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: At least 29 people killed in Taiz; al Qaeda-linked militants kill five 201st brigade troops in Zinjibar; unidentified gunmen kill high-ranking police officer in Shabwah governorate; new military council formed
Horn of Africa: Bomb kills Kenyan policeman in Dadaab refugee camp; Ugandan troops graduate from training camp for deployment to Somalia; AU reiterates call for no-fly zone over Somalia; fighting between TFG, AMISOM, and al Shabaab breaks out in Heliwa district in Mogadishu; explosion kills one person near a Mogadishu hospital; two European women kidnapped in Afgoi; TFG forces clear explosives near market in Wadajir in Mogadishu; al Shabaab burns food aid in Barawe in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab closes medical facilities in Afgoi; protesters march in Beledweyne and Mogadishu against al Shabaab
Yemen Security Brief
- Violent clashes between Republican Guard troops and opposition tribesmen killed at least 29 people and injured at least 59 others in Taiz since December 2. Among those killed were reportedly 13 civilians and at least eight opposition tribesmen. At least 53 others were reportedly injured. The Defense Ministry also reported that seven soldiers had been killed in the clashes. Witnesses reported that government attacks were concentrated in the al Hasab, Beer Basha, Wadi al Qadi, and al Murur neighborhoods. Government snipers also opened fire on protesters killing one person and injuring at least seven others in the al Hasab neighborhood in Taiz. Fighting continued despite a December 3 issued ceasefire.
- Al Qaeda-linked militants attacked a 201st brigade military base killing five troops and 12 al Qaeda-linked militants in Zinjibar in Abyan governorate.
- A security official reported that unidentified gunmen killed the director of military police investigations for Yemen’s eastern military zone, Lt. Col. Khalid Saleh al Wasmani, in al Irqa in Shabwah governorate on December 4. The gunmen reportedly ambushed his convoy as it was en route to military police investigations headquarters. The official added that al Qaeda is suspected to be responsible for the attack.
- Yemeni Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi announced the formation of a 14-member military council on December 4. Vice President Hadi will head the committee and the General People’s Congress (GPC) and the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) will each receive seven seats on the council. Yemeni Ministers of Defense and Interior are also among the council members. The council is tasked with reforming the military, ending the fighting, and facilitating the return of the military to its barracks. JMP leader Yasin Said Numan said, "The formation of the committee is a good step," but added "What concerns us is continued moves towards implementing the transfer of power under the ... Gulf initiative without the nomination of anyone accused of human rights violations." A ruling party official also said that the GPC was not pleased with the opposition nominees to the committee.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A bomb exploded in Ifo refugee camp, part of the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya, killing one policeman and wounding three others. The officers were a part of a convoy escorting UN officials into the camp. Kenyan North Eastern provincial police commander Leo Nyongesa said that the bomb went off when the officers exited their vehicle.
- Ugandan soldiers graduated from Singo training camp, where they received training in urban warfare and peacekeeping operations. The group of 2,329 soldiers, members of battle group nine, will deploy to Mogadishu to replace Uganda’s battle group seven.
- The African Union Peace and Security Council reiterated its call for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Somalia. Further, the council has called for the blockade of ports held by al Shabaab: Harardhere, Marka, Barawe, and Kismayo.
- Fighting broke out on December 4 in Heliwa district in Mogadishu between TFG forces, backed by AMISOM troops, and al Shabaab militants. The fighting also spread to Yaqshid district before al Shabaab was pushed out. SONNA reports that al Shabaab suffered heavy losses during the battle.
- A bomb exploded near Digfer hospital in Mogadishu, killing one person and wounding three others. Humanitarian organizations from Iran and Turkey distribute aid in the area.
- Al Shabaab kidnapped two European women in Afgoi in Lower Shabelle Region on December 4, one from Spain and the other from France.
- TFG forces cleared several explosives planted near a market in Wadajir district in Mogadishu. Most of the shops in the market were subsequently closed fearing bombings.
- Al Shabaab militants in Barawe in Lower Shabelle region burned 1,800 sacks of beans, which had been supplied by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as food aid for famine relief, claiming that the beans were poisoned. Locals reported that al Shabaab did not provide evidence to substantiate the claim.
- Al Shabaab militants shut down several medical facilities that provided free medical aid to famine victims in Afgoi in Lower Shabelle region.
- SONNA reported that thousands of protestors marched in Beledweyne in Hiraan region to protest al Shabaab and the imposition of strict shari’a. Several of the protestors also threw stones at vehicles owned by al Shabaab militants. According to SONNA, al Shabaab militants opened fire on the group, killing several of the protestors. Residents also marched in Daynile district in Mogadishu protesting the death of civilians caused by al Shabaab’s bombings.