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: German UN ambassador expresses concern at Yemen’s transitional process; Yemeni EOD teams disarm at least 47 explosive devices in eastern Hadramawt governorate; Republican Guard troops kill the son of a prominent tribal sheikh in Radaa; PM Mohammad Salem Basindwa announces the launch of new counterterrorism strategy
Horn of Africa: Thousands of civilians flee Kismayo; Somali and AMISOM forces take over Janaa Cabdalle; IED injures four in Afgoi; a new Nigerian Formed Police Unit arrives in Mogadishu; UN Security Council passes a resolution supporting the new Somali government; President Mohamud meets with Swedish minister
Yemen Security Brief
- Germany’s UN ambassador Peter Wittig expressed concern on September 17 regarding the Yemeni transitional process and stated that a “comprehensive and inclusive national dialogue should begin without delay in order to lay the foundations for a stable and unified Yemen.” Discussions regarding Yemen’s situation are expected to take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 27.
- Yemeni explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams disarmed at least 47 explosive devices in Shibam district of eastern Hadramawt governorate on September 18. According to local sources, the explosive devices included mortars and devices designed to attack tanks. The local population was reported as saying the devices were either hidden by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or ordnances left behind by the 1994 civil war.
- Yemeni Republican Guard troops killed the son of Qaifa tribal leader Sheikh Saif in Radaa city in al Bayda governorate on September 18. According to local sources, the tribal sheikh’s son, Sheikh Zain Allah, was asked to leave his weapons at a military checkpoint before entering the city; however, a confrontation erupted between Sheikh Zain Allah’s forces and Yemeni Republican Guard troops. Sheikh Zain Allah was shot multiple times in the encounter. It is unclear if Yemeni Republican Guard troops suffered any casualties.
- Prime Minister Mohamed Salem Basindwa chaired a meeting with Yemeni cabinet members on September 18. During the meeting, the Yemeni government announced the launch of a new strategy to defeat terrorism in Yemen. The strategy is reportedly designed to cripple terrorist funding sources and restore security and stability. In addition, the new strategy will educate the population on the dangers of terrorism in order to create a responsible public opinion in support of the government’s counterterrorism efforts.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Civilians are fleeing the port city of Kismayo in southern Somalia as Somali and AMISOM forces prepare a takeover of the city. The UN refugee agency says the amount of civilians leaving Kismayo has increased from around ten a day, to around one thousand a day. Militants from the terrorist group al Shabaab are also suspected to be fleeing the port city, but al Shabaab spokesman Muhammad Usman Arus says that al Shabaab is still defending the city and has pushed back Somali and AMISOM forces.
- Somali government forces and AMISOM troops have taken over the town of Janaa Cabdalle on September 18. The city had been abandoned by the terrorist group al Shabaab before the arrival of Somali and AMISOM troops, so no military engagement was necessary. Janaa Cabdalle is located about 70km northwest of the disputed town of Kismayo on a major roadway leaving the city. This takeover comes as Somali and AMISOM forces are preparing to take the city of Kismayo from al Shabaab.
- A remote controlled IED detonated in the town of Afgoi on September 19, injuring four Somali soldiers. The roadside bomb exploded and struck the soldiers truck while they were on patrol. Ten people have been taken into custody in conjunction with the explosion but no one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
- A Formed Police Unit made up of men and woman from Nigeria arrived in Mogadishu on September 16, to augment AMISOM’s presence in the capital city. The Nigerian contingent will be joining a Ugandan Formed Police Unit that is already installed in Mogadishu. The two police squads are in the city to help maintain safety and security in the capital.
- The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution supporting the new Somali government on September 18. The resolution stated that the election of President Sheikh Hassan Mohamud over a week ago represents “the complete transition in Somalia and an important milestone in Somalia’s path to more stable and accountable government.” The resolution did, however, give some warning to the new government saying that a new Prime Minister should be quickly elected and the accountability of financial management needs to be held to a higher standard.
- Newly elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunila Carlsson on September 18. President Mohamud spoke with Carlsson about possible cooperation between Somalia and Sweden and the European Union. Carlsson said that since there is now a legitimate government in Somalia, the two countries can begin to work together.