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: Yemeni military arrests AQAP members in Hudaydah; AQAP attempts to free detainees in Hudaydah; Yemeni military shells two houses in Hadramawt; gunmen attack military base in Hadramawt; former Yemeni politician admits to having political ties with Iran
Horn of Africa: suspected al Shabaab militants target Kenyan security forces with grenade attack in Dadaab Refugee Camp; al Shabaab attacks SNA military base in Hiraan region; accidental explosion kills al Shabaab militants in Galgudud region; al Shabaab ambushes AMISOM and SNA forces in Gedo region
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni military forces arrested four al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) members after they attempted to pass through a military checkpoint in the Jabal Ra’s district in Hudaydah governorate on the evening of March 31. The Yemeni Ministry of Defense identified two of the militants as Saudi nationals Mohammad Samel Majed al Otaybi, also known as Abu Ghaleb, and Salah Mohammad Salah al Asiri, also known as Abu Sarem. The other two militants were identified as Yemeni nationals Mohammad Sadeq Abdo Ibrahim Mohammad al Mathani, known as Abu Mus'ab, and Ibrahim Ali Salah Abdallah Hazem, known as Abu Hajer. Yemeni security forces confiscated forged identification documents, weapons, and explosives from the militants.
- At around 3:00 AM on April 1, a Yemeni official reported that a group of AQAP militants attacked the Jabal Ra’s checkpoint, and attempted to free the four AQAP militants in Yemeni custody. The militants attacked the checkpoint from two vehicles, one of which was purportedly a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED). A Yemeni military source reported that the VBIED did not explode, and that the AQAP militants fled into the neighboring Waseb district in Dhamar governorate following the attack. At least two AQAP members and two Yemeni soldiers were killed, and three additional AQAP members were injured in the attack.
- The Yemeni military shelled two houses in the al Mansour area of al Shihr district in Hadramawt governorate on April 2. Reports indicated that the shelling, which began around 5:30 AM and lasted for at least an hour, targeted one vacant house and a family home. The Hadramawt Tribal Federation issued a statement on April 1 condemning the shelling, and accused the Yemeni Army of purely trying to “flex its muscles” in the region.
- Unidentified gunmen attacked a Yemeni military base in Hadramawt governorate on April 4. Initial reports indicate that at least five Yemeni soldiers were killed in the attack.
- The former president of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, Ali Salem al Beidh, admitted on April 4 that he developed political ties with Iran in the past, and stated that members of the Southern Movement will continue to cultivate a relationship with Iran in the future. This announcement closely follows President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s statement to Iran earlier this week, in which he accused them of interfering in Yemeni politics. Iran has adamantly denied the accusations and has yet to comment on al Beidh’s statement.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Suspected al Shabaab militants targeted Kenyan security forces with a grenade attack near Dadaab Refugee Camp’s airfield in northeastern Kenya on April 3. The assailants threw multiple grenades into the airfield without inflicting any injuries, most likely in an attempt to lure security personnel from the airfield’s compound. Kenyan security officials reported that no arrests were made following the incident.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) military base in the Bulo-Burde district of Hiraan region on April 4. The SNA commander in Hiraan region, Osman Abdi Mumin, reported that SNA forces effectively repelled the attack, killing four militants without suffering any casualties. Separately, suspected al Shabaab militants killed two people near Bulo-Burde town on April 3. The victims were reportedly transporting qat when the assailants ambushed them and fled with the vehicle.
- Three al Shabaab militants were killed and one injured during an accidental explosion in Gal Hareeri near El Bur in Galgudud region on April 4. The explosion occurred when an improvised explosive device (IED) inadvertently detonated during preparation.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked Ethiopian AMISOM and SNA forces near Garbaharey in Gedo region on April 4. The allied forces were travelling toward Beled Hawo when militants ambushed the convoy. Although reports indicate that the confrontation featured heavy fighting, the extent of casualties suffered by either side remains unclear.