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: AQAP militants kidnap and execute Yemeni soldier in Hadramawt; AQAP releases new online publication in English; Ansar al Sharia releases several statements via Twitter; Yemeni security forces clash with Ansar al Sharia militants in Hadramawt; airstrike kills suspected AQAP militants in Hadramawt; al Houthi supporters gather for protests in Sana’a; protests demand for dismissal of Yemeni Defense Minister outside of Yemeni President’s residence in Sana’a
Horn of Africa: AMISOM and Somali National Army forces seize territory in Hiraan region from al Shabaab; suspected al Shabaab militants kill Somali government soldier in Hiraan region; suspected al Shabaab militants ambush and detain quarrymen in Kenya’s North Eastern Province; Somali police raid residence of former Somali warlord in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants kidnapped and executed one Yemeni soldier and dumped his body along a street in Sayun, Hadramawt on August 15.
- AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem Media Foundation, released an online magazine titled, “Palestine, betrayal of the guilty conscience,” in English on August 16. The publication includes detailed bomb-making instructions and lists potential targets in the U.S. and Britain. The magazine also features writings of prominent al Qaeda leaders urging readers to fight against the U.S. and Israel.
- AQAP’s insurgent arm, Ansar al Sharia, released a statement on August 14 via Twitter describing operational details and identified participating militants in recent operations in al Mukalla, Hadramawt. Ansar al Sharia asserted that the August 14 operation to loot the Mukalla branch of the International Bank of Yemen was ineffective because Ansar al Sharia canceled the ongoing operation due to the high number of civilians around the bank. Ansar al Sharia released a separate statement on August 16 describing the operational details and the weapons used in the August 13 clashes between militants and the Yemeni military at Fort Bala’id near Ahwar, Abyan.
- Yemeni security forces from the Yemeni First Regional Command and Yemeni 23rd Armored Brigade raided a house and clashed with Ansar al Sharia militants in al Qatn, Hadramawt on August 17. A separate group of Ansar al Sharia militants attacked the Yemeni security forces during the raid. Yemeni government and military officials reported that the confrontation killed seven militants and one Yemeni soldier before security forces arrested five militants. Following the clashes, Ansar al Sharia released a statement, asserting that only two militants, Abu Laith al Sharuri and Kasab al Muhajir, died during the fighting.
- An airstrike struck a vehicle traveling near the Wadia border post along Yemeni-Saudi border in Hadramawt on August 16, killing three suspected AQAP militants. Anonymous Yemeni sources reported that the car was traveling to a training camp near the Yemeni-Saudi border.
- Al Houthi supporters gathered in Sana’a to protest the recent removal of government subsidies on gasoline prices on August 18. The protests were matched by an increase in military presence throughout the city. Separately, dozens of al Islah Party tribesmen protested in front of Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s residence in Sana’a on August 16, calling for the dismissal of Yemeni Defense Minister, Mohammed Nasser Ahmed, and claiming Ahmed’s inability to curb AQAP activities in Hadramawt has weakened the morale of the Yemeni military. 
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) forces seized territory, including Abesale, Buq Gosar, El Ade, Badi Keen, and Far Libah, in Hiraan region from al Shabaab on August 16. The al Shabaab militants operating in the area reportedly withdrew without significant confrontation. The seizures came during the initial phase of AMISOM and SNA’s renewed offensive against al Shabaab, Operation Indian Ocean, in southern and central Somalia.
- Suspected al Shabaab militants raided the residence of a Somali government soldier, killing him and stealing his weapon, in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on August 16. Somali security forces responded to the incident by firing upon suspects in the area, inadvertently killing a bystander. Al Shabaab has not yet claimed responsibility for the incident.
- Suspected al Shabaab militants ambushed and briefly detained at least 22 Kenyan quarrymen near Mandera in Kenya’s North Eastern Province on August 17. The militants reportedly transported the quarrymen towards the Somali border before robbing then releasing them. Al Shabaab has not yet claimed responsibility for the incident.
- Somali police raided the residence of former Somali warlord and pirate Mohamed Osman Mohamud Galool, also known as Garfaje, in the Wardhigley district of Mogadishu on August 17. Somali police arrested Galool and as many as fifteen others and confiscated weapons and ammunition during the raid, which came as Somali security forces continue to conduct a large disarmament operation throughout the capital.