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: IED defused outside intelligence services building in Aden; roadside bomb targets air force commander in Hadramawt; Yemeni diplomat killed in Damascus; Yemeni President Hadi’s press secretary escapes assassination attempt in Sana’a; five women related to al Qaeda-linked fighters released from prison in Saudi Arabia; Yemen gives several Iranian diplomats 72-hour deadline to leave Sana’a; Yemeni interior minister discusses security issues with U.S. and UK representatives in Sana’a
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab executes three of its members for being alleged CIA and MI6 spies; hand grenade wounds five TFG soldiers in Baidoa; AMISOM, TFG clash with al Shabaab in Lower Jubba; bomb targets TFG troops in Bal’ad army base; ASWJ kill al Shabaab leader after raiding his house in Galgudud region; U.S. to provide Kenya with eight Raven drones; Somalia security forces backed by AMISOM troops seize weapons from al Shabaab in Gedo region; ASWJ promises to retake Elbur town from al Shabaab
Yemen Security Brief
- The Yemeni Defense Ministry announced that security forces successfully defused a bomb outside the intelligence services building in Aden on June 22. The improvised explosive device (IED) was rigged to be detonated by remote control.
- Residents and the Yemeni Defense Ministry said that the commander of the 190th Air Defense Brigade in Hadramawt, Col. Yahya al Rusaishan, survived an assassination attempt near al Mukalla on July 22. A roadside bomb detonated and wounded him and three of his aides as his convoy passed through al Mukalla, residents said.
- Yemeni diplomat Rasheed Mohammad al Qadasi was reportedly killed in Damascus, Syria on July 22. Unknown gunmen shot and killed him outside his residence as they attempted to steal his car.
- Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s press secretary, Yahya al Arasi, escaped an assassination attempt in Sana’a, sources said. Gunmen fired at Arasi’s car and slightly wounded him.
- Five women who were relatives of al Qaeda-linked fighters were released from prison by Saudi authorities on July 21. Abdullah al Khalidi, a Saudi diplomat who was kidnapped by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Aden on March 28, has been featured in several videos listing his captors’ demands, including the release of women detainees. Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al Turki, however, said that their release was unrelated to AQAP’s demands.
- Yemeni political sources deny any Russian mediation efforts to mitigate tensions with Iran following the detection of an Iranian spy ring operating in Yemen a week earlier. Iran has since denied conducting espionage activities in Yemen and has ordered proof. A Kuwaiti newspaper, al Qabas, reported that Yemen’s Foreign Ministry told several Iranian diplomats in Sana’a that they have 72 hours to leave the country beginning on July 22, another claim which Iran denied.
- Interior Minister Abdul Qadir Qahtan met with Randolph Rosen, the military attaché at the U.S. embassy in Sana’a, and a delegation from the British embassy in Sana’a on July 22. The meetings focused on improving security cooperation and implementing modern counterterrorism techniques.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants executed three of its members in Marka town on July 22 for allegedly being CIA and MI6 informants spying for the U.S. and British intelligence agencies. Ishaq Omar Hassan and Yasin Osman Ahmed were accused of working for the CIA and Mukhtar Ibrahim Sheikh Ahmed for MI6. The men were tied up and killed by a firing squad while local residents were forced to watch. Al Shabaab's governor of Lower Shabelle region Sheikh Mohamed Abu Abdallah reported that the CIA spies are responsible for killing several al Shabaab leaders.
- A hand grenade exploded and critically wounded five Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers when unidentified assailants threw it into an army base in Baidoa in Bay region on July 22. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Clashes between al Shabaab militants and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces, backed by TFG troops, caused an unspecified number of deaths on both sides in Lower Jubba region on July 22. Heavily armed al Shabaab militants attacked several Somali-Kenyan military bases in Qoqani and Kolbio right before pro-regime forces intervened.
- A bomb hit TFG troops and killed an unreported number of people in an army base in Bal’ad town in Middle Shabelle region on July 21. Bal’ad was recaptured from al Shabaab by AMISOM and TFG forces on June 28.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) killed an al Shabaab leader, Mohamed Hussein Malin Lugey, in a raid on his home in Gadon town in Galgudud region. According to District Commissioner Ahmed Noor Hassan, Lugey coordinated all militant attacks in the region.
- The U.S. agreed to provide Kenya with eight Raven drones to assist in the fight against al Shabaab. According to the Pentagon in a report in The Wall Street Journal, the eight hand-launched, unarmed Raven drones will have sensors used to pinpoint targets and relay information to ground forces. The drones are part of an initial $41.4 million package of military aid that also includes trucks, communications gear, and rifles for Burundian, Djiboutian and Ugandan contingents.
- Four al Shabaab militants were killed when Somali security forces backed by AMISOM troops seized weapons and communication equipment after they attacked an al Shabaab camp in Tarako village in Gedo region on July 21. Troops collected 11 AK-47 rifles with 550 rounds (7.62mm), two PKM guns with 60 rounds of ammunition, two rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) with 10 bombs, and two handheld radios.
- Ahlu Sunna promised to recapture Elbur town in Galgudud region from al Shabaab militants. The group’s security chief, Farah Mo’alim Ali, reported to Bar Kulan that his forces will attack soon, in order to prevent al Shabaab from terrorizing locals in the area.