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 releases statement describing martyrdom operations in Abyan and Shabwah; AQAP releases statement describing methods to avoid a drone strike; AQAP militants clash with the Yemeni military in Hadramawt; Yemeni security forces apprehend suspected AQAP militants and bomb house in Hadramawt; suspected AQAP militant killed in prison cell in Hadramawt; al Islah Party tribesmen clash with al Houthi militants in al Jawf; Yemeni soldiers protest against their commanding officer in Sana’a; security forces discover a tunnel leading to former President Saleh’s house
Horn of Africa: Kenyan security forces arrest alleged leader of al Shabaab-affiliated militants operating in Kenya’s Coast Province; AMISOM forces fire upon demonstrators in Lower Shabelle region; unidentified gunmen ambush Norwegian oil exploration team in Sool region
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) insurgent arm, Ansar al Sharia, released a statement and pictures, entitled “Ansar al Sharia’s operations in Abyan reveal the hollowness of the Yemeni military’s alleged victories,” via Twitter on August 11. The statement described the operational details and identified participating militants in three Ansar al Sharia martyrdom operations in Abyan and Shabwah over the past two months.
- AQAP released a statement, entitled “Collective Advice for Avoiding American drone strikes,” via Twitter on August 10. Within the statement, AQAP provided advice to militants on evading a drone’s line of sight, minimizing damage to large militant groups, disabling mobile phones to prevent Global Position System (GPS) tracking, and disrupting other drone tracking methods.
- AQAP militants clashed with the Yemeni military at the entrance of Tarim, Hadramawt on August 11, resulting in no casualties. The clashes erupted shortly after the Yemeni Defense Minister, General Mohammed Nasser Ahmed, arrived to inspect Yemeni military checkpoints in Tarim.
- Yemeni security forces raided the house of Abdul Rab Bin Talib, a suspected Saudi AQAP militant, and arrested five construction workers from Hadramawt in Shibam, Hadramawt on August 11. Talib was not present at his house during the raid. Yemeni security forces transferred the five detainees to the Political Security building in Sayun, Hadramawt for interrogations regarding ongoing jihadist operations. Follow the transfer of detainees, Yemeni helicopters and tanks bombed a deserted house adjacent to Talib’s house, resulting in a large explosion. Anonymous local source reported that the second house may have been a weapons depot.
- An anonymous tribal source in the al Hawtah, Hadramawt reported that Yemeni security forces killed Sabri bin Talib, a suspected AQAP militant, in his prison cell in the Police Security prison in Sayun, Hadramawt on August 11. Anonymous Yemeni security officials reported that Sabri allegedly described AQAP’s chain of command, strategy and operations in Hadramawt during interrogations. Sabri bin Talib was an alleged associate of Ali Abdul Rab bin Talib.
- Al Islah Party tribesmen clashed with al Houthi militants in al Ghayl, al Jawf on August 12. Al Houthi militants reportedly seized the Security Administration and District buildings in al Ghayl. No casualties have been reported. Separately, al Houthi militants kidnapped the Director of the Office of Religious Endowments, Ali Mahdi al Rihmi, in Amran on August 11. The militants reportedly threatened to kill al Rimi if he returned to work, then released him.
- Yemeni peacekeeping soldiers from an unspecified military brigade protested against their commanding officer, Brigadier General Mohammad Alatmi, on a military base in Northern Sana’a on August 12. The soldiers successfully demanded the departure of General Alatmi after they were ordered to travel to Hadramawt unarmed.
- The General People’s Congress (GPC) announced that an assassination attempt against former President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was foiled when a tunnel leading to his home was discovered on August 11 in Sana’a. No party was blamed for the tunnel, and President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi ordered an investigation into the incident.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A Kenyan security task force, featuring police and Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF), arrested 16 suspected al Shabaab-affiliated militants operating in Kenya’s Coast Province, including the group’s alleged leader, during a security operation in the forests of Tana River County on August 11. A Kenyan security official reported that the suspects participated in a series of attacks, including the June 15 assault on Mpeketoni, 17 June attack on Poromoko, and July 5 twin raids in Gamba and Hindi, that collectively killed nearly 100 people.
- African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces fired upon a crowd of demonstrators, injuring at least six, in Marka, Lower Shabelle region on August 11. The incident occurred as residents protested AMISOM’s security operations, including the arrest of civilians, throughout the city. The governor of Lower Shabelle region, Abdul Khadir Sheikh Mohamed Noor, justified AMISOM’s violent reaction, insisting that the demonstrators were affiliated with al Shabaab.
- Unidentified gunmen ambushed a Norwegian oil exploration team, a component of DNO ASA, near Hudun, Sool region on August 11. The exploration team, contracted by the Somaliland administration, conducts oil surveying operations in territory disputed by the Puntland and Somaliland administrations. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.