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: Yemeni security forces and Popular Committee members clash with AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate; reports surface of explosion near Police Academy in Sana’a capital; AQAP releases audio speech from Ansar al Sharia leader to YouTube; Yemeni security forces arrest militants planning to abduct United Arab Emirates diplomat
Horn of Africa: Ethiopian AMISOM forces detain Somali officials in Gedo region; car bomb targets Somali banker in Mogadishu; AMISOM and Somali security forces conduct search operations in Mogadishu; Galmudug minister survives attempted assassination
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni security forces and Popular Committee members clashed with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Shabwah governorate on April 29, killing at least five militants including one AQAP commander identified as Abu al Qaqa. This operation comes as part of a larger Yemeni military offensive launched on April 28 with the goal of eradicating AQAP strongholds in Abyan and Shabwah governorates.
- An explosion of unconfirmed origin reportedly occurred near the Police Academy in Sana’a, where Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi was delivering a speech to a graduation ceremony on April 29. Although Yemeni officials officially denied allegations that any explosion occurred, AQAP supporters have posted pictures of the alleged explosion to Twitter. No casualties or injuries have been reported.
- AQAP released an audio speech from Ansar al Sharia’s leader in Zinjibar, Jalal al Marqishi, to YouTube on April 30. In the speech, Marqishi, also known as Abu Hamza al Zinjibari, denied rumors that AQAP leaders were killed in the April 19-21 airstrikes and accused the Yemeni government of being both an “agent and a spy” of the U.S. government.
- Yemeni officials announced on April 30 that they had arrested a group of six militants planning to abduct the United Arab Emirates’ charge d’affaires. The Yemeni Interior Ministry described the group as a “terrorist cell,” and reported that the militants were found in possession of weapons, fake Yemeni currency and forged passports at the time of their arrest earlier last month. The United Arab Emirates Foreign Ministry publicly lauded the Yemeni government for their efforts in foiling the abduction plot.
Horn of Africa Brief
- Ethiopian AMISOM forces detained two Somali officials in Luq district in Gedo region on April 30. The Ethiopian forces detained Somali National Army (SNA) officer Diyad Abdi Kilil, brother of Gedo Governor Mohamed Abdi Kilil, and an unidentified military officer. The Ethiopian forces also ordered judges and prosecutors in a Luq district court to halt judicial operations. Reports indicate that an unspecified disagreement between local Somali and Ethiopian AMISOM officials prompted the incidents.
- A car bomb, targeting a Somali banker, detonated near Horseed University in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu on May 1. The banker, identified as a Somali Development Bank chairman, was uninjured by the explosion. The motivation behind the attack remains unclear as no group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.
- AMISOM and Somali security forces conducted a search operation in the Yaqshid district of Mogadishu on May 1. The security forces searched vehicles and detained an unspecified number of individuals during the operation, which was identified as part of an ongoing initiative to enhance security in Mogadishu.
- An unidentified gunman attempted to assassinate the recently appointed Minister of Information for the Galmudug administration, Hassan Abd Hassan, in Galkayo in Mudug region on May 1. The gunman fired upon Hassan, injuring one of his bodyguards, before fleeing. Hassan, who was appointed to the Galmudug Administration’s Cabinet on April 28, was uninjured by the attack.