barigye Bahuko, spokesman for AMISOM troops in Mogadishu, said AMISOM forces burned three al Shabaab vehicles in the Hodan district of Mogadishu following attacks on the Burundian AU troops around the Jalle Siad building. Government and AMISOM troops also took over the former al Shabaab base of the Hoga hospital near Digfer.
- Following a UN report that accused Uganda of committing human rights violations in Rwanda between 1993 and 2003, Uganda Interior Minister Sam Kutesa said Uganda may withdraw its 4,500 peacekeeping forces in Somalia.
- Somaliland police forces have arrested 12 men with connections to a terrorist plot recently uncovered in the cities of Hargeisa, Buroa, and Berbera. The suspects were arrested with large amounts of explosives in their possession, and Interior Minister Dr. Gabose has said, “We suspect these terrorists to be from al Shabaab.”
- AMISOM force commander Major General Nathan Mugisha said that infighting within the TFG is undermining efforts to defeat al Shabaab and establish a legitimate government in Somalia. Noting that many TFG troops withdrew from their posts following attacks by al Shabaab, General Mugisha said, “The TFG forces have been affected by the confusion that is prevailing. But we are re-organizing them. My analysis is that we have a big problem to solve within TFG.”
- German naval forces participating in the EU anti-piracy initiative “Atalanta” thwarted an attack by Somalia pirates on a Liberian ship off the coast of Somalia, reported the Defense Ministry. After receiving a stress call from the Liberian ship on Sunday, the German boat launched a helicopter which fired warning shots at the pirates, causing them to retreat.
- Al Shabaab has offered to pay $250 a month to foreign fighters to join their fight against the TFG in Somalia. “It’s not about the money. It’s about what we believe in,” said Abikar Mohammed, from the U.S. At least two dozen Americans have joined the rebels in Somalia’s civil war in recent years, according to FBI director Robert Mueller.
- On Sunday al Shabaab invited hundreds of people to Buloburde of Hiraan region to watch as Hashi Farah had his hand and foot chopped off by militants. Farah received this punishment for robbing busses and trucks passing between Somalia and Ethiopia.
- Ethiopian foreign minister Mesfin said at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday that Ethiopia is under pressure from the violence in Somalia and said that something needs to be done to stem the violence. Affirming that Ethiopia is committed to helping the TFG defeat the militants, he said, “We need the U.N. to deploy troops in Somalia sooner than later, and we are ready to help peace for Somalia.”
- Al Shabaab has ordered that the residents of Kismayo pay a $10 monthly tax per family to al Shabaab. Those who fail to pay the new tax were warned by an al Shabaab press release that actions will be taken against them.