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: Suspected U.S. drone strikes reportedly kill five al Qaeda-linked militants in Shabwah governorate; Republican Guard storm Tariq Air Base in Taiz; Madad News Agency interviews Shaqra residents on living with Ansar al Sharia; riot police disperse protests outside of Sana’a’s Tax Authority; inmates protest conditions in Hajjah prison
Horn of Africa: Suicide bomb kills at least one TFG soldier in Baidoa; Ahlu Sunna claims to have defeated al Shabaab in Galgudud’s Elshid area; al Shabaab warns Britain against extraditing Abu Qutada to Jordan; TFG denies accusations that it is using defected al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu crackdown; TFG security officials arrested on suspicion of having foreknowledge of national theater bombing; UN delegation visits Gedo region to assess humanitarian needs
Yemen Security Brief
- A Yemeni government official reported that suspected U.S. drone strikes killed five al Qaeda-linked militants between al Hawtah and Azzan in Shabwah governorate overnight. The strikes reportedly hit checkpoints, training facilities, and weapon warehouses.
- A Yemeni military source reported that Republican Guard troops stormed Tariq Air Base in Taiz late on April 16 when the Yemeni Air Force called on Mohammed Saleh al Ahmar to resign. President Abu Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued a decree ordering Mohammed Saleh al Ahmar to resign several weeks ago.
- Ansar al Sharia’s media wing Madad News Agency released its ninth installment of “Eye on the Event” on jihadist forums on April 14. In the video, Madad interviews residents from Shaqra in Abyan governorate on living under sharia law in their community. When asked how it is living with Ansar al Sharia, a resident stated, “They don’t differentiate between strong and weak, old and young. During the days of the government, they would imprison the one who is filing a complaint and let the oppressor out, but now, everything is alright, praise be to Allah.”
- Riot police allegedly managed to disperse protests near Sana’a’s Tax Authority headquarters using tear gas and firing live ammunition in the sky. Businessmen demanded ending sales tax laws, firing corrupt officials, and releasing their confiscated goods. The sit-in began on April 15.
- Protests in Hajjah’s central prison reportedly wounded 40 prisoners, seven critically, when police attempted to disperse the protesters using tear gas and live ammunition on April 16. One prisoner stabbed the jail director, Yahya al Mualmi, in the neck, but doctors reported that he is now in stable condition. The inmates protested the prison’s dire living conditions.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A suicide bomber targeted a government building near the United Nations compound in Baidoa, the capital of Bay region. The blast killed at least one Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldier, who had approached the bomber for a security check. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, but claimed that it had killed five TFG soldiers and three Ethiopian soldiers.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a claimed victory over al Shabaab after an attack on a militant base in the Elshid area of Elbur district, which is in Galgudud region. Ahlu Sunna reported that two al Shabaab fighters were killed and dozens wounded.
- Al Shabaab warned the British government against extraditing Abu Qutada al Filistini, a Palestinian militant with alleged links to al Qaeda, to Jordan, where he has citizenship in a message posted on jihadist forums on April 16. Al Shabaab says that Britain is being hypocritical in sending Abu Qutada to Jordan, violating its commitments to free speech and human rights, and “epitomis[ing] the iniquities of the western justice system.” The group demanded that Abu Qutada be sent to the country of his choice and warned the British people that “it will be the British government, as a result of its imprudence, that shall be liable for any disaster that befalls them, or their national interests.”
- Salad Ali Jelle, a Somali MP, accused the TFG of using more than 120 defected al Shabaab militants to assist in the security crackdown in Mogadishu. The TFG denied the accusation.
- Ali Yare, TFG Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali’s head of security, Yare’s second-in-command, and another security official were detained for questioning on April 14. They are suspected to have had foreknowledge of the suicide bombing at Mogadishu’s national theater earlier this month. The attack has been a source of friction within the TFG government: the prime minister and president have accused each other and the president has criticized the Ministry of Interior for the poor security.
- A United Nations delegation visited Luq in Gedo region to assess humanitarian needs there. Representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other UN agencies met with local TFG officials and pledged to resume humanitarian aid to assist victims of famine and drought.