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: Yemeni army attacks tribesmen in Ma’rib governorate; al Anad airbase commander survives assassination attempt in Lahij governorate; al Qaeda denies responsibility for assassination of Saudi military attaché; assailants kidnap and kill local businessman in Hadramawt governorate; security forces seize security equipment at al Hudaydah port; al Houthi propaganda reportedly spreads to southern Sana’a; Kuwaiti newspaper says Iran has spent $1 billion in Yemen; Republican Guard troops rebel in al Bayda governorate; al Houthi rebels arrest 14 individuals in Sa’ada governorate; unidentified gunmen intercept vehicle carrying government salaries in Hadramawt governorate
Horn of Africa: Somali troops capture Bulo Hawo, Bay region; grenade attack targets army base in Kismayo; Kenyan police arrest 30 suspected al Shabaab militants in Garissa, Kenya; IED hits a convoy carrying AMISOM soldiers in Marka, Lower Shabelle; 20 al Shabaab prisoners escape from jail in Baidoa, Bay region; Somali Interior Minister survives assassination attempt in Shalambood, Lower Shabelle region; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a forces conduct security operations in Dhusamareb, Galgudud region; unknown assailants throw petrol bomb at police station in Mombasa, Kenya; clan fighting breaks out in Galgudud region; Somali forces remove roadblocks in Beledweyne, Hiraan region and Mogadishu; Puntland administration says people are fleeing homes because of al Shabaab tension in the Galgala Mountains; Somali Defense and Interior Ministers visit Marka and Balad, Lower Shabelle region; EU special envoy says EU will help strengthen Somali security
Yemen Security Brief
- The Yemeni army shelled tribesmen in Wadi Abeidah region of Ma’rib governorate on December 2. Local sources reported that roughly 30 tanks and other armored vehicles participated in the offensive against tribesmen suspected of attacking oil pipelines. One of the suspected tribesmen, identified as Mohammad Kalfoot, reportedly retaliated by attacking a gas-powered electricity station in Ma’rib governorate. The attack knocked out electricity for a number of governorates in Yemen.
- Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Ahmed Salem al Subaihi, commander of al Anad airbase, survived an assassination attempt in Lahij governorate on December 2. Local sources reported that gunmen in a four-wheel vehicle attacked Maj. Gen. Subaihi’s vehicle; however, the attack did not result in injuries. The alleged attacker was reportedly wounded and arrested following the attack.
- Local sources reported on December 2 that al Qaeda has denied responsibility for the assassination of Saudi military attaché Khalid al Anzi. Anzi was assassinated near his residence in southern Sana’a on November 28. Local sources added additional details to the incident, stating that the suspected attackers attempted to kidnap Anzi initially. Anzi reportedly resisted the kidnapping attempt, resulting in the attackers opening fire on his vehicle.
- Unidentified assailants kidnapped and killed a local businessman in al Mukalla city of Hadramawt governorate on December 1. The body of the businessman, identified as Abdullah al Amoudi, was found in the streets of al Mukalla city on December 2. The assailants reportedly called Amoudi’s relatives to inform them of his death so they could collect his body. President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi ordered security forces to carry out an investigation of the incident.
- Security forces seized cargo containing security equipment at al Hudaydah port on December 2. Local sources added that the cargo was shipped from China and included anti-riot equipment, bullet-proof shields, bullet cartridges, and army helmets.
- Local sources reported on December 1 that al Houthi propaganda has spread to Hadda district of Sana’a. Hadda district is a diplomatic and commercial center of Sana’a.
- A Kuwaiti newspaper reported on December 2 that Iran has spent one billion dollars to support al Houthi rebels with weapons and funds. The newspaper added that Iran intends to double that figure. According to the newspaper, Iran has recruited roughly 1,200 fighters from Sana’a, Aden, Taiz, and Sa’ada and sent them to Syria and Lebanon for training.
