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 releases biography of deceased fighter to Twitter; suspected AQAP militants ambush Yemeni security patrol in al Bayda governorate; Yemen to reportedly build rehabilitation center for extremists; unidentified gunmen kill Yemeni intelligence chief in Hadramawt governorate; French embassy in Sana’a suspends consular services
Horn of Africa: al Shabaab releases videos addressing Muslim conflict in global context; unidentified gunmen kill Ahlu Sunna official in Gedo region; SNA forces clash with al Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle region; ONLF accuses Djibouti of collaborating with Ethiopia in the detention of thirty Ogaden refugees
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a biography of deceased fighter Sarhan Abdullah Ali al Nasito to its “Nafeh al Teeb” Twitter account on May 12. Nasito was recruited by the late AQAP cleric Anwar al Awlaki while the two were imprisoned together in Sana’a central prison in 2007. Following his release, Nasito joined AQAP and was killed during a U.S. airstrike in Shabwah governorate on August 6, 2013.
- Suspected AQAP militants ambushed a Yemeni security patrol in al Bayda city in al Bayda governorate on May 14. At least three Yemeni security members were killed and two others were wounded in the attack. Shortly afterwards, Yemeni troops with a mechanized army brigade reportedly fired artillery shells at two AQAP-controlled houses in the area. Separately, Yemeni security forces detained four suspected AQAP militants in al Bayda governorate, and transferred them to Sana’a capital for further questioning.
- Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued a presidential decree forming a committee to plan the construction of a rehabilitation center for extremists in Yemen on May 14. Although further details remain unclear at this time, media reports have already speculated that the center is intended to house Yemeni detainees currently held in the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention center.
- Unidentified gunmen killed the Yemeni chief of intelligence for Brom Mayfa district in Hadramawt governorate Saleh bin Thabet, near al Mukalla city on May 14. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
- The French Embassy in Sana’a capital announced the temporary suspension of consular services on May 12. The announcement did not elaborate on the duration or the cause of the suspension.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab’s media branch, al Kataib Media Foundation, released a video, entitled “Muslims in Bangui and Mombasa: A Tale of Tragedy,” to jihadist forums on May 14. The video featured al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair, and addressed several global issues. Godane blamed the presence of Christian missionary organizations and the French military in the Central African Republic (CAR) as enabling the recent violence against Muslims there, encouraging Muslims in CAR to fight the Christian enemy. Godane also called for rival jihadist groups in Syria to resolve their conflict and offered condolences to the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus for the death of its leader Doku Umarov. Separately, al Shabaab released a new episode in the video series “Mujahideen Moments” on May 13. Within the video, an unidentified English-speaking militant appealed to Western youth to join al Shabaab in Somalia.
- Unidentified gunmen killed the Luq district court judge, Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) official Sheikh Mohamud Sheikh Ahmed, in Luq district in Gedo region on May 14. Although no group has yet claimed responsibility, ASWJ officials blamed a nearby militia, loyal to Interim Jubba Administration leader Ahmed Madobe and operating out of Dolow district, for the targeted killing. In response, the ASWJ militia conducted security operations throughout Luq district, arresting four suspects. Somali Defense Minister Mohamed Hassan Hamud announced on May 14 that the Somali Federal Government plans to send a delegation to Beled Hawo in Gedo region to mediate between the rival militias.
- Somali National Army (SNA) forces clashed with al Shabaab militants near Mogadishu in Arbacow in Lower Shabelle region on May 14. The confrontation began after al Shabaab militants fired mortar shells into Arbacow and the Dharkenley and Wadajir districts of Mogadishu. At least four SNA soldiers were killed and approximately five more injured during the fighting.
- The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) issued a statement on May 14 accusing the Djiboutian government of collaborating with the Ethiopian government in the organized oppression of the Ogaden people throughout the Horn of Africa. The accusation came after Djiboutian security forces arrested thirty Ogaden refugees in the city of Djibouti on May 13, reportedly transferring the prisoners to Ethiopian detention facilities.