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 journalist posts summary of Adil al Abab eulogy video; Former President Saleh decides to leave Yemen for medical treatment – supporters protest outside his house; Dutch citizen kidnapped and recovered; UN Security Council issues statement on Yemen political transition; Yemeni Army forces clash with Ansar al Sharia near Walad al Rab’ia, al Bayda governorate; military aircraft crashes near Change Square in Sana’a; Southern Movement gunmen set up checkpoint in al Dhaleh governorate; Central Security Forces clash with gunmen in al Dhaleh governorate; airstrikes on reported al Qaeda positions in Ma’rib governorate; Yemeni security forces raid Khormaksar, Aden and destroy Southern Movement graffiti; President Hadi reportedly threatens to replace Hajjah governor Ali al Qaysi; grenade explodes in Sana’a; Yemeni security forces exchange fire with gunmen near al Dhaleh city entrance; gunmen in al Hussein district, al Dhaleh governorate storm security building in revenge killing; Technical Committee for the National Dialogue asks all political parties except Socialists to re-submit lists of representatives; two gunmen riding a motorcycle kill former al Qaeda leader Jamal Na’iran; elements from the 3rd Mountain Infantry and 14th Republican Guard Brigades join al Houthis to prevent shopkeepers from opening stores in Ma’rib city
Horn of Africa: A car bomb explodes in front of a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia; Somali and AMISOM troops take Bulagudud, Lower Jubba region; Somali and Ethiopian troops take al Shabaab bases in Bay region; AMISOM troops take Mahaday, Middle Shabelle region; al Shabaab militants clash with armed civilians in Adale, Middle Shabelle region; bomber accidentally blows himself up in Garissa, Kenya; Somali security officials arrest three al Shabaab militants in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Somali and AMISOM troops conduct security operations in Lower Shabelle region; three al Shabaab militants defect in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; al Shabaab militants arrest five truck drivers in Bardera, Gedo region; Somali soldier shoots and kills teacher in Kismayo, Lower Jubba; unknown gunmen shoot and kill traditional elder in Dhusamareb, Galgudud region; unknown gunmen shoot and kill three civilians in Garsor, Mudug region; al Shabaab leaders ask civilians in Lower Shabelle region for help; families of Kenyan hostages say that they will negotiate with al Shabaab; U.S. representative travels to Mogadishu; Somali defense minister calls on the U.S. to help Somalia fight al Shabaab; Danish court charges two brothers with plotting a terrorist attack; residents in Galkayo, Mudug region elect new mayor
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni journalist Abdul Razzaq al Jamal posted a summary of a future al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) video eulogizing AQAP Sharia official Abu Zubair Adil al Abab, reported deceased, on Facebook on February 13. The video reportedly includes speeches from AQAP figures Ibrahim al Rubaish and Harith al Nadhari.
- Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh decided to leave Yemen for medical treatment on February 18, after reported pressure from General Peoples’ Congress (GPC) leadership to do so and a UN Security Council statement naming Saleh as a possible obstacle to the Yemeni National Dialogue. In related news, thousands reportedly gathered in front of Saleh’s house in Sana’a on February 18 and 19 in support of Saleh’s staying in Yemen.
- A Dutch citizen kidnapped on February 15 in Sa’ada governorate was released on February 17. The abductee was released in the Waqa’aa area, between Haradh district in Hajjah governorate and Zaydiyah districtdistrict in al Hudaydah governorate.
- The UN Security Council issued a statement on the political transition in Yemen on February 15. The statement highlighted the negative role played by both former President Saleh and former Vice President Ali Salem al Beidh in the Yemeni transition process.
- Yemeni Army forces clashed with Ansar al Sharia militants near Walad Rab’ia district and the Tha’alib Mountain area of al Bayda governorate on February 17.
- A military aircraft crashed in a training flight near Tagheer (Change) Square, Sana’a on February 19. At least ten people were killed and seventeen injured in the incident.
- Gunmen reportedly belonging to the Southern Mobility Movement have manned a checkpoint in Sanah, al Dhaleh governorate, preventing individuals from transiting to the governorate capital, beginning on February 13, according to a February 17 report in al Masdar Online. The gunmen hoped to pressure authorities to release Fares Abdullah Saleh, a man convicted of an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in Aden in 2010.
- Yemeni Central Security Forces (CSF) clashed with gunmen in al Dhaleh governorate on February 15, leading to the death of one CSF soldier.
- Airstrikes on AQAP positions were reported in multiple locations in Ma’rib governorate on February 17, said to be targeting AQAP leader Saeed bin Naeemi. 
