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: Suspected AQAP militants assassinate intelligence officer in Shabwah; Gunmen kidnap and release Czech doctor in Sana’a; Yemeni army clashes with Southern Movement militants in al Dhaleh
Horn of Africa: Somali government forces conduct security operation in Mogadishu; al Shabaab spokesmen issue statements in wake of attack on Somali presidential palace; violence continues in Mogadishu; AMISOM and Somali government forces clash with al Shabaab in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab targets hotel with blasts in Bay region; al Shabaab militants attack Somali government base in Middle Shabelle region; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a official accuses al Shabaab of abducting religious leaders; explosion wounds four amidst security concerns in Kismayo in Lower Jubba region; district police commissioner killed in Mudug region
Yemen Security Brief
- Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants riding a motorcycle shot and killed a Yemeni intelligence officer in Ataq city in Shabwah governorate on February 22.
- Gunmen kidnapped a Czech doctor as she walked to work and then released her just hours later on February 22 in Sana’a city.
- Clashes erupted between the Yemeni army and Southern Movement militants in al Dhaleh governorate on February 24, killing one person and wounding two more.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali government forces launched a security operation throughout Mogadishu following the February 21 al Shabaab attack on the Somali presidential palace. The operation, which lasted until February 23, focused primarily on the Bondhere, Heliwa, Wardhigley, and Yaqshid districts. Somali government forces detained dozens of suspected al Shabaab supporters during the operation.
- Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Dere stated on February 22 that the objective of al Shabaab’s February 21 attack on the Somalia presidential palace was to capture or kill President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Separately, al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, known as Ali Jabal, claimed that the death toll from the February 21 attack was much higher than the media reported, stating that the attack killed two Ugandan diplomats, a Djiboutian diplomat, and six senior Somali officials. Both spokesmen threatened an increase of al Shabaab attacks in Mogadishu.
- A blast targeting Somali government troops occurred in the Kahda neighborhood of Mogadishu’s Dharkenley district on February 21. The degree of damage inflicted by the blast remains unclear. Separately, unidentified gunmen killed a Somali military official, known as Jallaato, in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu on February 22. No group has claimed responsibility for either incident.
- Reports indicate numerous clashes between al Shabaab and AMISOM and Somali government forces throughout Lower Shabelle region. Al Shabaab militants attacked Somali government troops in Afgoi on February 22. The attack consisted of direct fire and at least one targeted blast. Al Shabaab militants clashed with Somali forces near Shalaanbood on February 22. Al Shabaab is suspected of firing mortar shells at an AMISOM military and police base in Balidoogle on February 24. Finally, a confrontation between al Shabaab and Somali government troops occurred near a Somali government base in Sinkadheer on February 24. The casualty figures associated with each of the incidents remain unclear.
- Al Shabaab militants detonated explosives targeting a hotel in Baydhabo near Baidoa in Bay region on February 23. Damage and casualties associated with the explosions remain unclear.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali government base in the Mahaday district of Middle Shabelle region on February 22. The fighting, which included both direct and indirect fire, caused casualties to both sides yet specific figures remain unclear.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a official Abdi Hassan Mohamed, known as Biyo Kuute, accused al Shabaab of abducting nineteen local religious leaders from El Bur in Galgudud region on February 24. Al Shabaab has not yet addressed the alleged abductions.
- A landmine explosion in Kismayo in Lower Jubba region wounded four civilians on February 22. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast. Continued instability has driven several prominent Jubba Interim Administration officials to vacate residences in Kismayo and seek shelter in the city’s airport.
- The district police commissioner of Goldogob in Mudug region, Colonel Mohamed Mumin, was killed by his bodyguard in Goldogob on February 23. The motivation for the killing remains unclear. No group has addressed or claimed responsibility for the incident.