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: AQAP militants clash with Yemeni anti-smuggling forces in Aden; AQAP posts biography of deceased Saudi preacher to Twitter; Constitution Drafting Committee sets date for new constitution; Yemeni forces diffuse IED in al Dhaleh; suspected AQAP militants assassinate deputy director of al Bayda; al Houthis clash with other tribes in Ibb; 37th Armored Brigade colonel survives assassination attempt in Hadramawt
Horn of Africa: al Shabaab militants attack AMISOM military base in Lower Shabelle region; unidentified gunmen kill JIA official in Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab spokesman condemns Kenyan security crackdown on ethnic Somalis
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants clashed with Yemeni anti-smuggling forces at a port in Aden on April 11. Local sources report that AQAP militants sailed a ship loaded with weapons from Djibouti to a port in Aden, where they encountered Yemeni forces upon docking. After opening fire on Yemeni forces, the militants then re-boarded their ship and set sail. The Yemeni Coast Guard and Navy attempted to chase the vessel but were unable to apprehend the militants. At least two AQAP militants were killed in the clash.
- AQAP posted a biography of deceased Saudi preacher Hakim al Najdi to its “Nafeh al Teeb” Twitter account on April 11. The biography describes Najdi’s move from Saudi Arabia to Yemen in order to participate in jihad and AQAP’s activities in Abyan governorate in 2011-2012.
- A member of the Yemeni Constitution Drafting Committee stated on April 14 that the first draft of the new Yemeni constitution is expected to be completed within four months.
- Yemeni authorities found and diffused an improvised explosive device (IED) near a Yemeni military checkpoint in al Dhaleh governorate on April 14. Although no group has taken responsibility for the IED, Yemeni officials suspect that it was a “terrorist act”.
- Suspected AQAP militants assassinated the deputy governor of al Bayda governorate, Hussein Dayyan, near his home on April 15, according to Yemeni security officials. The militants opened fire on Dayyan and then fled the scene on motorbikes.
- Al Houthi tribesmen purportedly clashed with other armed tribesmen in Ibb governorate on April 15. Local sources report that some were wounded in the clash, although exact numbers remain unclear.
- Colonel Khaled al Ansi of the 37th Armored Brigade survived an assassination attempt by unidentified gunmen in Hadramawt governorate on April 15. Military sources stated that Ansi and his entourage came under fire from armed gunmen following an explosion of unknown origin. At least one member of Ansi’s entourage was wounded in the attack.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants attacked an AMISOM military base in Qoryoley in Lower Shabelle region on April 14. Although AMISOM forces repelled the attack, a local government official reported that al Shabaab continues to threaten the security of Qoryoley by maintaining roadblocks that restrict access to the town. The Deputy Governor of Lower Shabelle region, Omar Mohamud Elmi Arabey, announced on April 15 that security forces began conducting operations to remove roadblocks near Qoryoley and throughout the region.
- Unidentified assailants killed Abdirahman Qordhere, a Jubbaland Interim Administration (JIA) official, in Kismayo in Lower Jubba region on April 15. The assailants raided the home of Qordhere, killing the official and an unspecified number of his personal guards. Separately, unidentified gunmen killed two students and wounded another in Kismayo on April 14. The motivations of the assailants remain unclear as no group has yet claimed responsibility for either incident.
- Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, condemned the Kenyan security crackdown an ethnic Somalis, calling it a “campaign against Islam in their country.” Rage also dismissed the Kenyan claims that the Somali refugees residing in the Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi are linked to al Shabaab. Separately, an al Shabaab statement released on April 12 refuted AMISOM’s April 11 report that Kenyan forces rescued two aid workers from al Shabaab. Instead, al Shabaab claimed the aid workers were freed and provided assistance in reaching the Kenyan border.