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: Assassination attempt on al Houthi representative to National Dialogue; Brigadier General Mohammed al Bukhaiti leads assault on 22nd Brigade camp in Taiz governorate; U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein discusses military restructuring and Iranian involvement in Yemen with al Arabiya; Yemeni Special Forces soldiers mutiny against their commander in al Subaha, Sana’a city; suspected AQAP members kidnap military intelligence officer in Mudia, Abyan governorate; al Jumhor publishes report on Yemenis fighting in Syria; unknown militants fire on 312th Armored Brigade camp in Sirwah, Ma’rib governorate; security forces defuse vehicle-borne improvised explosive device on Taiz Street, Sana’a city; Yemeni State Security Court releases two accused Iranian spies; soldier kills a civilian at a checkpoint in Ibb city, Ibb governorate; riots in al Hudaydah Reserve Prison; Yemeni police seize 5000 rounds of ammunition on a bus in Sana’a city
Horn of Africa: Somali and Ethiopian troops clash with al Shabaab militants in Birta Dheer, Gedo region; Somali troops recapture Hudur, Bakool region; IED kills four children at a school in Herale, Galgudud region; radio station worker is shot and killed in Mogadishu; humanitarian worker is shot and killed in Dharkenley district, Mogadishu; al Shabaab destroys water pumps and power generators in Elder, Gedo region; al Shabaab militants arrest local elder in Burday, Hiraan region; Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency director resigns; former lieutenant general of the Somali Army dies; biography of an al Shabaab suicide bomber is posted to jihadist forums; government delegation arrives in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region
Yemen Security Brief
- Gunmen fired on the car of Abdul Wahid Abu Ras, an al Houthi representative to the National Dialogue and field commander in al Jawf governorate, on al Nasser Street in Sana’a on March 23. Three of his bodyguards were killed and two others were wounded in the incident. Abdul Malik al Houthi’s office released a statement on March 23 blaming security officials for the incident, and the al Houthi delegation suspended its participation in the conference for 24 hours on March 24. Yemen’s Supreme Security Committee released a statement on March 24, naming the suspected assassin as Shawal Abdullah Barish, from al Jawf governorate.
- Brigadier General Mohammed al Bukhaiti led an assault on the camp of the 22nd Brigade in Taiz governorate on March 23. Two were wounded in the incident.
- U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein gave an interview to al Arabiya on March 22. He commented on Yemeni military restructuring, saying that U.S. military personnel would soon travel to Yemen to assist in the restructuring process, and said that the U.S. was aware of Iran’s involvement in weapons shipments to Yemen, and that Ali Salem al Beidh was implementing Iran’s agenda in Yemen.
- Yemeni Special Forces soldiers from the Presidential Protective Forces in al Subahah, Sana’a, mutinied against their commander, Brigadier General Ahmed Hussein Dahan, barring him from entering their camp on March 22.
- Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) members kidnapped Brigadier General Khaled Massoud, a military intelligence officer, from his home in Mudia, Abyan governorate on March 24.
- Over 10,000 Yemenis are fighting in Syria, according to a report on Yemeni involvement in the Syrian conflict published on March 23 in al Jumhor. The report also claimed that Qatari government officials visited al Jawf and Ma’rib governorates to recruit fighters, who were then trained in Qatar and Turkey and sent to fight with both Jabhat al Nusrah and the Free Syrian Army.
- Unknown militants fired on the 312th Armored Brigade’s camp in Sirwah, Ma’rib governorate on March 21. Soldiers returned fire, killing one of the gunmen and wounding another.
- Security forces defused a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) on Taiz Street, Sana’a on March 25.
- The Yemeni State Security Court decided to release two men, Abdul Karim Laliji and Hani Ahmed Deen, who had been imprisoned since 2008 on charges of spying for Iran and fundraising for the al Houthi movement, on March 25 in Sana’a.
- A soldier killed a civilian at a checkpoint in Ibb city, Ibb, on March 23, after a dispute with another civilian at the checkpoint.
- At least ten prisoners were wounded during riots in the al Hudaydah Reserve Prison in al Hudaydah governorate on March 23.
- Yemeni police seized 5000 rounds of ammunition aboard a bus owned by a private company in Sana’a on March 24.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali and Ethiopian forces clashed with al Shabaab troops in Birta Dheer, Gedo region on March 24. Al Shabaab initially had control of the village, but both sides claimed victory in the battle. Casualties are being reported, but only three Somali troops are confirmed dead.
- Speaker of the Somali Parliament, Mohamed Osman Jawari, announced that Somali government troops recaptured the town of Hudur, Bakool region on March 24. Details about the battle and casualties were not available.
- An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated at school in Herale, Galgudud region on March 23, killing four children and injuring one. The children were playing with the IED when it detonated. Two kids were killed instantly and two others later died from their injuries. The origin of the IED is not known.
- A female worker at a radio station was shot and killed in Mogadishu on March 24. The woman was attacked while walking with another female radio worker. The attackers were able to flee the scene and the reason behind the attack is not known.
- A woman working for a humanitarian agency was shot and killed in the Dharkenley district of Mogadishu on March 23. Police arrested four men who are being charged for the murder. The reason behind the attack is still not known.
- Al Shabaab militants destroyed water pumps and power generators in Elder, Gedo region on March 24. The militants set fire to six power generators used to supply water and energy to the town.
- Al Shabaab militants arrested a local elder in Burday, Hiraan region on March 23. The elder had gone to an al Shabaab base to recover his vehicle that had been stolen. The man is now being held in Halgan, Hiraan region.
- Director of the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Ahmed Moalim Fiqi, resigned on March 25 in Mogadishu. Fiqi did not explain the reason for his resignation but according to Bar Kulan, two of his deputies have also decided to leave NISA.
- Former Lieutenant General of the Somali Army, General Abdi Guled, passed away on March 24. Cause of death has not been reported.
- The second issue of “Biographies of the Well-Known Martyrs in East Africa” was posted to jihadist forums on March 16. The issue details the life of an al Shabaab suicide bomber, Abu Hureira al Ansari, who killed himself in an attack in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle.
- A government delegation arrived in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on March 24 in order to prepare for the arrival of the Somali prime minister. The delegation is led by Interior and National Security Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled.