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: Al Houthi truce in Amran receives two-week extension; suspected AQAP militants kill pro-government tribesmen in Abyan and Yemeni soldiers in al Dhaleh; AQAP rejoins Twitter and releases new video; President Hadi urges Iran to stop interfering in Yemeni politics
Horn of Africa: al Shabaab executes alleged spies in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab fires mortar shells at AMISOM and SNA forces in Gedo region; AMISOM and SNA forces seize village in Hiraan region; al Shabaab attacks village in Lower Shabelle region; Puntland security forces arrest al Shabaab militants in Bari, Mudug, and Nugal regions; roadside IEDs target AMISOM convoys in Mogadishu and Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab claims responsibility for attacks in Lower Jubba region
Yemen Security Brief
- Government sources announced that a presidential mediation committee brokered a truce with al Houthi militants on March 29, which will extend the fragile peace treaty in northern Amran governorate for an additional two weeks.
- Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants ambushed and killed two Yemeni pro-government tribesmen on a road between Lawder and Mudia in the northeast of Abyan governorate on March 30. Local sources report that the tribesmen were members of a Popular Resistance Committee.
- Suspected AQAP militants attacked a Yemeni security building in the capital city of al Dhaleh in al Dhaleh governorate on March 31, according to a Yemeni security source. The source stated that one Yemeni soldier was killed and two were wounded in the attack.
- AQAP rejoined Twitter and created a new account for its audio production foundation, al Basha’ir, on March 2, and an account titled, “Abdullah al Mujahid,” on March 25, which channels news and videos from AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem Media Foundation. The “Abdullah al Mujahid” account included screen shots from an unreleased video titled, “The First of the Heavy Rain,” and provided a link to access the full video on March 29. The video contained footage of AQAP leader Nasser al Wahayshi, AQAP official Ibrahim al Rubaish, and scenes from a reception for fighters who escaped during a prison break in Sana’a in February 2014.
- President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued an official statement to Iran on March 31, urging Iran to stop interfering in Yemeni politics. President Hadi also accused Iran of supporting both the al Houthi rebels and members of the Southern Movement in Yemen.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab executed three men suspected of spying for the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency in Barawe in Lower Shabelle region on March 28. An al Shabaab judge sentenced Mohamed Deeq Hassan Ali, Mohamud Farah Sabriya Shure, and Abdinajib Shire Barre to death by firing squad for providing the Somali government with intelligence regarding al Shabaab plans and activities.
- Al Shabaab fired mortar shells at AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) forces in the Burdhubo district of Gedo region on March 29. Residents report that AMISOM and SNA forces then clashed with al Shabaab militants throughout the district. The extent of casualties suffered during the confrontation remains unclear.
- AMISOM and SNA forces seized Moqokori village near Bulo-Burde district in Hiraan region from al Shabaab militants on March 29. The al Shabaab militants vacated Moqokori without resistance, allowing the AMISOM and SNA forces to seize the village peacefully.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked Gendershe village in Lower Shabelle region on March 29. The attack featured mortar strikes as well as a direct assault on AMISOM and SNA forces occupying Gendershe. An al Shabaab-affiliated website indicated that the militants were able to enter the village, whereas Somali government officials claimed the militants were effectively repelled. Casualty figures from the attack have not yet been reported.
- Puntland Security Minister Hassan Osman Alore announced on March 31 that Puntland security forces arrested twenty suspected al Shabaab militants during security operations throughout Boosaaso in Bari region, Galkayo in Mudug region, and Garowe in Nugal region. The operations, which were conducted over the course of several days, intercepted the suspected militants as they fled from Somalia’s southern regions into Puntland. Alore indicated that several of the arrested individuals possessed explosive materials, counterfeit money, and false identification.
- A roadside improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near an AMISOM convoy in Janale in Lower Shabelle region on March 29. One AMISOM soldier was injured in the explosion, while at least six civilians were injured when the AMISOM soldiers responded by firing indiscriminately. Separately, a roadside IED detonated near an AMISOM convoy in the Heliwa district of Mogadishu on March 30. The AMISOM soldiers again responded with indiscriminate fire. The extent of the casualties inflicted by the explosion and subsequent gunfire remains unclear.
- The Shahada News Agency reported that al Shabaab claimed responsibility for two March 26 attacks in Kismayo in Lower Jubba region. An audio statement posted on Facebook and jihadi forums claimed that al Shabaab militants fired mortar shells at the Kismayo airport as a UN delegation landed, inciting fear and panic. The statement also claimed that al Shabaab militants detonated an IED near an AMISOM convoy, killing and wounding seven Sierra Leonean soldiers.