- Yemeni security forces conducted raids in the October Neighborhood of Khormaksar district, Aden on February 17, specifically destroying South Yemeni flags painted on walls in the area.
- President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi threatened to replace Hajjah governor Ali al Qaysi over al Qaysi’s refusal to allow President Hadi’s political appointees in the governorate to begin work, according to a February 17 report in al Masdar Online.
- A grenade exploded on the corner of Taiz and Thalatheen (30) Street, Sana’a on February 16, injuring three.
- CSF forces exchanged fire with gunmen at a checkpoint near the al Dhaleh city entrance on February 15. One soldier was wounded in the incident.
- Gunmen in al Hussein district, al Dhaleh governorate stormed a district security building and killed a man inside, in an apparent vendetta for the killing of one of the gunmen’s relatives in a traffic accident on February 17.
- The Technical Committee asked all parties that had submitted lists of representatives for the National Dialogue, with the exception of the Socialist Party, to re-work their lists on February 16, as they did not comply with requirements regarding the inclusion of Southerners, youth and women among the representatives. A Southern Movement faction, the “Supporters of a Peaceful Revolution,” submitted their list of names of representatives for the National Dialogue on February 17.
- Two gunmen riding a motorcycle killed former AQAP leader Jamal Na’iran in Mudia, Abyan governorate on February 16. Na’iran had turned himself into Yemeni authorities three years ago.
- Elements of the 3rd Mountain Infantry Brigade and 14th Republican Guard Brigade joined al Houthi forces to prevent shopkeepers from opening their stores, and firing on the storefronts in Ma’rib city on February 18, according to a report in Mareb Press. The attacks came amid protests surrounding the abduction of the child of a local man.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A remote-controlled car bomb detonated outside a restaurant in the Lido area of Mogadishu on February 16. Two people were killed and many others were injured in the explosion. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Somali and AMISOM troops took the town of Bulagudud, Lower Jubba region on February 16. The forces then conducted searches in the town for remaining al Shabaab members.
- Somali and Ethiopian troops attacked al Shabaab bases in Bay region on February 18. The Somali and Ethiopian soldiers captured the villages of Bulo Barako, Botis, Gorisane, and Mannas, Bay region. Fighting is still ongoing in some towns.
- AMISOM soldiers took control of Mahaday, Middle Shabelle region on February 18 after al Shabaab militants vacated the town.
- Kulmiye News reported that al Shabaab militants clashed with armed civilians in Adale, Middle Shabelle region on February 18. Several casualties were reported, but not exact numbers.
- A potential bomber accidentally blew himself up in Garissa, Kenya on February 16. Police found the remnants of one body and two pistols at the scene of the explosion.
- Somali security forces arrested three members of al Shabaab’s Amniyad Brigade during a raid in Kismayo, Lower Jubba on February 18. The three men were in possession of pistols when they were arrested.
- Somali and AMISOM troops conducted security operations throughout the Lower Shabelle region on February 17. During the operation, Somali and AMISOM forces arrested an unknown number of al Shabaab militants and recovered several bombs.
- Three al Shabaab fighters defected to Somali troops in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on February 18.
- Al Shabaab militants detained five truck drivers in Bardera, Gedo region on February 17 because the drivers refused to pay monthly dues owed to the terrorist organization.
- A Somali soldier shot and killed a teacher over a land dispute in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on February 17.
- Unknown gunmen shot and killed a traditional elder in Dhusamareb, Galgudud region on February 18. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack and no arrests have been made.
- Unknown gunmen shot and killed three civilians in Garsor, Mudug region on February 18. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack and the gunmen have not yet been caught.
- Kulmiye News reported that al Shabaab leaders have called upon civilians in Lower Shabelle region to help the terrorist organization regain lands in the region. Without these lands, leaders say, al Shabaab will face a shortage of food and money.
- The family members of the five remaining al Shabaab Kenyan hostages said that they will negotiate with al Shabaab to ensure the safe return of their relatives, according to a February 19 report. 
- U.S. Representative Keith Ellisontraveled to Mogadishu on February 19, and met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
- Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Haji Fiqi, speaking at the opening of a U.S-funded military barrack, requested United States assistance in fighting the terrorist organization al Shabaab.
- A Danish court charged two brothers on February 18 with suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack. The brothers had ties to al Shabaab, and one brother trained at an al Shabaab training camp in March 2012. Both brothers were arrested in May 2012, and the trial date is set for March 11.
- Bile Bahir Aynab was elected mayor of Galkayo, Mudug region through a mayoral election held in the city on February 17.