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: AQAP releases statement criticizing recent Yemeni military campaigns; suspected AQAP militants wound civilian in Lahij and assassinate teacher in Hadramawt; Yemeni 4th Brigade redeploys to Lahij; Yemeni security sources arrest suspected AQAP cell in Lahij; Yemeni president sacks two Yemeni army commanders; al Houthis announce withdrawal from Amran in exchange for Yemeni military taking control of Amran and clash with al Islah tribesmen in Sana’a; IED detonates near al Houthi center in Sana’a; unidentified tribesmen bomb oil pipeline in Ma’rib; al Houthi militants launch an artillery attack in al Jawf
Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants kill Somali counterterrorism official in Mogadishu and SNA officer in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab executes two alleged Somali Federal Government spies in Lower Shabelle region; AMISOM and SNA forces seize territory from al Shabaab in Bay and Gedo regions; Kenyan intelligence report reveals identity of suspected al Shabaab commanders operating in Kenya’s Coast Province; Kenyan Defense Forces deploy additional troops along Kenyan-Somali border in North Eastern Province
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a statement on July 13, criticizing the Yemeni government’s alleged victories against AQAP, denouncing recent Yemeni military campaigns in Abyan, Shabwah, and al Bayda, and condemning the Yemeni military for not “playing the sectarian card” to gather sufficient support for defeating the al Houthis in Amran.
- Suspected AQAP militants riding on a motorcycle wounded a civilian in al Hawtah, Lahij on July 11. Separately, suspected AQAP militants assassinated a retired teacher in his home in the Tris area near Seiyun, Hadramawt on July 11.
- Anonymous sources reported that the Yemeni 4th Brigade, commanded by General Ali Gaifa, transferred all of its equipment and vehicles from al Sawd base in Sana’a to al Anad base in Lahij on July 10.
- Yemeni security forces arrested 7 suspected AQAP militants, carrying firearms, hand grenades, and explosives in al Hawtah, Lahij on July 14. The suspects had links to the recent assassinations.
- Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi sacked Major General Mohammed al Makdishi, commander of the Yemeni 6th military command in Amran, and Brigadier General Mohammed al Somali, commander of the Yemeni 1st military command in Hadramawt, on July 13. Hadi replaced Makdishi with Brigadier Mohammed al Hawry and also replaced al Somali with Brigadier Abdurrahman al Halili.
- An al Houthi spokesman, Mohammed Abdessalam, stated al Houthi militants would withdraw from Amran if the Yemeni military moved into Amran on July 12. Shortly after this statement, Abdessalam issued another statement, indicating the Yemeni military took control of the Yemeni 310th Brigade headquarters and other government buildings in Amran on July 12. Separately, al Houthi militants clashed with al Islah Party tribesmen in Arhab, Sana’a on July 12, resulting in one al Houthi death and wounding two tribesmen.
- An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near the al-Houthi Badr academic center in Sana’a on July 12, damaging the building. Yemeni security forces discovered and defused another IED near the center following the explosion. No group has yet claimed responsibility.
- Unidentified tribesmen bombed an oil pipeline in al Habab, Ma’rib on July 12. The pipeline transports 70,000-110,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the Safer oilfields to the Ras Isa oil terminal on the Red Sea.
- Al Houthi militants launched artillery shells into a crowd of women and children in al Jawf on July 14. No deaths were confirmed, but three women were reportedly wounded.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Suspected al Shabaab militants ambushed a Somali Federal Government vehicle, killing the deputy chief of Somalia’s counterterrorism unit and a bodyguard, in the Hamar Jabjab district of Mogadishu on July 14. Separately, al Shabaab militants ambushed a Somali National Army (SNA) convoy, prompting a firefight, near Lego, Bay region July 14. The militants killed Omar Sheikh Elmi, the commander of the SNA Sixth Brigade, during the incident.
- Al Shabaab publicly executed two alleged Somali Federal Government spies in Barawe, Lower Shabelle region on July 13. An al Shabaab judge convicted Abdi Hassan Hussein and Saed Hussein Ali of conducting clandestine operations against al Shabaab on behalf of the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA).
- Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and SNA forces seized two villages, Labatan and Saydhelow, in Bay region from al Shabaab on July 13. The Ethiopian and Somali forces seized the territory after al Shabaab militants fired mortar shells into Baidoa, Bay region, striking the city’s airport and governor’s residence. Separately, Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) and SNA forces seized territory near Garbaharey, Gedo region from al Shabaab on July 13. An ASWJ official reported that the ASWJ and SNA forces killed 13 militants during the operation.
- Kenya’s Standard reported on July 12 that a Kenyan National Intelligence Service (NIS) document identified two suspected al Shabaab commanders operating in Kenya’s Coast Province. The document reportedly named Idris Kamua, an ethnic Kenyan, as the leader of an al Shabaab unit responsible for the recent series of raids in Lamu County and Abu Jamal, a former Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) soldier, as the head of an al Shabaab cell operating in Mombasa.
- The KDF deployed additional troops along the Kenyan-Somali border, closing the Mandera border crossing, on July 12 in response to the recent series of raids claimed by al Shabaab in Kenya’s Coast Province.