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: Suspected AQAP movement intensifies in Lahij governorate; senior political security organization officer wounded in a car accident in Abyan governorate; unidentified gunmen attack police stations in Ibb governorate; security forces remain on high alert in Aden; tribesmen in al Haymah seize two government transportation vehicles; two individuals arrested near Sana’a for kidnapping
Horn of Africa: UNSC considers resolutions about AMISOM and Somali imports and exports; al Shabaab releases five communiqués; Somali forces conduct searches in Marka, Lower Shabelle; Kenyan forces arrest 50 people in Garissa, Kenya; al Shabaab militants kill farmer in Gedo region; al Shabaab militants attack AMISOM troops outside Mogadishu; Somali officer killed after attempting to remove illegal roadblock in Beledweyne, Hiraan
Yemen Security Brief
- Local residents reported on November 1 that armed groups suspected of being affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are securing areas in Lahij governorate. According to local sources, armed groups are securing areas of Lahij governorate and transforming them into transit hubs for movement between al Bayda and Abyan governorates. Local residents blamed security forces for not securing the areas in order prevent the movement of armed groups. Other residents accused security officials of colluding with AQAP to assist in the movement of armed groups through villages in Radfan and Yafa’a districts in Lahij governorate.
- A senior Political Security Organization (PSO) officer was wounded in a car accident in Abyan governorate on October 31. Local sources reported that the PSO officer, identified as Col. Ahmed Saeed al Shena’a, was wounded while traveling from Zinjibar to Aden. An additional individual accompanying Saeed al Shena’a was wounded in the accident. Security forces stated that there are suspicions regarding the car accident.
- Unidentified gunmen attacked police stations and blocked roads in Ibb governorate on November 1. The gunmen reportedly stormed and burnt down a police department in protest of security forces killing a local citizen. The gunmen also blockaded an additional police station and cut off a main road in Ibb that connects Sana’a with Taiz governorate. Several security units have been deployed to control the situation.
- Local sources reported on November 1 that security forces in Aden governorate remain on high alert. Security measures were increased last week during the Islamic Eid al Adha holiday and the same levels of security alertness remain present in public areas of Aden governorate.
- Tribesmen in al Haymah region, west of Sana’a, seized two transportation vehicles belonging to a Yemeni economic institution on October 31. Local sources reported that the tribesmen created a roadblock in al Manar region of al Haymah, and then seized two transportation vehicles carrying gasoline. The transportation vehicles were reportedly traveling from al Hudaydah city to Sana’a. This is the second time in two weeks that tribesmen in the same area have seized transportation vehicles belonging to the Yemeni government.
- Two unidentified individuals were arrested at the Naqil bin Ghaylan police checkpoint between Sana’a and Ma’rib governorate on November 1. The two unidentified individuals, reportedly one male and one female, are wanted by security forces for kidnapping and blocking roads.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has extended AMISOM’s mandate in Somalia for one week so that it can draft a resolution to keep the peacekeeping force in the country for another year. The UNSC is currently weighing several additional measures relating to the Horn of Africa country. The UNSC is currently debating whether to lift the ban on arms to Somalia. The Somali government has asked to end the ban so that it can arm its soldiers and more easily defeat al Shabaab. The UNSC is also considering lifting a ban on charcoal exports from the country. Charcoal was once al Shabaab’s main source of revenue, but since the port of Kismayo fell under government control, those in the city hope to re-start the charcoal trade. Finally, the UNSC is considering a request from AMISOM to receive additional support for its civilian and maritime components.
- Al Shabaab issued five communiqués claiming its activities between October 20 and 24. Al Shabaab has claimed it killed 30 Somali and AMISOM troops between Mogadishu and Baidoa in addition to 16 other instances of assassination or bombings.
- Somali forces conducted security sweeps in the city of Marka, Lower Shabelle on November 1. The searches were meant to find those connected to the killing of Somali General Farah Gordon. Officials say they arrested many who may be linked to the al Shabaab ambush, but did not give a specific number.
- Kenyan police have arrested over 50 people in Garissa, Kenya on November 1. The people in custody are linked to the death of a Kenyan officer who was shot on October 30. There are some reports that say police fired indiscriminately at civilians during the arrest operations.
- A farmer was killed by al Shabaab militants in the Gedo region on November 1. The farmer refused to pay the “zakat,” a compulsory monetary contribution under shari’a, to the al Shabaab soldiers enforcing the payment. This new mandatory contribution has forced those without enough money to flee parts of the Gedo region.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked AMISOM troops outside of Mogadishu on October 31. A prolonged firefight followed the ambush but exact casualties are not known. Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was able to destroy an AMISOM truck.
- A Somali military officer was killed as he was trying to remove an illegal roadblock in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on October 31. The man who set up the roadblock and eventually shot the Somali soldier was able to flee the scene but is currently being pursued by Somali troops.