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: New militant group pledges allegiance to the Islamic State; AQAP releases video of kidnapped Saudi diplomat; al Houthi spokesman claims that al Houthi protests will continue; al Houthis kill Yemeni security and al Islah officials in clashes in al Jawf
Horn of Africa: AMISOM and Somali National Army forces seize territory in Galgudud region from al Shabaab; Somali National Army general encourages al Shabaab militants to seek Somali Federal Government amnesty
Yemen Security Brief
- A new militant group in Yemen calling itself “the Supporters for the Islamic State in Yemen” released its first video via YouTube on September 4. The video shows nine fighters with their faces blurred out pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has yet to respond officially to the video, but an AQAP religious leader, Ma’moun Abdulhamid Hatem, stated he has no connection to the newly formed group.
- AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem Media Foundation, released a video on September 3 showing a Saudi vice consul kidnapped by AQAP in 2012, Abdullah bin Mohammed al Khalidi. Al Khalidi in the video urges Saudi citizens to persuade the Saudi government to release female AQAP-linked captives in Saudi prisons. Separately, AQAP’s insurgent arm, Ansar al Sharia, released a statement on September 3, describing Ansar al Sharia operations against Yemeni military sites in Shabwah on August 31.
- Mohammad Abdul Salam, an al Houthi spokesman, released a statement on September 4, asserting al Houthi protests would continue until the Yemeni government responds to the demands of the people.
- Al Houthi militants fought al Islah Party tribesmen in al Ghayl, al Jawf on September 3, killing the al Jawf deputy security director and an al Islah party leader in Marib.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) forces seized several localities, including El Garas and El Laheley, within the Elbur district of Galgudud region on September 4. The Elbur district commissioner reported that al Shabaab militants withdrew from the area without resistance. Separately, AMISOM and SNA forces also seized Halgan, Hiraan region after securing nearby Jalalaqsi on September 3.
- SNA General Dahir Adan Elmi encouraged al Shabaab militants to accept the Somali Federal Government’s new 45 day amnesty on September 4, stating that the ongoing AMISOM and SNA offensive against al Shabaab has drastically diminished the group’s operational capacity. General Elmi’s statement came shortly after the Somali Cabinet of Ministers reiterated the Somali government’s commitment to defeating al Shabaab, offering the new amnesty and appealing to Somali religious scholars to counter al Shabaab’s violent interpretation of Islam.