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: Ansar al Sharia threatens to harm Yemeni tribesmen who join Popular Committees; Yemeni officials foil prison break attempt in al Bayda governorate; AQAP militants seize trucks with weapons in Ma’rib governorate; unidentified gunmen kill two Yemeni officers in Sana’a capital; unidentified gunmen kill deputy security chief in Ma’rib governorate
Horn of Africa: al Shabaab militants kill Somali MP in Mogadishu; al Shabaab seizes military base in Bay region; unidentified assailants kill civilians and SNA soldiers in Bay and Lower Shabelle regions; al Shabaab increases tax on residents and businesses in Galgudud region
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) insurgent arm, Ansar al Sharia, posted a message through a Yemeni journalist’s Facebook page on April 20, threatening to harm Yemeni tribesmen who join Popular Committees. These tribal militias played a key role in ousting Ansar al Sharia from south Yemen in 2012. The message also alleged that the Popular Committees were created by the U.S. and France as a means of maintaining indirect control in Yemen.
- Yemeni security officials successfully foiled an attempted prison break at the central prison in al Bayda governorate on April 20. Reports indicate that one group of inmates staged a riot to distract the security guards while a second group of inmates attempted to escape from the prison. It has yet to be confirmed whether any of the inmates had links to AQAP.
- AQAP militants purportedly seized at least seven trucks containing a variety of automatic weapons and ammunition passing through Ma’rib and Hadramawt governorates en route to their final destination in Sa’ada governorate on April 21. Further details regarding the event remain unclear.
- Unidentified gunmen killed Yemeni security officer Fares al Suwaydi near the Sana’a airport on April 21 and Yemeni military police Colonel Abdul Razak al Jubali in Sana’a on April 22. Following the deaths of two Yemeni intelligence officers in Sana’a on April 21, a total of four Yemeni officers have been killed by unarmed gunmen in Sana’a capital in the past two days.
- Unidentified gunmen killed deputy security chief Abdul Rahman Salah in the city of Harib in Ma’rib governorate on April 22.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Two al Shabaab militants shot and killed Somali MP Abdiaziz Isaq Morsal in Mogadishu on April 22. The militants ambushed Morsal as he was travelling through the Wadajir district en route to Somalia’s National Security Conference. Morsal’s killing came a day after a car bomb killed another Somali MP in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district. An al Shabaab spokesman stated that the recent killings of Somali MPs were designed to coincide with the National Security Conference in order to refute the Somali government’s claim that security in Mogadishu has vastly improved.
- Al Shabaab seized a military base in Daynunay near Baidoa in Bay region on April 21. The al Shabaab militants seized the base without resistance after AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) forces withdrew from the town.
- Unidentified assailants abducted and killed three people in Baidoa in Bay region on April 21. The victims, identified as two civilians and one SNA soldier, were found decapitated on April 22. Although no group claimed responsibility for the incident, al Shabaab has previously conducted similar killings. Separately, unidentified gunmen ambushed a public transport, killing approximately four SNA soldiers, near the KM-50 area of Lower Shabelle region on April 21. SNA officials suspect that al Shabaab is responsible for the attack.
- Al Shabaab increased the tax levied on residents and local businesses in occupied areas of Galgudud region on April 22. The tax increase, which specifically targets transportation services, came after a recent AMISOM and SNA military offensive drove al Shabaab out of several major towns in Galgudud region.