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 video threatening spies who work with U.S. government; Yemeni security forces clash with AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate; AQAP releases posthumous statement from local Ansar al Sharia leader; SVBIED detonates in Hadramawt governorate; suspected AQAP militants throw grenades at central bank in Shabwah governorate; SVBIED detonates near security checkpoint in Shabwah governorate; Yemeni security forces clash with AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate; AQAP militants accidentally detonate IED in Shabwah governorate; Yemeni security forces raided an AQAP stronghold in Shabwah governorate; unidentified assailants target French embassy personnel, a Yemeni security officer, and civilians in Sana’a capital
Horn of Africa: al Shabaab claims responsibility for two explosions targeting Somali officials in Mogadishu; unidentified assailants carry out multiple explosive attacks in Mombasa, Kenya; two IED blasts target passenger buses in Nairobi; al Shabaab militants attack AMISOM and SNA bases in Hiraan and Lower Shabelle regions; SNA forces clash with Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a militia in Gedo region
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video detailing the April 2 attack by ten AQAP militants on a Yemeni army base in the city of Aden, to YouTube and Twitter accounts on May 1. Produced by AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem Media Foundation, the video is the fourth installment in a series titled, “Repulsion of Aggression,” and features commentary from AQAP military leader Qasim al Raymi threatening to take revenge on spies who work with the United States.
- Yemeni security forces clashed with AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate on May 2, killing five militants, and destroying a number of AQAP vehicles.
- AQAP released a posthumous statement from Ali bin Lakraa’ al Kazimiin, a local Ansar al Sharia leader killed in an April 20 airstrike in the al Mahfad region in Abyan governorate. Released on May 3, Lakraa’s statement urges the Ba Kazim tribe to continue the fight against Yemeni security forces.
- A suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) detonated near a security checkpoint in al Mukalla in Hadramawt governorate on May 3, injuring two Yemeni soldiers.
- Reports indicate that suspected AQAP militants threw hand grenades at a central bank building in Shabwah governorate on May 3, wounding two Yemeni soldiers.
- An SVBIED detonated near a security checkpoint in Shabwah governorate on May 4, killing six Yemeni soldiers and wounding at least twenty.
- Yemeni security forces clashed with AQAP militants near the town of Mayfa’a in Shabwah governorate on May 4, killing 37 militants, detaining five more, and injuring an unknown number of others. Reports identify many of the deceased AQAP militants as Afghans, Chechens, Saudis, Somalis and other foreign nationalities.
- Reports indicate that ten AQAP militants driving in a vehicle accidentally detonated one of their own roadside IEDs in Shabwah governorate on May 4, killing all ten militants in the vehicle.
- Yemeni security forces with air support raided an AQAP hideout in Naqba Hills in Shabwah governorate on May 4, killing six militants and four Yemeni soldiers. Security forces also detained four wounded militants and destroyed four AQAP vehicles.
- Unidentified gunmen killed a French embassy guard and wounded another outside the French embassy in Hadda district in Sana’a capital on May 5. Separately, unidentified gunmen killed the Yemeni Commander of Special Security forces in Sana’a capital, and an IED detonated in a trash can near a market, wounding at least three civilians.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for two explosions targeting Somali officials in Mogadishu on May 3. An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near a vehicle carrying Somali police official Abdifaki Hilowle Osman in the KM-4 junction of the city. Reports indicate that the explosion killed Osman, three security guards, and six civilians as well as injuring as many as 25 others. Al Shabaab’s representative to Banadir region, Ali Mohamed Hussein, declared that explosion targeted Osman for his role as former secretary of Banadir regional administration, warning that al Shabaab intends to target former Mogadishu district commissioners as well. Separately, an IED attached to the vehicle of Somali government official Abdullah Ahmed detonated outside a hotel near the Wadajir district of Mogadishu. The explosion did not inflict any casualties.
- Unidentified assailants simultaneously carried out multiple explosive attacks targeting civilians in Mombasa, Kenya on May 3. The assailants threw a grenade at a crowded bus terminal in the city, killing three civilians and wounding as many as twenty more. Separately, an IED detonated inside a hotel in Mombasa, reportedly only causing structural damage. Reports indicate that police foiled a third attack targeting a nearby cinema. Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the blasts, Kenyan authorities traditionally blame such violence on al Shabaab and locally radicalized Muslim youth. Kenyan police identified two suspects, believed to have died in the explosions, as individuals arrested during a February raid of al Shabaab-linked Musa mosque in Mombasa.
- Multiple IEDs detonated on or near two crowded passenger buses along Thika road near Kasarani in Nairobi on May 4. The blasts killed at least three people and injured as many as 62 more. Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosions, Kenyan authorities have blamed al Shabaab for similar violence in the past.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked an AMISOM and Somalia National Army (SNA) base in the Mahas district of Hiraan region on May 3. SNA officials in the region report that the AMISOM and SNA forces successfully repelled the attack. Shortly after the confrontation, AMISOM and SNA forces conducted security operations in the district, arresting an unspecified number suspected al Shabaab militants. Separately, al Shabaab militants fired mortar shells at an SNA base in Qoryoley in Lower Shabelle region on May 4. The mortar fire prompted direct clashes between al Shabaab militants and SNA forces. Although reports indicate both sides suffered casualties, exact figures remain unknown.
- SNA forces clashed with Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ) militia in Beled Hawo in Gedo region on May 5. Unspecified disputes between local leaders reportedly prompted the SNA forces to attack the ASWJ militia upon arrival in Beled Hawo from nearby Dolow. At least three people were killed and as many as ten wounded during the fighting.