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: Yemen government claims to have foiled AQAP attack; drone strike targets AQAP in Markha, Shabwah; four soldiers die under mysterious circumstances in Lahij; al Houthis shoot merchant in Sa’ada; Sana’a airport police find grenade in luggage; officials express concerns over new AQAP liquid bomb technology
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab defeated by Jubbaland forces in Afmadow, Lower Jubba; al Shabaab promises more attacks in Mogadishu and government bases; al Shabaab claims responsibility for murder of Deputy Commissioner in Wardhigley, Mogadishu; Kenya announces it is ready to withdraw troops from Somalia; Kenya opposes ceding control of Kismayo airport and seaport to Somali federal government; former Somali Prime Minister Professor Abdiweli Gaas to run for president of Puntland; imposters dressed as soldiers bother residents of War Maxan and Tihisle districts; Jubbaland releases statement on TCC summit in Uganda; fire closes international airport in Nairobi, Kenya
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni officials claimed on August 7 to have foiled an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) plot to take over strategic locations by having members pose as protesting soldiers. The targeted locations included facilities in Ghayl Ba Wazir and al Mukalla in Hadramawt, as well Belhaf in Shabwah. Officials said that AQAP also planned to blow up natural gas pipelines and kill foreign experts working at the facilities.
- A drone strike killed between six and seven suspected AQAP members in Wadi Markha, Shabwah governorate on August 7. The drone fired six missiles and destroyed two cars.
- Four soldiers from the 135th Armored Brigade were found shot dead under unclear circumstances in al Malah, Lahij governorate on August 7.
- Al Houthi gunmen raided a store in Sa’ada on August 6. They shot a merchant who had refused to pay zakat to the al Houthis. Last week al Houthis threw a bomb into the home of another merchant who had refused to pay.
- Airport police in Sana’a found a bomb in the luggage of a Yemeni passenger from Shabwah governorate bound for Jordan. An initial investigation determined the man was carrying it as part of a local culture of carrying weapons, and did not intend to commit a terrorist act.
- U.S. officials said on August 6 that they were worried that AQAP had developed a technique to apply liquid explosives to clothing, making them undetectable to current security measures when dry. They suspect Ibrahim al Asiri, the innovative bomb-maker who devised the 2009 “underwear bomb”, is responsible for the newest invention.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Jubbaland forces claim to have defeated al Shabaab in a large overnight battle in Afmadow district, Lower Jubba region. General Ismail Sahardid claimed that 20 al Shabaab fighters were killed and seven were detained. He also stated that two civilians had been killed and several houses had been destroyed by mortar fire.
- Al Shabaab has promised to carry out more attacks on Mogadishu as well as on government bases and the bases of African Union peacekeeping forces according to group spokesman Abdi Aziz Abu Mus'ab.
- Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the August 5 killing of Deputy Commissioner of Wardhigley district in Mogadishu Shire Ahmed Toko.
- Kenyan Principal Secretaries in the Defense Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry announced August 7 that Kenya is ready to begin withdrawing Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) from Somalia in compliance with the findings of Heads of State and Governments of countries contributing to AMISOM that Kenya has accomplished its mission.
- The Kenyan government is opposing the decision by regional leaders for Kenyan troops to cede control of the Kismayo airport and seaport to the Somali federal government.
- Former Somali Prime Minister Professor Abdiweli Gaas announced that he will seek election for the position of president of Puntland in the upcoming 2014 elections.
- Residents of the War Mahan and Tihisle districts in Lower Shabelle have called for government officials to deal with imposters dressed as soldiers who have collected revenues from the public and set up road barriers.
- Jubbaland released a statement on the summit of Troop Contributing Countries in Kampala, Uganda.
- A severe fire led to the shutdown of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the international airport in Nairobi. Incoming flights have been diverted to Mombasa and other airports in the region. The cause of the fire is under investigation.