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 militants ambush car convoy carrying Shabwah governor; IDPs from Shabwah ask for help; Yemen Foreign Minister confirms U.S. has launched strikes in Yemen; forums announce new video featuring al Awlaki to be released
Horn of Africa: 11 killed and 20 wounded in shelling in Bakara market; al Shabaab spokesmen calls UN meetings on Somalia failed; one guard killed, two others injured in Somaliland; pirates seize Panamanian ship in Tanzanian waters; Kenyan court sentences 11 pirates to 5 year prison sentences; three businessmen arrested by al Shabaab in Gedo region for selling tobacco; Uganda has two men allegedly behind July 11 bombings in custody
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda militants ambushed a convoy of cars on Wednesday that was carrying Ali al Ahmadi, governor of Shabwah governorate. Although Ahmadi was not injured in the struggle, one soldier guarding his convoy was killed and six others were injured. The convoy was also carrying senior Defense Ministry officials and Army chief of staff General Salem Qutn.
- Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who were forced to flee from last week’s clashes between the government forces and al Qaeda in Shabwah governorate are pleading for help from humanitarian groups. Ali al Haddad, an IDP from Hawta, said, “The authorities ordered us to evacuate our homes as they were searching for militants in our town [Hawta]. Now, we are running out of the little food we took with us… I don’t know why nobody is paying attention to our suffering.”
- In an interview published in a Saudi-owned newspaper, al Hayat, on Thursday Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi confirmed that the U.S. has launched strikes on al Qaeda in Yemen. Al Qirbi told the reporter that the government deemed the U.S. strikes unsuccessful and said, “Fighting al Qaeda is the responsibility of security and anti-terrorism forces in Yemen.”
- Islamic websites with known ties to al Qaeda have announced the planned released of a video featuring Anwar al Awlaki, reported London’s Daily Mail. The video allegedly calls for more terror attacks on the West.,
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- At least 11 people, mostly women, were killed and 20 others wounded when mortars exploded in the Bakara market in Mogadishu on Wednesday. “The incident was worst ever happen in this market,” said a witness, a sentiment that was echoed by Somali ambulance workers responding to the scene.
- Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Sheikh Ali Dhere, said that the UN-sponsored summits on Somalia in New York and Madrid failed in a press conference.
- Two unknown men attacked a security checkpoint between Aynabo and Oog in east Somaliland late Wednesday night, killing one guard, injuring two others, and kidnapping two policemen. Although the identity of the attackers has not been verified, analysts have said that they believe pirates from Puntland may be behind the attack.
- Somali pirates seized a Panamanian ship in Tanzanian waters on Wednesday. The ship, which has a 15 member crew, was traveling from Kenya to South Africa. This is the third piracy incident in the last four days off of Africa’s Eastern coast. Additionall, EU Navfor reports that it freed an Iranian-flagged dhow.
- A Kenyan court sentenced 11 Somali men to five years in prison on Wednesday for committing acts of piracy. The men attempted to hijack a Liberian ship in the Indian Ocean in April of last year.
- Three businessmen were arrested by al Shabaab in Bardhere in Gedo region for tobacco trading. In the past few months, al Shabaab has banned the selling of qat, hashish, and tobacco. “Our fighters are still conducting search operations against drugs that can hamper man’s health,” said an al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Bishar Adam Hassan. He reported that “The Islamic court of al Shabaab in Gedo region sentenced these three businessmen to buy three AK 47 rifles with [ammunition] magazines.”
- Uganda has two men in custody who intelligence officials report were behind the July 11 Kampala bombings. Omar Awadh Omar and Hussein Hassan Agade are among 36 suspects that were arrested following the bombings. Sources say that Awadh is a key operative in al Shabaab and Agade has links to al Qaeda.