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: Drone strike kills two AQAP militants in Wadi Abeidah, Ma’rib governorate; suspected AQAP militants attack military checkpoint near Wadi Abeidah, Ma’rib governorate, killing four soldiers; suspected AQAP militants kill intelligence officer in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate; suspected AQAP militants kill “sorcerer” in al Radmah district, Ibb governorate; Southern Movement leader survives assassination attempt in Aden, Aden governorate; gunmen clash in Razih district, Sa’ada governorate, leaving four dead; popular committees, tribal gunmen clash in Batis, Abyan governorate, leaving five dead; commander of the 22nd Brigade resumes his post in Taiz governorate despite protests; reservists from the Fourth Brigade expel their commander in Sana’a; soldiers from the 26th Brigade prevent their new commander from entering the military camp in al Bayda governorate; telecommunications cable cut in al Sawadiyah district, al Bayda governorate; President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi reverses decision to blacklist Tihami Movement supporters; al Houthis give activist three hours to leave his home in ‘Azlat Maran, Sa’ada governorate; government complex in al Dhaleh, al Dhaleh governorate remains closed for the fourth consecutive week by armed Southern Movement supporters
Horn of Africa: Somali journalist is shot and killed in Mogadishu; Somali troops take Garas Weyne and Hudur, Bakool region; roadside IEDs target AMISOM vehicles in Janaale, Lower Shabelle region; Somali government troops confiscate weapons cache in Cabudwaaq, Galgudud region; two government officials are abducted, one killed in Burhakaba, Bay region; former pirate is shot and killed at Galkayo airport, mortars are thrown at Galkayo airport following shooting; Somali troops arrest six suspected al Shabaab militants in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; Somali National Army conducts security operations in Hodan district, Mogadishu; unknown gunmen shoot and kill civilian in Karkar, Puntland; Kenyan security and government officials are fired in Garissa, Kenya; Kenyan security officials conduct security operations in Garissa, Kenya; new Somali anti-terror legislation targets telecommunications and remittance companies; Somali Parliament questions Somali prime minister and interior minister; Somali president attends security forum in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia; Somaliland president travels to United States
Yemen Security Brief
- Two suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants, both of whom were Saudi nationals, were killed in a drone strike on a house in Wadi Abeidah, Ma’rib governorate on April 21. A weapons cache was found at the site.
- Suspected AQAP militants attacked a military checkpoint near Wadi Abeidah, Ma’rib governorate on April 21. Four soldiers from the Third Infantry Mountain Brigade were killed and twelve others were injured. One militant was also reportedly killed.
- Suspected AQAP militants shot and killed an intelligence officer in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate on April 20.
- Suspected AQAP militants shot and killed a man in al Radmah district, Ibb governorate on April 22, accusing him of sorcery.
- Brigadier General Nasser al Nuba, one of the leaders of the Southern Movement, survived an assassination attempt in Aden, Aden governorate on April 21.
- Gunmen clashed violently in Razih district, Sa’ada governorate on April 19, leaving four people dead, including one child, and several others injured.
- Popular committees clashed with tribal gunmen from Yafa'a district, Lahij governorate in a market in Batis, Abyan governorate on April 20, leaving five dead and several others injured. A tribesman was shot dead last year in the same area by a member of the popular committees and this was seen as a revenge attack.
- Brigadier General Mohamed al Bukhaiti, commander of the 22nd Brigade, has reportedly resumed his post after protests at a military camp in Taiz governorate. Clashes had broken out between al Bukhaiti’s supporters and detractors at the camp last week after he returned from a month-long absence. Mahmoud al Subaihi, commander of the Fourth Military District, persuaded senior officers to enable al Bukhaiti’s return and gave him one month to address the brigade’s concerns.
- Reservists from the Fourth Brigade expelled their commander, Brigadier General Mohammed al Qadi, as well as a group of officers and battalion commanders, from Camp 48 in Sana’a on April 21 to protest against their “abusive” practices.
