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: Al Qaeda leader criticizes Yemeni government, praises jihadists; AQAP will release audio recording confirming Said al Shihri is still alive; mass internet outages across the country; government directs Defense and Interior Ministries to apprehend oil and electricity attackers; hundreds protest against government in Aden; Republican Guard soldiers protest; wounded woman shot and killed by gunmen in Rada’a, al Bayda governorate; mass demonstration in Sana’a; truce reached between the 312th Brigade and the Bani Dabyan tribe in Sirwah, Ma’rib governorate; Hadi admonishes governor, security director of al Hudaydah governorate; electrical transmission lines in al Damashqa, Ma’rib governorate attacked again; AQIM offers its condolences to Yemenis, AQAP on the death of a radical Yemeni cleric.
Horn of Africa: U.S. President approves American military assistance to Somalia; car bomb targets the Director of Somali Islamic Scholars in Mogadishu; unknown gunmen shoot and kill a Puntland security ministry official in Galkayo, Mudug region; al Shabaab militants retreat from Qorioley, Lower Shabelle region; Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta sworn in in Nairobi, Kenya; Somali representatives withdraw from security meeting in Sana’a, Yemen; AMISOM commander and African Union representative speak with AMISOM troops in Kismayo, Kenya; Somali prime minister meets Ethiopian prime minister in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri criticized Yemen in an audio speech released on April 6 for allowing American as well as Saudi and Gulf influence into the country following the ouster of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. He accused President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi of corruption, while praising the jihadists for their “resistance.” Zawahiri also spoke specifically to al Shabaab fighters in Somalia praising their repulsion of the French rescue attempt that took place in January 2013.
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) posted a statement on jihadist websites on April 8 saying that Said al Shihri, a senior AQAP commander, is still alive and an audio recording of his voice will be released soon.
- Mass internet and telecommunications outages occurred across Yemen after fiber-optic cables were cut in Ma’rib, Shabwah, and Abyan governorates on April 9.
- The government directed the Defense and Interior Ministries on April 9 to work with the governor of Ma’rib to apprehend the perpetrators of recent attacks on the oil pipeline and power lines in Ma’rib governorate within one week. 
- Hundreds took to the streets of Aden on April 8 condemning the government and Waheed Rashid, governor of Aden, following power outages, according to Al Motamar, which is published by the General People’s Congress (GPC).
- Soldiers from the Air Defense of the Republican Guard protested on April 8 after their commander, Brigadier General Mohamed Mansar al Ansi, arrived at the military camp with pictures of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to be distributed to the troops. Al Ansi was expelled thereafter.
- A wounded woman was shot and killed by gunmen in civilian clothes in a local hospital in Rada’a, al Bayda governorate on April 9. The gunmen shot at random to force merchants to close their shops following the withdrawal of the army and security forces from the city.
- Mass demonstration occurred in Sana’a on April 8 demanding that President Hadi implement his decisions regarding the restructuring of the military and that he appoint new heads of the seven military districts.
- Local sources confirmed that a truce has been reached between the 312th Brigade and the Bani Dabyan tribe in Sirwah, Ma’rib governorate after the mediation of tribal chiefs on April 9. This comes one day after tribal militants ambushed a military patrol, killing several soldiers and breaking a truce brokered early on April 8.
- President Hadi reportedly expressed his displeasure at the strained relationship between Akram 'Attiyah, the governor of al Hudaydah governorate, and Brigadier General Mohamed al Maqaleh, the director of security in al Hudaydah, during a meeting with the two of them on April 8.
- Electrical transmission lines between Ma’rib governorate and Sana’a were attacked for the fourth time in 24 hours by the same assailant, Hassan Mabkhout al Hwaik. Aden al Ghad reported that al Hwaik has been blackmailing officials to win government contracting tenders in Ma’rib.
- Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) offered its condolences to Yemeni Muslims and AQAP on the death of radical Yemeni cleric Awad Ba Nijar via Twitter on April 8.
- United States President Barack Obama, in a memo written to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on April 8, approved American military assistance to Somalia. This approval now provides Secretary Kerry with the ability to supply defense aid to Somalia.
- A car bomb targeted the vehicle of the Director of Somali Islamic Scholars Bashir Ahmed Salaad in Mogadishu on April 8. The bomb detonated but Salaad survived. No group has yet to claim responsibility for the attack.
- Unknown gunmen shot and killed a Puntland security ministry official in Galkayo, Mudug region on April 8. One other person was injured in the attack and no arrests have been made.
- Al Shabaab militants retreated from Qorioley, Lower Shabelle region on April 9 as Somali and AMISOM troops closed in on the town. Mortar blasts could be heard on the outskirts of the town.
- Newly-elected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in on April 9 in Nairobi, Kenya. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud attended the ceremony.
- Somali representatives withdrew from a meeting set up by American officials in Sana’a, Yemen on April 8. The meeting was meant to strengthen shared shipping routes and anti-terrorism policies between Yemen and the Horn of Africa countries.
- AMISOM Commander General Andrew Gutti and African Union Special Representative Mahamat Annadif visited AMISOM troops in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on April 6. Annadif praised the troops’ efforts in liberating Kismayo.
- Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailamariam Dessalegn in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on April 8. The two leaders spoke on bilateral security issues.