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 announces failure of mediation efforts with Yemeni government; AQAP releases “Lone Mujahid Pocketbook” manual; AQAP releases statement announcing end of mentorship program to lone-wolf jihadists; 1,000 Central Security Forces troops deploying to Rada’a, al Bayda governorate; suicide bomber targets popular committee forcer in Lawder, Abyan governorate; suspected al Qaeda members break out of prison in Lawder, Abyan governorate; gunmen fire on government building in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate; security forces clash with gunmen near Taiz government building; Islah party headquarters burned in al Zahra, al Hudaydah governorate; armed group led by Republican Guard colonel accused of killing Sana’a governorate official; al Houthi gunmen detain three children; political parties re-submit lists of representatives for National Dialogue conference; Yemeni Army forces clash with Southern Movement supporters in Mansoura, Aden; University of Taiz students demonstrating; Yemeni Court of First Instance sentences three AQAP militants to prison terms; gunmen fire on security director for Jabal al Sharqi city, Dhamar governorate; gunmen cut off Sana’a International Airport road
Horn of Africa: Kenyan presidential elections cause violence and al Shabaab calls for protests in Kenya; Puntland finance minister is attacked in Karkaar; unknown gunmen shoot and kill female university student in Mogadishu; Somali National Security and Intelligence Agency captures 13 suspected al Shabaab militants in Yaqshid district, Mogadishu; Somali troops capture eight suspected militants in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region; Puntland army court sentences two al Shabaab militants to death in Garowe, Nugaal region; Somali and AMISOM troops relocate to Dhusamareb and Guriel, Galgudud region; Somali president and Somaliland president conduct talks; Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a elect new leader; pro-al Shabaab magazine releases third issue; Somali court drops charges against alleged rape victim in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) announced the failure of mediation efforts with the Yemeni government in a message released on jihadist forums, according to a March 4 report in al Masdar Online containing a copy of the AQAP statement.
- AQAP released a booklet entitled the “Lone Mujahid Pocketbook,” consisting of highlights from the first ten issues of Inspire Magazine, on jihadist forums on March 1.
- AQAP released a statement on jihadist forums announcing the end of its “Convoy of Martyrs” program supporting lone-wolf jihadists, citing security concerns, on March 3.
- Al Thaheri al Shaddadi, the governor of al Bayda governorate, announced the deployment of 1,000 Central Security Forces troops to Rada’a, al Bayda governorate, in an interview on March 2.
- A suicide bomber targeted popular committee members in Lawder, Abyan governorate on March 4, killing at least ten and wounding at least 15.
- Four suspected al Qaeda members escaped from a prison in Lawder, Abyan governorate on March 4, amid protests around the prison aimed at helping the prisoners escape. The men who aided the prison break were reportedly affiliated with the Islah party.
- Unknown gunmen fired on the government building in al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate on March 2. No one was wounded in the incident.
- Yemeni security forces clashed with gunmen near the Taiz governorate building in Taiz city on March 2. One gunman and one civilian were wounded in the incident.
- Unknown individuals set fire to an Islah party headquarters in al Zahra district, al Hudaydah governorate on March 2.
- An armed group led by a Republican Guard colonel was accused of killing the deputy director of the Office of Works for Sana’a governorate, Arafat Abdul Maghani, and another man on March 2.
- Al Houthi gunmen detained three children in a school in Bani Bahar, Saqyan, Sa’ada governorate.
- Most political parties have re-submitted their lists of representatives for the National Dialogue conference, according to a source in al Masdar Online on March 2. Additionally, the Technical Committee to prepare for the National Dialogue is resuming its work, after it had been suspended on February 20.
- Yemeni Army forces clashed with Southern Movement supporters in Mansoura, Aden after security forces were deployed to break up protests on March 2. One protester was reported killed by Southern Movement activists.
- Students at the University of Taiz began demonstrating on March 2. They protested the suspension of classes due to a teacher’s strike, and called for the dismissal of corrupt university administrators.
- The Yemeni Court of First Instance sentenced an AQAP militant, Ahmed Mohammed Abbas al Fadhil, to two years in prison, and two others, Mohammed Abdul Qadir Ahmed al Shamari al Awzli and Mohammed Hussein Mohammed Abdullah Mussayib, were sentenced to four years in prison.
- Gunmen fired on Major Mohammed Taher al Mushki, security director for Jabal al Sharqi city, Dhamar governorate, in the city on March 3. No one was wounded in the incident.
- Gunmen affiliated with Abdullah bin Hussein al Ahmar, an associate of Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, cut off a major road leading to the Sana’a International Airport in Sana’a on March 3.
Horn of Africa Security Review
- The Kenyan presidential elections took place on March 4 across the nation. Al Shabaab released a message on March 3 via its Twitter page calling for all Kenyan Muslims to take up arms and boycott the elections and reject Kenyan troop presence in Somalia. There have been several incidences of violence across Kenya leading up to the election. Armed men, believed to be linked to the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), attacked a police post in Mombasa on March 4, killing ten people including two policemen. In Kilifi, a town outside Mombasa, five people were killed in an attacked linked to the MRC on March 4. Twenty people were injured during a stampede in Kitengela on March 4. Two bombs exploded in Mandera wounding four people and unknown gunmen shot and killed a state official and a civilian in Garissa on March 3. Whether some, or all, of these attacks were carried out by secessionist or anti-government groups or al Shabaab is unknown.
- A Puntland convoy of government officials, led by Puntland Finance Minister Abdullahi Ahmed, was attacked in Karkaar on March 3. One person was killed and another was injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. 
- Two unknown gunmen shot and killed a female university student in Mogadishu on March 3.
- The Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency captured and paraded 13 suspected militants who were arrested during an operation in the Yaqshid district, Mogadishu on March 4.
- Somali troops captured eight suspected militants in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle region on March 2 when the suspects’ vehicle was stopped at a checkpoint.
- A Puntland army court sentenced two al Shabaab militants to death in Garowe, Nugaal region on March 2. The two men were arrested in Galkayo when they were found in possession of weapons and bomb-making material.
- Hundreds of Somali and AMISOM troops relocated to Dhusamareb and Guriel, Galgudud region on March 3 in anticipation of a high level government delegation expected to visit the city.
- Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Somaliland President Mohamed Mohamud Silanyo are conducting ongoing talks in an attempt to repair the relationship between the two governments.
- Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a elected a new leader in Dhusamareb, Galgudud region on March 3. Abdi Ali Fidow will replace the deceased Sheikh Mohamud Yusuf.
- The pro-al Shabaab magazine Gaidi Mtaani released its third issue on jihadist forums on March 2. The issue was dedicated to Aboud Rogo Mohammed and included an article criticizing democracy.
- A Somali appeals court in Mogadishu dropped the charges against an alleged rape victim and reduced the jail time for a journalist who interviewed her from one year to six months on March 3.