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: Suicide attack kills 46 in Batis, near Jaar; resulting clashes and arrests in Abyani city; bomb intercepted in Shabwah camp; two explosions hit Taiz and Sana’a on Friday; aerial strike kills four suspected militants in Hadramawt; Aden refinery resumes production; al Houthi and anti-Saleh protests in Sana’a on Friday and Saturday respectively
Horn of Africa: Landmine blast kills two in Mogadishu; unknown gunmen assassinate Puntland legislator in Garowe; TFG, SNA, and AMISOM recapture towns from al Shabaab and call for humanitarian aid in Lower Shabelle region; Hillary Clinton meets with TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in Nairobi; Somalis gather in Mogadishu to celebrate one-year mark since al Shabaab’s withdrawal from Mogadishu; al Shabaab leader delivers speech urging Somalis to join jihad
Yemen Security Brief
- A militant blew himself up at a funeral ceremony organized by Abdul Latif al Sayyed, leader of the local popular resistance committees in the Abyani city of Batis late on August 4. The attack killed 46 and wounded 28. The suicide bomber entered the gathering by pretending to be a guest. Ansar al Sharia claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to Reuters and threatened to stage a larger attack in the future. Clashes erupted between government troops and suspected Ansar al Sharia militants in Batis in the hours following the attack. A local authority blamed lack of state police presence.
- Popular committees and security forces in Jaar arrested ten men suspected of belonging to the cell responsible for Saturday’s suicide bombing in Batis on August 6. Four of the militants were disguised as women while the remaining six were hiding indoors.
- Members of the 21st Mechanized Brigade in Shabwah governorate arrested a man in plain clothes carrying a bomb in their camp. The suspect had conspired with soldiers to detonate the explosive inside the camp mosque.
- An explosion killed five people and injured seven in a market in Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, after a man threw a bomb from a motorcycle into a crowd on August 3. A second explosion at an internet café in a qat market in the capital, Sana’a, killed one the same day. No one has claimed responsibility for either attack.
- A suspected U.S. drone killed four members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) travelling in a vehicle in the village of al Qatan in Hadramawt governorate on August 4.
- The Aden refinery has returned to production at a decreased rate after a nine-month hiatus caused by attacks on the Ma’rib pipeline, according to a refinery official. The port began to receive crude oil shipments from the Red Sea Ras Isa oil terminal, also in Yemen, in late July.
- Thousands of al Houthis marched in Sana’a against President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s perceived aggression against the al Houthi movement and Saudi and American influence on August 4.
- Mass protests rallied against the continuing influence of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in cities across Yemen on Friday. Tens of thousands demanded the removal of Saleh’s allies and family from important positions. The largest demonstrations occurred in Sana’a and Taiz.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Locals said that two civilians were killed by a landmine blast in a market in Mogadishu’s Heliwa district on August 5. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Somali security officials and witnesses reported that Puntland legislator Abdukadir Sheikh Mohamud was assassinated by unidentified gunmen in Garowe in Nugal region. The assailants managed to escape after gunning down Sheikh Mohamud as he left from morning prayers at a mosque.
- Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Commander General Abdikarin Yussuf Aden called for humanitarian aid in areas recently captured from al Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle region. Aden said that KM-50, KM-60, and Aw Dheegle were the most badly affected areas. The Somali National Army (SNA), backed by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces, seized control of KM-50, KM-60, and Muuri on August 4.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with TFG President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and other Somali leaders in Nairobi, Kenya on August 4 to discuss Somalia’s political process to end its transitional phase by August 20. Clinton remarked, “We are very encouraged by the progress the leaders have been making to meet all the requirements of the road map by the [August] 20 deadline.” A day later, President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed reportedly walked out of a roadmap signatories meeting in Nairobi and flew back to Mogadishu. President Ahmed said that he left the meeting due to “other engagements” and not out of anger.
- Thousands of Somalis reportedly gathered in Mogadishu’s sports stadium to celebrate the one-year anniversary of al Shabaab’s withdrawal from the capital.
- Al Shabaab’s radio station, al Andalus, broadcasted a speech by al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair, also known as Ahmed Abdi Godane, on June 18. In the speech, Zubair encourages Somalis to take up arms against the “disbelievers” in order to instate shari’a law. Additionally, Zubair urges current al Shabaab militants to continue their fight against local and foreign adversaries: “We should realize that the disbelievers will never approve of us. Beware of the agents of the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and do not take the governor of the disbelievers as your own, for he is no authority.”