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 military forces capture area near Jaar; car bomb kills at least 13 people in al Jawf; Ansar al Sharia spokesman identifies May 21 Sana’a suicide bomber; clashes between Southern Movement supporters and protesters kill one person in Aden; President Hadi meets with U.S. congressional delegation
Horn of Africa: Shell reportedly hits minibus as refugees flee Afgoi; grenade attack in Dadaab refugee camp wounds three people; al Shabaab releases video featuring Kenyan police officer abducted from Wajir district in January 2012; picture of Omar Hammami posing with his autobiography released on Twitter; Somali-based organization posts video detailing American intervention in Somalia
Yemen Security Brief
- Yemeni military forces backed by warplanes, artillery, and armed tribesmen captured Wadi Banaa Arab, an area near Jaar in Abyan governorate, on May 24. Thirty-five Ansar al Sharia militants were killed in both clashes and airstrikes; most of them were reportedly killed in Zinjibar. Ten Yemeni soldiers and tribesmen were injured.
- At least 13 people were killed and three others wounded in a suicide car bomb attack near the Aisha school in al Hazm, the capital of al Jawf governorate. The target of the attack was reportedly a group of al Houthis, who were gathered in the school. The al Houthis reported that a man wearing an explosive belt planned to blow himself up during an al Houthi march in Sa’ada city, but the bomb did not detonate properly.
- The Yemeni publication Al Masdar Online reported that a spokesman of Ansar al Sharia identified the suicide bomber in the May 21 attack in Sana’a as Haitham Hamid Hussein Mufarih. A security source confirmed that Mufarih was a member of the Central Security Forces. It was previously reported that the name of the bomber was Ameen Addin Ali al Wirafi, but he was found to still be living in Sana’a. Yemen’s Interior Ministry apologized for the mix-up on May 24 and reported that two more suspects were arrested on May 23 in Sana’a in connection with the attack.
- Clashes between Southern Movement activists and protesters taking part in a sit-in killed one person and wounded several others in Aden’s Freedom Square on May 24. The protesters conducting a sit-in were supporters of Yemeni unity and were attacked by members of the Southern Movement.
- Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi met with an American congressional delegation in Sana’a on May 24 to discuss Yemen’s political transition. The delegation was led by Steve Chabot (R-OH), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. Hadi emphasized the obstacles he faces, including terrorism and economic issues. Chabot expressed his condolences for the May 21 Sana’a suicide bombing and conveyed the United States’ condemnation of the attack.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Five civilians were reportedly killed and nine others wounded when a shell hit their minibus in Lafole district while fleeing Afgoi on May 24. It was unclear who fired the shell. African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) spokesman Paddy Ankunda stated that al Shabaab militants attacked a joint AMISOM-Transitional Federal Government (TFG) base in Carbiska, 22 kilometers north east of Mogadishu. Ankunda added that seven AMISOM soldiers were injured between May 23 and 24. Additionally, local residents reported seeing TFG and AMISOM forces at Baar Ismail Junction near the entrance to Afgoi.
- A grenade attack in a hotel in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya reportedly wounded three civilians on May 24. Kenyan police chief Leo Nyongesa stated that the grenade was thrown into the hotel’s restaurant and that the victims were immediately taken to a nearby hospital.
- Al Shabaab’s media wing al Kata’ib Media Foundation released a video on May 24 featuring Kenyan police officer Mule Edward Yesse who was abducted in a January 2012 attack in Wajir district. In the video, Yesse sends a plea for Kenyan President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga to secure his and fellow captive Fredrick Irungu Wainaina’s release. Yesse also urges Kenyan troops to hastily withdraw from Somalia.
- A Somali jihadist with the alias “Abu Muhammad as Somaali” posted a picture of Omar Hammami, also known as Abu Mansour al Amriki, with a laptop displaying his autobiography on May 23 on his Twitter. Hammami’s autobiography titled, “The Story of an American Jihaadi, Part One” was released on May 16.
- Somali-based Islamic World Issues Study Center (IWISC) released a video titled, “The Truth about the American Aggression on Somalia” on two jihadist forums on May 23. IWISC’s website states that the organization aims to present “serious studies and illuminated research” to enlighten Muslims. The video shows the alleged spot of the airstrike which killed Bilal al Berjawi in January 2012. The video adds, “America is also part of the massacres that are being committed against the Somalia people.” The video also features Somali clan leaders attempting to unify the Somali community around foreign intervention and hostility.