- Troops from the 26th Brigade prevented their newly-appointed commander, Brigadier General Ali Hamoud al Mushki, from entering the military camp in al Bayda governorate on April 21.
- A telecommunications cable in al Sawadiyah district, al Bayda governorate was cut by unknown assailants on April 21, affecting Internet service in al Bayda and Abyan governorates.
- President Abu Rabbu Mansour Hadi cancelled the Interior Ministry’s decision to add 21 suspected Tihami Movement supporters to the “black list” on April 20. President Hadi vowed to resolve the issue, while affirming that victims of the recent violence in al Hudaydah would be considered martyrs.
- Local sources reported that the al Houthis gave Abdel Hafiz al Morani, a revolutionary activist, three hours to leave his home in ‘Azlat Maran, Sa’ada governorate on April 22, threatening to kill him if he ever returned.
- The government complex in al Dhaleh, al Dhaleh governorate remains closed as armed Southern Movement supporters continue their four-week-long siege. They are demanding the release of Southern Movement prisoners, and in the meantime, they have blocked the entrance to the building and cut off the roads leading to the complex. There are reports of violent clashes between the gunmen and security forces and one person has been injured.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A Somali journalist, working for a government broadcasting company, was shot and killed outside his home in Mogadishu on April 21. No group has claimed responsibility for the murder; however, Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Mohamed Fiqi blamed al Shabaab.
- Somali government troops took control of Garas Weyne, Bakool region on April 21 after al Shabaab militants retreated from the town. There is also a single source reporting Somali troops independently recaptured Hudur, Bakool region from al Shabaab on April 21. Reportedly, at least five fighters from both sides were killed in the battle that lasted over 12 hours.
- Roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targeted AMISOM vehicles near Janaale, Lower Shabelle region on April 21. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack saying it destroyed a vehicle and killed six AMISOM fighters. Somali government officials confirm a vehicle was destroyed but could not comment on casualty numbers.
- Somali government troops confiscated a weapons cache during security operations in Cabudwaaq, Galgudud region on April 21. Security officials found AK-47s, grenades and IEDs in homes throughout the town. Several people were arrested in connection with the weapons.
- Two senior-level government officials were abducted in Burhakaba, Bay region on April 19. One was shot and killed and the other is still being detained. Al Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the abductions and murder.
- A man, reportedly a former pirate, was shot and killed at the Galkayo airport, Mudug region on April 21 after pulling a gun on a security guard who was attempting to search him. On April 22 unknown attackers threw grenades at the airport in response to the previous day’s shooting.
- Somali security officials arrested six men suspected of being al Shabaab militants in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on April 22.
- Somali National Army troops conducted security operations in the Hodan district of Mogadishu on April 22. Officials say that several men were arrested during the sweeps.
- A neighborhood watch program is being created in Mogadishu in order to curb terrorist and criminal activities. The program has already begun in parts of the city and will soon spread to every district in the Banadir region.
- Unknown gunmen shot and killed a man leaving his mosque in Karkar on April 21. The reason behind the attack is not known.
- The head of criminal investigations in Garissa, Kenya was fired on April 21 after it was uncovered that 11 Kenyan police officers were aiding al Shabaab attacks in the region. A government official was also fired after links between regional government actors and al Shabaab were found.
- Security operations are being carried out throughout Garissa, Kenya beginning on April 22. Over 20 people have been arrested so far.
- New anti-terror legislation drafted by the Somali cabinet will target telecommunication and remittance companies frequently used by terrorist organizations. The bill still needs to pass the Somali Parliament to be written into law.
- The Somali Parliament questioned Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon and Somali Interior Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled in Mogadishu on April 21. The two men were questioned over the unsanctioned killing of prisoners in Somali jails.
- Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud attended a forum for security and organized crime held in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia on April 20. President Mohamud spoke at the forum touching on East African terrorism and the need for regional unity.
- President of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamed “Silanyo” traveled to the United States on April 21. There he will meet with members of Congress and the Obama administration. President Silanyo traveled from London where he reiterated his position on boycotting the London talks taking place in May 2013.