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: Security official killed by car bomb in al Mukalla; Republican Guard protests military restructuring at the Ministry of Defense in Sana’a
Horn of Africa: Kenyan Air Force launches air raid on an al Shabaab base near Kismayo; TFG conducts security operations in Baidoa; UNSC warns spoilers of Somalia’s peace process; AMISOM to form police units in Mogadishu; 600 Ugandan soldiers in Somalia to return home due to over-deployment; TSC completes selection of Somalia’s 275-member parliament; al Shabaab claims bombing at NCA conference on August 1 and over 75 attacks
Yemen Security Brief
- A car bomb killed Brigadier General Omar Barashid, the dean of the Command and General Staff College, in the Bajeman area of al Mukalla in Hadramawt late on August 9. The blast also killed his bodyguard and wounded his son. Officials suspect al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is behind the attack.
- Hundreds of officers from Yemen’s elite Republican Guard protested the August 6 military restructuring decrees outside the Ministry of Defense on the morning August 10. Officials had been alerted that men loyal to the head of the Republican Guard, Ahmed Saleh, would attempt to storm the ministry and secured the building with tanks and armored vehicles. The army newspaper 26 September reported on August 9 that about 100 members of the Second Mountain Infantry Brigade had left their posts in Lawder and traveled to Sana’a to protest in front of the Ministry.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The Kenyan Air Force launched strikes on an al Shabaab base in Birta Dheer village near Kismayo, a coastal town and al Shabaab’s financial hub, on August 8, according to officials and witnesses. Casualty and injury figures have not yet been reported. Additionally, Kenyan troops, backed by tanks, deployed to Bibi village, 85 kilometers north of Kismayo.
- Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces are reportedly carrying out security sweeps in Baidoa in Bay region due to complaints from residents of gunmen committing crimes while wearing Somali military uniforms. Mahad Abdirahman, the chief police officer in Bay region, said that nine suspects have been arrested so far.
- The UN Security Council (UNSC) warned al Shabaab, among other spoilers, of trying to disturb Somalia’s peace process on August 9. Part of the statement read, “The members of the Security Council strongly condemn ongoing attempts, including by the Shebab, to undermine the transition process.” The UNSC also expressed its “willingness to take measures against both internal and external actors engaged in actions aimed at undermining the peace and reconciliation process.”
- Somali police commissioner Sharif Shiekhuna Maye said that a Ugandan contingent of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) formed a police unit in Mogadishu. A Nigerian contingent is also expected to form a police unit by the year’s end, according to AMISOM police commissioner Charles Makono.
- Ugandan Lt. Gen. Katumba Wamala said that 600 Ugandans in Somalia will be returning home. Wamala stated, “The AU notified us in July that we had overdeployed our soldiers and needed to scale down by 600. These will soon come back home. Some of these will be the most recently deployed Police officers.” Wamala added that 6,632 Ugandan soldiers have deployed to Somalia to date.
- The Technical Selection Committee (TSC) announced on August 8 that it has completed its selection of 275 members of parliament and will reveal the list of names soon. The newly appointed members of parliament are expected to elect a speaker of parliament, his deputies, and a president within the next 10 days. In preparation, Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said that the TFG will tighten up security in Mogadishu ahead of the presidential election slated for August 20.
- Al Kata’ib Media Foundation, al Shabaab’s media wing, released eight communiqués on jihadist forums on August 6. In the communiqués, al Shabaab claimed over 75 attacks falling between July 20 and August 1 targeting Somali, Burundian, Ethiopian, and Kenyan troops. Most notably, al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the August 1 suicide bombing at the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) conference to pass a draft constitution in Mogadishu.