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: ISIS Wilayat Green Brigade official defects from ISIS in Yemen; gunmen kill southern resistance leader in Aden; gunmen kidnap Aden University dean; al Houthi-Saleh forces claim missile targeted Saudi airport
Horn of Africa: Somali police clear arms cache in Mogadishu, Banadir region; al Shabaab spokesperson issues threats to government workers in Somalia; Kenyan security officials announce expansion of Operation Linda Boni area of operations
Yemen Security Brief
- The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Green Brigade, based in Ibb governorate, released a video on December 26 in which a senior jurisprudence official announced his defection from ISIS in Yemen while reaffirming his loyalty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. The video also named the governor (wali) of ISIS in Yemen as Abu Suleiman. This defection is part of a major split among ISIS members in Yemen, in which more than 100 members have petitioned al Baghdadi to dismiss the group’s governor in Yemen.
- Gunmen shot and killed militia leader Ahmed al Idrisi and four companions after ambushing their vehicle in Aden’s al Mansoura district on December 31. Al Idrisi was a leader in the Southern Movement and commanded popular resistance forces that cooperated with the Saudi-led coalition to drive al Houthi-Saleh forces out of Aden. In a separate incident on the same day, militants threw a hand grenade at the convoy of the commander of Yemen’s Fourth Military District in Inma city, Aden, injuring three of the commander’s escorts.
- Gunmen in an armored vehicle stormed the College of Engineering at Aden University and kidnapped its dean on December 31, two days after armed extremists stormed the campus demanding an end to the comingling of male and female students. The militants’ affiliation is unknown. Aden University canceled classes indefinitely in response to the attacks.
- Al Houthi-Saleh forces claimed to fire a Qaher-I ballistic missile targeting Abha International Airport in Asir province in southern Saudi Arabia on December 30. Reports of the missile launch are unconfirmed, and Saudi Arabia has not issued a response.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali police discovered a large arms cache in a mosque in Mogadishu, Banadir region on December 31. Police searched the mosque after receiving an intelligence report and recovered anti-aircraft weapons, grenade launchers, and rocket-propelled grenades.
- Sheikh Abdiazizi Abu Muscab, an al Shabaab spokesperson, issued threats against government workers on December 30. Muscab said that militants will target anyone working for or associated with the Somali government, noting that al Shabaab gunmen involved in recent targeted killings have successfully evaded security forces. Muscab’s threat comes amid an increase in assassinations of government workers.
- Kenyan security officials announced on December 31 that they will expand the area of operations (AO) for Operation Linda Boni. The offensive operation is meant to clear Jeysh Ayman, an al Shabaab militant cell, from Kenya’s southern Boni Forest area. Officials stated that they would conduct clearing operations in the settlements of Bothei, Pandangou, Pangani, and Witu, all located in Kenya’s Lamu County. The announcement comes after residents of Pandangou encountered unidentified militants in the area on December 22.