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: Parliament reviews unmanned aerial vehicle strikes; long-range rockets aimed at LNG; al Houthi fighters in Amran; Southern Movement leader supports tribal movement in Hadramawt; two Guantanamo detainees released to Saudi Arabia; Yemeni government compensates victims of al Bayda airstrike; foiled kidnapping attempt on Japanese diplomat in Sana’a
Horn of Africa: Nairobi bombing kills at least six people; al Shabaab attacks military base in Mogadishu; blast in Wajir, Kenya kills one person; clashes in Lower Shabelle region kill at least twelve people; over 600 people arrested in Baidoa, Bay region; al Shabaab opens new Twitter account
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemen’s Parliament discussed the “repeated violations” by unmanned aerial vehicle strikes and consequences of these strikes on December 15. In a “nearly unanimous but non-binding vote,” Parliament emphasized the need to readjust, and possibly terminate, these military operations in Yemen. President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi has publically supported the U.S.-Yemen bilateral military initiative against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) using unmanned aerial vehicle strikes.
- Yemeni security forces found long-range rockets in a nearby neighborhood following a recent attack on the LNG gas and oil company in Belhaf, Shabwah goverorate. Security officials claim the rockets were facing in the direction of the LNG company in Belhaf.
- Violence in Dammaj in Sa’ada governorate has spilled over into the neighboring governorate of Amran, which saw clashes between al Houthi fighters and local tribesmen over the weekend. Sources announced nearly 20 deaths from all sides. Tribal leaders are scheduled to meet on December 16 to discuss the clashes with al Houthi militants.
- Southern Movement leader Qassem Askar announced his full support for a “peaceful” movement by the tribes of Hadramawt against the local government in response to anger over the death of a local tribal sheikh at a government checkpoint. The date of tribal protest has been set for December 20 after tribes announced a 10-day timeframe during which government forces have been asked to leave the Hadramawt governorate. 
- The U.S. Department of Defense announced the return of Guantanamo detainees Saad Muhammad Husayn Qahtani and Hamood Abdulla Hamood to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on December 16. The Guantanamo Review Task Force cleared both men, and Congress is aware of the intent to transfer.
- Yemeni tribal leader Mohammed Nasser, a “mediator” between the Yemeni government and those affected by airstrikes, claimed a $140,000 compensation fee paid out to the families of the victims of a December 12 attack on a wedding convoy in al Bayda.
- Japanese diplomat to Yemen Katsusuke Sotomini was stabbed multiple times after a failed kidnapping attempt made in Sana’a on December 15. The attack occurred while Sotomini was driving in Sana’a and is part of an increasing number of assassination attempts over the past few months.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Kenyan police have released a photo of 21-year-old Hussein Nur Mohamed, whom they allege to be behind the December 14 matatu bombing. At least six people were killed and over 30 others injured when a bomb was detonated remotely, hitting the bus along Juja Road in Eastleigh, Nairobi.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali military base in Araf neighborhood in Mogadishu’s Yaqshid district late on December 14. Al Shabaab used rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) in the attack and al Shabaab military spokesman Sheikh Abdi Aziz Abu Mus’ab claimed the attack as part of an al Shabaab operation targeting Mogadishu bases. At least seven people were killed.
- Twin explosions in Wajir, Kenya near the Somalia border killed at least one person and injured three others on December 13.
- Infighting between two Somali government army units killed at least twelve people, including civilians, in Aw Dheegle village in Lower Shabelle region. At least twenty others were injured. The fighting was based on clan issues and access to agricultural lands. A confidential section of the UN Monitoring Group report on Somalia reported that the 3rd Brigade from the Somali National Army was deployed to Lower Shabelle and that the unit is primarily from the Hawiye / Habar Gedir / Ayr clan.
- Somali government security forces arrested 600 individuals suspected of ties to al Shabaab in Baidoa, the capital of Bay region on December 14. The Baidoa Police Station Chief Colonel Mahad Abdirahman said that the operation was to prevent al Shabaab from conducting attacks.
- Al Shabaab reportedly opened a new Twitter account on December 16. As of September, Twitter had suspended at least six separate accounts used by the group.