Warnings of terrorist attacks may shake Djibouti and Yemen
Sanaa ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Yemen’s Interior Ministry has ordered increased security along the country’s coastline in response to information that al-Qaeda’s Somalia-based affiliate al-Shabaab is planning to carry out attacks in Djibouti and Yemen.
The Yemeni Coast Guard and the navy have been told to arrest any suspects arriving by sea.
Yemen continues to be riven by Shiite and Sunni factionalism and civil strife, which has been exploited by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to launch terror attacks.
On Monday, the US Department of State issued a travel advisory warning of “specific threats from terrorism” aimed at Western and local targets, which could include “attacks on maritime vessels in or near Djiboutian ports”. In May, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Djibouti town centre and threatened further attacks.
The warnings come as increasing numbers of illegal migrants from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea are making their way through Djibouti to Yemen in the hope of reaching Saudi Arabia.
The Gulf of Aden has become a lucrative crossing point for human traffickers. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), “Between January and September 2014, 61,224 migrants arrived in Yemen from the Horn of Africa via the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. This year, there have been 215 migrant deaths in the Red Sea, more than during the past three years combined.”
The governments of Somalia and Yemen recently agreed to co-operate to combat piracy, maritime crime and other security threats, and Denmark has also agreed to help Yemen tackle piracy gangs and insurgents. However, regional paper Sabahi reported Yemeni officials as warning that al-Shabaab fighters are infiltrating the migrant groups in a bid to destabilise the country further.
The IOM noted that the favourable weather conditions make this the peak season for seaborne migration from the Horn of Africa.