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: al Houthis claim control of al Rabuah city in southern Saudi Arabia; Morocco to send 1,500 troops to Saudi Arabia for coalition operations in Yemen; AQAP sets up local council in Jaar city in Abyan governorate; AQAP to release “Guardians of Shari’ah” documentary
Horn of Africa: Unidentified gunmen attack Galmudug MP in Galkayo, Mudug region; al Shabaab attempts ambush on SNA and AMISOM convoy near Baar and Eldheer towns, Hiraan region; Galmudug and Puntland heads meet to discuss ceasefire agreement in Galkayo, Mudug region
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Masirah TV, a pro-al Houthi media outlet, released a series of videos on December 3 purportedly showing al Houthi militias occupying al Rabuah city in Najran province, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi military turned back an al Houthi assault on Najran district earlier in the week.
- Morocco announced on December 4 that it will send at least 1,500 troops, including military police and paratroopers, to assist in the Saudi-led coalition’s ground operations in Yemen. This contingent reportedly includes soldiers that participated in African Lion 2015, a joint training exercise with the United States military conducted in Morocco’s Tan Tan province. The Moroccan troops are expected to arrive at King Khaled Air Base in Saudi Arabia in the coming days.
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) reportedly formed a local council to govern Jaar city in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen on December 4. AQAP militants stormed Jaar and Abyan’s capital city Zinjibar earlier this week. Reports indicate that AQAP forces withdrew from Jaar, but the group is maintaining a governmental and military presence in the area.
- AQAP’s al Malahim Media Foundation announced on December 3 that it will release a documentary entitled “Guardians of Shari’ah.” The documentary is likely intended to reinforce AQAP’s position as the dominant jihadist organization in Yemen in response to media challenges by the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS).
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Unidentified gunmen attempted to assassinate a Galmudug member of parliament (MP) on December 4 in Galkayo, Mudug region. The gunmen opened fire on the MP’s vehicle, killing one of the passengers and wounding the MP, who is in stable condition.
- Al Shabaab militants attempted to ambush a Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy near Baar and Eldheer towns, Hiraan region on December 4. The SNA and AMISOM forces repulsed the attack, killing at least 15 militants.
- The heads of the Galmudug and Puntland administrations met for peace talks overseen by Somalia’s prime minister on December 4 in Galkayo, Mudug region. This is the second ceasefire meeting this week, following the violation of the first ceasefire agreement on December 3.