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: U.S. evacuates diplomatic personnel; two drone strikes in Ma’rib; tribesmen shoot down helicopter in Ma’rib; U.S. Navy repositions in the Red Sea; surveillance planes fly over Sana’a; grenade attack in al Mahwit; U.K., Dutch, and French embassies extend closures; security director of Radfan, Lahij survives assassination; presidential directive launches campaign to stop clashes in Ibb; security disarms IED in Hadramawt; gunmen shoot at GPC headquarters in Shabwah; Ansar al Sharia warns “witches” to repent; military vehicle explodes in al Dhaleh; Yemeni government says it has taken necessary precautions; Yemeni officials release list of 25 terrorists planning attacks
Horn of Africa: Gunmen kill deputy commissioner of Wardhigley district, Mogadishu; police tighten security in Baidoa; Somali government will take control of assets in Kismayo; Puntland government severs ties with central government; President Kenyatta calls for Africa to focus on uprooting al Shabaab; Minister of Natural Resources signs agreement with U.K. gas company; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a will not let non-members hold government positions; Ambassador Annadif condemns al Shabaab attack
Yemen Security Brief
- The U.S. evacuated all non-essential diplomatic personnel from Yemen in military transports on August 6. The State Department urged all Americans to leave Yemen.
- The U.S. launched two drone strikes in Ma’rib, Yemen on August 6. The first strike killed four al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) suspects in a car in al Damashqa. The second strike targeted a suspect’s house but resulted in no casualties. 
- Tribal gunmen shot at a helicopter, causing it to crash in Ma’rib on August 6. Six military personnel died in the crash, including the commander of the 107th Brigade. The helicopter was reportedly on a mission to attack saboteurs in Ma’rib.
- Sources reported that U.S. Navy amphibious ships in the Red Sea moved closer to Yemen.
- Citizens reported seeing planes flying over Sana’a on August 6. An official in the Yemeni Air Force stated that they were Yemeni planes. However, other sources reported that they were American P-3 Orion surveillance planes.
- One person died and twelve were injured after a man threw a grenade into a crowd of worshipers at a mosque in al Mahwit on August 5.
- The U.K. announced on August 6 the withdrawal of all embassy personnel in Yemen and the closure of the embassy until further notice. The Dutch embassy also announced it was closing, and the French embassy extended its closure until August 14.
- Gunmen attempted to assassinate the security director of Radfan, Lahij governorate on August 6. His guard and a bystander were seriously wounded.
- The 55th Artillery Brigade launched a campaign under a presidential directive to stop the clashes between al Houthis and tribesmen in al Radma, Ibb governorate.
- Security forces disarmed an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in the car of a member of the Aifan checkpoint in al Qatan, Hadramawt governorate on August 6.
- Unknown gunmen shot at the General People’s Congress (GPC) headquarters in Shabwah on August 6, wounding one member.
- Ansar al Sharia issued a statement on August 6 demanding that all “witches” repent in a mosque in front of God and Muslims. They asked for cooperation from Muslims in identifying suspected witches.
- An explosion incapacitated a military vehicle in Sanah, al Dhaleh governorate on August 6. Eye witnesses reported that soldiers in armored vehicles opened fire randomly on the surrounding area before towing the vehicle away. Casualties are unknown.
- The Yemeni Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on August 6 that the government has taken all necessary steps to protect foreign diplomats in Sana’a, and the evacuation of embassy personnel “serves the interests of the extremists.”
- Yemeni officials released a list of 25 names of people they said are linked to AQAP and are plotting attacks in Yemen. The list includes Ibrahim al Rubaish and Ibrahim al Asiri, but does not include Nasser al Wahayshi.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Shire Ahmed Toko, the Deputy Commissioner of Mogadishu’s Wardhigley district, was shot and killed on the night of August 5 by unidentified gunmen. The motive of the attack is unknown and no arrests have been made.
- Police in Baidoa tightened security ahead of festivities marking the end of Ramadan. Baidoa police chief Mukhtar Ahmed Dugudow promised to tighten security and protect civilians.
- Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced on August 6 that the central government will take control of government assets in Kismayo, Lower Jubba including the militia-controlled airport and seaport.
- The government of the semi-autonomous Puntland region announced August 6 that it severed ties with Somalia’s central government.
- President of Mogadishu Uhuru Kenyatta called for Africa to remain focused on its priority to uproot al Shabaab from Somalia and maintain stability in the country.
- The Minister of Natural Resources announced on August 6 that the Somali government has signed an agreement with the UK’s Soma Oil and Gas Exploration Ltd that will allow the latter to conduct seismic surveying that will help develop Somalia’s hydrocarbon sector and bring in foreign investment.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a group said on August 6 that they will never let non-Ahlu Sunna members hold any positions in any region controlled by the group.
- Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, has condemned Sunday’s al Shabaab attacks on Mogadishu and stated that “Protecting the people from this terrorist menace continues to be the top priority of AMISOM and the Somali government.”