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 jihadist announces death of AQAP official; tribal leaders in al Mahfad district attempt to broker truce between Yemeni security forces and AQAP; three foreign AQAP militants reported killed in Shabwah governorate; Yemeni security officials identify men responsible for killing of French EU worker in Sana’a; security threats force closure of U.S. Embassy in Sana’a; Yemeni security forces seize Azzan district from AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate
Horn of Africa: al Shabaab militants ambush Somali Prime Minister’s convoy in Lower Shabelle region; unidentified gunmen kill Kenyan national in Mudug region; Puntland Marine Forces intercept Yemeni fishing vessels off the coast of Bari region
Yemen Security Brief
- An unidentified Yemeni jihadist announced the death of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) official Adib al Nakh’i to the Shumukh al Islam forum on May 4. Nakh’i was killed in clashes with Yemeni security forces in al Bayda governorate on May 3.
- Bakazam tribal leaders from al Mahfad district in Abyan governorate are reportedly attempting to mediate between Yemeni security forces and AQAP militants in an effort to end civilian deaths and stop Yemeni military operations in the region that began on April 28.
- Yemeni government officials reported on May 7 that three foreign AQAP militants were killed in recent clashes with Yemeni security forces in Shabwah governorate. The militants were identified as Algerian national Abu Ayub al Jazairi, Pakistani national Nakhii, also known as Mikassa, and Saudi national Abu Dojana.
- Yemeni security officials confirmed the death of two men and the arrest of another on May 7 whom they claim are responsible for the killing of a French EU security worker in Sana’a on May 5. A Yemeni counter-terrorism unit killed Wael Abdallah Masoud al Waeli and another individual whom they claim had links to AQAP. Waeli is also suspected of participating in the abduction of a Dutch couple in Sana’a capital in June 2013, and a prison break at Sana’a central prison in February in which at least 19 AQAP militants escaped. Further details regarding the individual in custody remain unclear.
- The U.S. Department of State announced the closure of the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a through May 10, and noted the possibility of additional closings due to "recent attacks against Western interests in Yemen." This announcement closely follows the assassination of a French EU security worker in Sana’a capital on May 5.
- Yemeni security forces announced the seizure of a third AQAP stronghold in Azzan district in Shabwah governorate on May 8. AQAP militants reportedly fled to nearby mountains, where Yemeni security forces engaged them in sporadic clashes. Azzan has been a traditional stronghold of AQAP’s insurgent wing, Ansar al Sharia, and was the site of a similar Yemeni military operation against AQAP and Ansar al Sharia in July 2012. No causalities have yet been reported.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab militants ambushed Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed’s convoy near Qoryole in Lower Shabelle region on May 8. Although the militants damaged a vehicle during the ambush, the Prime Minister and his delegation were uninjured as AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) forces repelled the attack. The al Shabaab militants initiated further fighting upon Prime Minister Ahmed’s arrival in Qoryole. The extent of casualties suffered during the clashes remains unclear.
- Unidentified gunmen killed a Kenyan national, Kenneth Mwanga, in Galkayo in Mudug region on May 7. The motive for killing Mwanga, a teacher in Galkayo, remains unclear as no group has yet claimed responsibility.
- Puntland Marine Forces intercepted two Yemeni fishing vessels off the coast of Bari region near the port of Bargal on May 7. The marine forces seized the vessels, arresting 62 Yemeni fisherman and twenty armed Somali guards, for operating illegally in Somali waters.