- Yemeni Republican Guard troops rebelled against their leadership in al Bayda governorate on November 30. Local sources reported that roughly 300 Republican Guard troops protested against their leadership, accusing their commanders of stealing salaries from the troops. The Republican Guard troops reportedly demanded to be transferred to other units and refused talks with a mediation committee.
- Al Houthi rebels arrested at least 14 individuals in Sa’ada governorate on November 30. Local sources reported that al Houthi rebels shut down local mosques, prevented individuals from conducting Friday prayers, and commanded merchants to pay taxes.
- Unidentified gunmen intercepted a vehicle carrying government salaries in Hadramawt governorate on December 3. Local sources reported that the vehicle was carrying roughly 10 million Yemeni Riyals.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali troops captured an al Shabaab base in the town of Bulo Hawo, Bay region on December 3. Four al Shabaab militants, one Somali soldier and two additional people were killed during the fight. A resident in the area told the media that al Shabaab leader Mohamed Hajji Fugow, former head of Bardale police, was also killed in the attack.
- A grenade attack targeted a Somali army base in Kismayo on December 1. One civilian was killed in the blast and at least five others were injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Kenyan police arrested 30 Somali nationals who were suspected al Shabaab militants in Garissa, Kenya on December 1. The Somalis were arrested in connection with the killings of three Kenyan army soldiers that occurred in Garissa two weeks prior. Kenyan police stopped the suspects as they were traveling to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.
- A convoy carrying AMISOM soldiers was hit by a roadside bomb in Marka, Lower Shabelle on December 2. The blast significantly damaged the vehicle but exact casualties are not yet known. Following the blast AMISOM troops cleared the area and fired their weapons indiscriminately, causing additional unconfirmed casualties.
- Twenty al Shabaab militants escaped from a prison in Baidoa, Bay on December 2. It is suspected that the inmates reached an agreement with the guards and were able to walk out the front door. Local forces immediately launched a search for the escaped militants.
- Somali Interior Minister Abdikarem Hassan Guled survived an assassination attempt on December 3 in Shalambood, Lower Shabelle region. Interior Minister Guled’s convoy was headed from Marka to Mogadishu when it was struck by a roadside bomb. Al Shabaab soldiers attacked the convoy following the blast but Interior Minister Guled was able to flee the scene before the fighting started. At least ten Somali soldiers were killed in the attack.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a forces restricted movement in and out of Dhusamareb, Galgudud region on December 3. Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a troops locked down the four main roads out of the city and will keep them closed for two days. They are planning to conduct security operations in the city.
- Unknown attackers threw a petrol bomb at a police station in Mombasa, Kenya on December 2. The assailants first arrived at the police station saying they wanted to file a complaint. One officer was injured and the reason behind the attack is not known.
- Fighting broke out between two clans in Balal Dheer, Galgudud region on December 2. The fighting erupted because of a dispute over a water well. At least 38 people have died and 30 have been injured. Himan and Heeb leaders say they have been able to restore peace to the area.
- Somali and AMISOM troops removed roadblocks in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on December 1. Somali police in the Banadir region also said that they have finally removed all of the roadblocks in Mogadishu on December 3. The removal comes after Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud demanded roadblocks in towns across the country be taken down.
- The Puntland administration says that over 450 people have been forced to flee their homes in the Galgala Mountains due to tensions between Puntland forces and al Shabaab militants. The civilians have moved to a refugee camp in El Dahir, Bari region.
- The Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Mohamoud Haji Faqi, and the Somali Interior Minister Guled visited Marka and Balad, Lower Shabelle region on December 2. Defense Minister Fiqi said the final push against al Shabaab was coming soon and that the Somali army would not stop until al Shabaab was completely dismantled.
- The European Union (EU) Special Envoy to Somalia, Michele Cervone D’Urso, said that the EU would help Somalia in fighting the terrorist organization al Shabaab. D’Urso said he hopes EU offices will be open in Mogadishu by next year.