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 announces establishment of new armed group Ansar al Sharia in the Central Regions; Yemeni jihadist releases Ansar al Sharia video; AQAP claims responsibility for attack in Aden; al Houthis clash with tribesmen in Dhamar
Horn of Africa: Kenyan Muslim rights groups threaten protests over killing of prominent cleric in Mombasa; AMISOM and SNA forces conduct security operations in Hiraan region
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) announced the establishment of “Ansar al Sharia in the Central Regions” on March 31. The new group was formed specifically to combat the al Houthi rebels, based in Sa’ada governorate. The announcement also mentioned the March 28 raid by Yemeni security forces on AQAP militants in al Dhaleh governorate and accused the Yemeni government of secretly conspiring with the al Houthi rebels.
- An unidentified Yemeni jihadist posted a video from AQAP’s insurgent arm in Yemen, Ansar al Sharia to Twitter and the Shumukh al Islam forum on April 1. The 58 minute, 56 second video contained footage of AQAP militants fighting and capturing Yemeni soldiers in the town of Dofes in Abyan governorate in March 2012.
- AQAP claimed responsibility for the April 2 attack on Yemeni military headquarters in Aden. AQAP posted the claim to its Twitter account on April 2, and stated that a group of 10 militants attacked the headquarters with the intention of targeting alleged joint operations between the Yemeni and U.S. governments.
- Al Houthi rebels clashed with Sunni tribesmen in Dhamar governorate on April 3. Initial reports indicate that one al Houthi woman and at least four others died in the clashes. Motivations behind the fighting remain unclear.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Two Kenyan Muslim rights groups threatened on April 2 to hold protests in Mombasa if the Kenyan government failed to identify the gunmen responsible for the April 1 killing of prominent cleric Abubakar Shariff, known as Makaburi. The groups, Muslims for Human Rights and Haki Africa, expressed concern that Makaburi’s death was the latest in a string of extra-judicial killings of prominent Muslim clerics conducted by Kenya’s Anti-Terror Police Unit. Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku denied government involvement in the killing, stating that police are investigating the matter. Separately, Kenyan Defense Secretary Raychelle Omamo declared that Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) will remain in Somalia as part of AMISOM despite the recent violence in Kenya, which has been attributed to al Shabaab’s influence in the country.
- AMISOM and SNA security forces conducted a search operation throughout the Mahas district of Hiraan region on April 2. The security forces detained an unspecified number of suspects and seized explosive materials during the operation. Mahas District Administrator Mohamed Mumin Saneey called for local cooperation as the security forces strive to secure and pacify the region.