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: Southern Movement militants ambush Yemeni soldiers in al Dhaleh; explosion kills Yemeni soldiers in Sana’a; Yemeni security forces arrest suspected AQAP militants in Aden
Horn of Africa: Somali government forces clash with al Shabaab in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab claims responsibility for killing of security official in Lower Jubba region; Somali jihadist calls for al Qaeda leadership to address al Shabaab corruption; Ethiopian AMISOM contingent and al Shabaab posture for confrontation; pirates attempt to hijack Kenyan ship off Somali coast; former Somali National Army soldiers join al Shabaab
Yemen Security Brief
- Southern Movement militants ambushed a Yemeni army convoy belonging to the 33rd Armored Brigade near al Dhaleh city on February 18, kidnapping 14 soldiers. Seven soldiers and five civilians also died in the fighting.
- A blast struck a vehicle carrying Yemeni troops in Hizyaz district in south Sana’a on February 18, killing two soldiers and wounding at least ten others.
- Yemeni security forces disrupted on February 15 a plan by suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants to attack an oil refinery in Aden, arresting 27 militants including al Qaeda leaders.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali government forces clashed with al Shabaab between the towns of El Danane and Gendershe near Marka in Lower Shabelle region on February 15. The fighting came a day after al Shabaab raided Gendershe, a town seized by government forces on February 5. At least ten individuals, from both sides, were killed in the fighting. A Lower Shabelle regional official reported that AMISOM and Somali government troops are posturing in preparation for an offensive into Barawe and Qoryoley, al Shabaab strongholds in the region.
- Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the targeted killing of Sheikh Mohamud Ghalib Isse Kamboni, the chief of intelligence and security for the interim Jubba administration, in Kismayo on February 17. Isse Kamboni was a prominent figure in the Ras Kamboni Brigade, led by Ahmed Madobe, in 2012 when the militia assisted Kenyan Defense Forces in liberating Kismayo from al Shabaab control. One of Isse Kamboni’s bodyguards, linked to al Shabaab, is suspected of carrying out the killing.
- The Islamic World Issues Study Center published a message from Abu Yusuf, a Somali jihadist, on February 7. Abu Yusuf praised al Qaeda leadership’s decision to disavow the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and appealed to al Qaeda to address the jihadist infighting in Somalia, particularly the corruption of al Shabaab’s leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.
- Al Shabaab militants fled Hudur, the capital of Bakool region, as Ethiopian forces advanced toward the town on February 15. Additional reports indicate that al Shabaab leaders and militants have retreated from areas in Hiraan and Galgudud regions and have gathered in Harardhere district in Mudug region as Ethiopian forces prepare to launch an offensive against al Shabaab in central Somalia.
- A Kenyan merchant ship was attacked by pirates in Somali waters while en route to Mogadishu on February 14. The attempted hijacking is the first piracy incident off the coast of Somalia in 2014.
- A former al Shabaab officer has claimed that at least 50 former Somali National Army soldiers joined al Shabaab following the Somali National Army’s dismissal of approximately 700 soldiers on February 4.