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: Yemeni security forces intercept suicide bombers in Sana’a; President Hadi announces that he will negotiate with AQAP if conditions are met; U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Feierstein praises the Yemeni government’s war against AQAP; Yemeni First Armored Division cuts off roads leading to its headquarters; hand grenade explosion kills six in southern Lahij governorate
Horn of Africa: Kenya claims responsibility for airstrikes in Kismayo; Ethiopian troops kill two civilians in Beledweyne; the number of Americans joining al Shabaab rises; Somali PM meets with world leaders at UN General Assembly meeting; Iraq supplies aid to Somalia; EU gives AMISOM €82 million
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni security forces intercepted a team of suicide bombers targeting a defense building in Sana’a on September 25. The alleged suicide bombers, disguised as mourners in a funeral procession, were carrying a coffin with three explosive devices inside. According to an unidentified Yemeni security official, 15 individuals were arrested in the operation that took place near the al Urthi area of Sana’a.
- Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour al Hadi announced on September 25 that he is ready for dialogue with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). President Hadi stated that he would only consider negotiations with AQAP if they disarm, abandon their extremist ideology, and show repentance.
- U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein said in an interview with Reuters on September 25 that the Yemeni government is fighting an effective war against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP); however, he is concerned about security lapses. Ambassador Feierstein added that he does not believe that most Yemenis hold anti-American sentiments.
- The Yemeni First Armored Division cut off streets leading to its division headquarters in Sana’a on September 26. It is not immediately clear as to why the streets were closed; however, a local Yemeni website reported that a taxi at a security checkpoint in al Nahda neighborhood was fired on by First Armored Division troops. A young child was wounded in the attack on the taxi.
- A hand grenade explosion killed six civilians and wounded 16 others in southern Lahij governorate on September 26. According to local sources, the accidental explosion occurred at Rabat market and was not politically motivated.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Kenyan military officials have claimed responsibility for the airstrikes that hit the airport in Kismayo on September 25. Kenyan military spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna told the press that Kenyan planes dropped three bombs on the airport and knocked out an al Shabaab armory and warehouse. Al Shabaab officials refute the claim, saying, no property was damaged and no one was killed. The number of casualties is not yet known.
- Ethiopian troops killed two civilians after a grenade attack in Beledweyne on September 26. Before Ethiopian troops shot the two civilians, they were attacked by two unknown assailants who threw grenades at them while they were getting water from a well. The two killed by the Ethiopian soldiers were a seventy-year old town elder and a man locals say suffered from a mental illness. Whether there were any Ethiopian casualties due to the grenade blast, is not known.
- New reports from the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center shows that at least forty young men have left the United States to join the terror group al Shabaab. Previously, the number was thought to have been twenty since 2007. Some of the men have come back to the United States, where they have been arrested, and four have been killed.
- The Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali met with various foreign leaders at the United Nations General Assembly meeting. Several leaders Prime Minister Ali met with were U.S. President Barack Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, among others. Prime Minister Ali spoke of Somali’s transition to a legitimate government and expressed his hope that Somalia may be able engage with the UN more. Back in Somalia, rumors were rebuffed that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has named Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo as the Somali Prime Minister.
- The Iraqi government supplied Somalia with 13,500 metric tons of humanitarian aid on September 25, in response to the famine and drought that is currently plaguing the country. The shipment arrived in the port of Mogadishu and was immediately turned over to the Somali Minister of Agriculture Hussein Mohamud Sheikh.
- The European Union will give AMISOM additional funding in order to meet its UN guidelines. The €82 million will go towards troop salaries, housing, healthcare and fuel. AMISOM will now be able to increase its troop strength to 17,731. Total EU contribution is €411.4 million since 2007.