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: Ansar al Sharia executes 14 Yemeni soldiers in Hadramawt; Ansar al Sharia attacks Yemeni military and government buildings in Lahij; Ansar al Sharia releases several statements via Twitter; Ansar al Sharia releases photos of Eid al Adha celebrations; AQAP religious official condemns those who criticize the legitimacy of titles; Yemeni security forces apprehend suspected AQAP militants in Hadramawt; airstrike kills suspected AQAP militants in Ma’rib; Yemeni Air Force bombs suspected AQAP positions in Hadramawt; Yemeni military reinforcements arrive in Hadramawt and Lahij; Yemeni military and al Islah Party tribesmen clash with al Houthi militants in al Jawf
Horn Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack AMISOM and SNA forces in Hiraan and Lower Shabelle regions; al Shabaab militants target Puntland military official in Bari region; Somali national security forces raid suspected al Shabaab safe house in Mogadishu; Kenyan Air Force jets conduct air strikes targeting suspected al Shabaab-affiliated militants in Kenya’s Coast Province
Yemen Security Brief
- Militants from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) insurgent arm, Ansar al Sharia, kidnapped 14 Yemeni soldiers from the Yemeni 135th Armored Brigade traveling on a bus from Shibam, Hadramawt to Sana’a, executed them in a market in Shibam, and dumped the soldiers’ bodies along a road near Sayun, Hadramawt on August 8. Jalal al Marqishi, leader of Ansar al Sharia, led the operation. Following the executions, Ansar al Sharia issued a statement via Twitter, asserting the operation was in retaliation for the Yemeni army offensive against AQAP militants in Hadramawt.
- Ansar al Sharia militants launched attacks against the Yemeni Special Forces base, the Political Security building, the Governorate building, and the General Security headquarters in al Hawtah, Lahij on August 9. Following the attack, Ansar al Sharia issued a statement via Twitter, claiming credit for the attacks, describing the weapons used in each attack, and asserting no militants were wounded in the attacks. No casualities have been reported.
- Ansar al Sharia released a statement and pictures, entitled “Account of Ansar al Sharia’s five hours in al Qatn, Hadramawt,” via Twitter on August 10. The statement described Ansar al Sharia militants attacking Yemeni military and government buildings on August 7, interacting with locals in al Qatn, Hadramawt, and calls Yemeni military soldiers Shi’a. Finally, Ansar al Sharia released a statement via Twitter on August 10, stating that Ansar al Sharia militants raided three Yemeni military police and Yemeni Special Forces bases in Ataq, Shabwah on August 9. The militants allegedly killed two Yemeni soldiers and wounded several others in the fighting.
- Ansar al Sharia released a series of pictures, entitled “Ansar al Shari’s celebrations of Eid al Adha,” via Twitter on August 11. The photos depicted Ansar al Sharia militants celebrating the Eid al Adha holiday.
- Mamoun Hatem, an AQAP religious judge, released a statement via Twitter on July 31, criticizing those who question the legitimacy of titles and asserting these dissenters cause discord among the mujahideen.
- An anonymous Yemeni security source reported that the Sayun Airport security forces apprehended a suspected AQAP militant, Sabri Bin Talib, in Sayun, Hadramawt on August 9. The source added that Sabri allegedly participated in the assassination of 14 Yemeni soldiers in Shibam, Hadramawt on August 8. Separately, an anonymous Yemeni military source reported that the Yemeni military prevented three suspected AQAP militants from abducting some Yemeni soldiers and arrested the three militants in the al Hawtah area of Sayun, Hadramawt on August 10. One Yemeni soldier was killed in the fighting.
- An airstrike struck a house in Wadi Abida, Ma’rib on August 9, killing three suspected AQAP militants. A local source reported that the three men had recently traveled from Wailah, Sa’ada to Ma’rib following clashes between al Houthi militants and unidentified tribes.
Yemeni airplanes bombed suspected AQAP positions in al Qatn, Hadramawt on August 10. No casualties have been reported. Separately, an anonymous local source reported that Yemeni air planes bombed the house of suspected AQAP militant Ali Abdul Rab bin Talib in the al Hawtah area of Shibam, Hadramawt on August 11. The source added that AQAP militants may have been residing in the house. No casualties have been reported.
- Reinforcements from the Yemeni 1st Regional Command arrived at the Yemeni military base in al Qatn, Hadramawt on August 8 to support the Yemeni military offensive against AQAP militants in Hadramawt. Separately, Yemeni military reinforcements arrived in al Hawtah, Lahij on August 10.
- Soldiers from the Yemeni 115th Brigade, supported by al Islah Party tribesmen, clashed with al Houthi militants in al Ghayl, al Jawf on August 8, wounding 14 civilians and damaging 14 houses. Separately, al Islah Party tribesmen clashed with al Houthi militants in the Naya district of al Ghayl, Jawf on August 11. No casualties have been reported.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants attacked an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) base in Bulo-Burde, Hiraan region over the night of August 8. Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abu Musab claimed that the fighting killed 18 combatants, including five al Shabaab militants, nine AMISOM soldiers, and four SNA soldiers. Somali government officials reported only that six al Shabaab militants died in the fighting. Separately, al Shabaab militants attacked AMISOM and SNA forces near Qoryoley, Lower Shabelle region on August 10. The AMISOM and SNA forces reportedly repelled the attack, securing the town and its outskirts after the fighting.
- Al Shabaab militants ambushed a Puntland administration vehicle, transporting Puntland military court chairman Abdirizak Haji Adan Ahmed, in Boosaaso, Bari region on August 9. Ahmed and his driver reportedly escaped the ambush without injury. Separately, a roadside IED detonated near an AMISOM vehicle travelling through Marka, Lower Shabelle region, killing at least one person, on August 9. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Somali national security forces and National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) officers raided a suspected al Shabaab safe house in the Heliwa district of Mogadishu on August 10. The security forces killed an alleged al Shabaab commander, identified as Nur Baraxow, and detained to two suspected al Shabaab militants during the operation. Separately, Somali security forces raided the residence of a former warlord, Abdi Nur Siyad, near Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu on August 10. NISA reported that, although Siyad evaded capture, the security forces arrested two suspected arms traffickers and seized weapons from the residence.
- Kenyan Air Force jets conducted airstrikes throughout forested areas of Lamu and Tana River counties in Kenya’s Coast Province over the past week, according to local sources. The airstrikes reportedly targeted al Shabaab-affiliated militants, linked to a recent series of raids in the province, hiding in the forests. Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) and Kenyan police officials denied the airstrikes, stating that the aircraft were supporting Kenyan AMISOM operations in Somalia.