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: unknown assailants attack power lines in Ma’rib governorate; gunmen assassinate bodyguard to Director General in Hadramawt governorate; al Houthis clash with tribesmen in Dhamar governorate; stray mortar shell kills civilians in Shabwah governorate; President Hadi issues statement encouraging Southern Movement leaders to participate in Yemen’s political transition process
Horn of Africa: senior al Shabaab officials issue statements threatening Kenya, Uganda, and Mogadishu; Ugandan AMISOM troops seize town in Bakool region; al Shabaab militants attack AMISOM and SNA base in Galgudud region; unidentified gunmen kill senior military officer in Middle Shabelle region
Yemen Security Brief
- Unknown assailants attacked power lines in Ma’rib governorate on May 21. The attack caused power outages in numerous Ma’rib districts and is the eighth attack on electricity infrastructure in Ma’rib governorate since May 1.
- Unidentified gunmen assassinated the bodyguard to the Director General of al Shihr in Hadramawt governorate on May 21. Although no group has taken credit for the attack, security officials suspect that AQAP militants were responsible.
- Al Houthi rebels clashed with tribesmen in Dhamar governorate on May 22. Although the exact cause of the clash remains unclear, al Houthi rebels have reportedly established barriers throughout the governorate and the potential for further fighting remains high. At least three people have been killed in clashes thus far.
- Clashes between Yemeni security forces and AQAP militants resulted in the death of five civilians when a stray mortar shell struck a vehicle near the town of al Saeed in Shabwah governorate on May 22. Reports identify the victims as members of the Awalek tribe.
- Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued a public statement on May 22, Yemen’s Unification Day celebrating the 1990 unification of North and South Yemen, encouraging leaders of the Southern Movement to participate in a formal discussion on Yemen’s political future. This statement comes in response to a Southern Movement rally held in Aden city on May 21 commemorating the 20th anniversary of Yemen’s civil war and demanding independence for the South.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A senior al Shabaab official, Sheikh Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, declared on May 22, via al Shabaab’s Radio Andulus, that al Shabaab intends to shift their focus to Kenya and Uganda. Khalaf justified the shift by citing the Kenyan and Ugandan military presence in Somalia under AMISOM. Khalaf particularly emphasized al Shabaab’s focus on Kenya, encouraging Kenyan Muslims “to fight the government of Kenya inside that country.” Separately, al Shabaab representative to Banadir region Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, also known as Ali Jabal, issued a statement on May 22, via al Shabaab’s Radio Andalus, threatening to escalate violence in Mogadishu. Hussein boasted of al Shabaab’s strength in the city, warning of increased activity as retribution for the AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) offensive against al Shabaab throughout Somalia.
- The commander of the Ugandan AMISOM contingent, General Edward Katumba Wamala, announced on May 21 that Ugandan forces seized the town of Korkor in Bakool region from al Shabaab. Wamala stated that the recent victory is representative of the Ugandan forces’ success against al Shabaab. Wamala then appealed to the African Union and United Nations for air support to further enhance Uganda’s military capabilities in Somalia.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked an AMISOM and SNA military base near Elbur in Galgudud region on May 21. A Somali military official confirmed the attack, stating that the AMISOM and SNA forces repelled the militants without suffering any casualties. The official claimed that two al Shabaab militants were injured in the confrontation.
- Unidentified gunmen killed a senior Somali military officer, identified as Omar Mohamud Noor, in the Adale district of Middle Shabelle region on May 22. Al Shabaab reportedly claimed responsibility for the killing, although the specific motivation for targeting Noor remains unclear.