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 posts video to Twitter condemning Saudi government; U.S. airstrike kills AQAP fighters in Abyan; suspected AQAP militants attack Yemeni military headquarters in Aden
Horn of Africa: unidentified gunmen kill prominent Kenyan Muslim cleric in Mombasa county; Kenyan police conduct security operations in Nairobi; suspected al Shabaab militants kill SNA soldiers in Middle Shabelle region; AMISOM and SNA forces clash with al Shabaab militants in Hiraan region
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) posted a video containing an audio speech by AQAP official Ibrahim al Rubaish to Twitter on March 30. In the 9 minute, 5 second video, Rubaish strongly condemned Saudi King Abdullah’s Royal Decree 44, which criminalized the act of participating in foreign “hostilities” for Saudi citizens. He also criticized the Saudi government, stating that “Their employers are the White House and they consider them gods without Allah.”
- A reported U.S. airstrike killed at least three AQAP fighters and seriously wounded four more at an AQAP training center in al Mahfad in Abyan governorate on April 2. Reports indicate that at least three missiles targeted two huts that were part of the training center. AQAP purportedly transported their wounded to the city of Azzan in Shabwah governorate directly following the strike.
- Suspected AQAP militants attacked the headquarters of Yemen’s Fourth Military District in Aden on April 2. Local sources reported that a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) exploded near the headquarters shortly before the militants opened fire. Initial reports suggest that at least four people were killed, some of whom were Yemeni soldiers.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Unidentified gunmen killed prominent Muslim cleric Abubakar Shariff, also known as Makaburi, in Kisauni in Mombasa county on April 1. The UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea previously linked Makaburi to al Shabaab, indicating he supported the group’s fundraising and recruitment networks along the Kenyan coast. After the killing, dozens of Makaburi’s supporters gathered to demand the release of his body from police custody. Kenyan police have denied involvement in the killing.
- Kenyan police continued to conduct security operations in the predominantly Somali neighborhood of Eastleigh in Nairobi on April 1 in response to the March 31 explosions in the area. 400 suspects were arrested during the operations, adding to the 657 suspects arrested on March 31. Kenyan police also effectively cleared a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) found near Eastleigh during the operations.
- Suspected al Shabaab militants killed two Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers near Mahaday in Middle Shabelle region on April 1. The gunmen ambushed and killed the soldiers, confiscating their weapons before fleeing the scene. Reports indicate that al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. Somali security forces responded by conducting a search operation in the area, arresting ten people.
- AMISOM and SNA forces clashed with al Shabaab militants in El Gal territory near Beledweyne in Hiraan region on April 1.The clash featured exchanges of gunfire, reportedly inflicting casualties to both sides. The extent of the casualties from the fighting, however, remains unclear.