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: Assailants kill Shi’ite Muslims in Sana’a; 33rd and 35th Armored Brigades switch locations in Dhaleh and Taiz governorates; gunmen kidnap senior oil and mineral official; security forces arrest three suspected al Qaeda militants in Aden governorate; security forces seize weapons in al Hudaydah governorate; security forces disarm anti-tank mine in Aden governorate; security forces remove three rockets near stadium in Aden governorate; Ma’rib tribal sheikhs meet with senior military leaders to resolve disputes; President Hadi says al Qaeda is the reason for an economic recession; workers at Ma’rib gas power plant threaten to cut off electricity; tribal clashes break out in Shabwah governorate; honor killing sparks tribal clashes in Shabwah governorate; hundreds of people protest in front of President Hadi’s residence in Sana’a; Yemeni soldier kills qat dealer in Hadramawt governorate; unidentified gunmen open fire on vehicle heading to Aden governorate; security forces arrest two Southern Movement activists in Aden governorate
Horn of Africa: Omar Hammami responds to being put on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorist list; militants attack the home of a Somali security official in Mogadishu; Somali forces carry out searches in Mogadishu; three people are arrested in connection with IED bombing in Eastleigh, Kenya; 88 people arrested for illegal acts during rioting in Eastleigh, Kenya; grenade attack injures four in Bardale, Bay region; SNA soldiers exchange gunfire in Mogadishu; unknown militants attack Kenyan bases in Kismayo; Puntland security forces attack protestors in Qadho, Bari region; al Shabaab briefly captured Beled Hawo, Gedo region; a suspect is arrested in Garissa, Kenya for killing three Kenyan soldiers; SNA and AMISOM troops are moving to Jowhar, Lower Shabelle; two bombs explode in Kismayo; SNA forces kill al Shabaab commander outside Mogadishu; Somali troops exchange gunfire in Beledweyne, Hiraan; UPDF recall 2,000 troops; commissioner for the Bakara Market traders is killed in Mogadishu; al Shabaab leader spotted in Lower Shabelle; a gunfight between police officers and gangs occurs in Galkayo, Mudug region
Yemen Security Brief
- Unidentified assailants killed at least four Shi’ite Muslims and wounded 13 more in Sana’a on November 24. The Shi’ite Muslims, who were observing a religious ceremony in commemoration of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussein, were targeted with an explosive device and gunfire. Al Houthi rebels, a Shi’ite-affiliated rebel group in northern Yemen, released a statement following the attack, condemning the incident and calling on the Yemeni government to protect its citizens. The Shura Council, an appointed division of the Yemeni government, condemned the attacks and called for security forces to better protect its citizens.
- Local sources reported on November 26 that the 33rd Armored Brigade has switched locations with the 35th Armored Brigade. The 33rd Armored Brigade, which was originally stationed in Taiz governorate, will take the place of the 35th Armored Brigade in Dhaleh governorate. The 35th Armored Brigade will now be stationed in the eastern part of Taiz governorate.
- Unidentified gunmen kidnapped Waleed Ahmed Odaini, president of the Preparatory Committee for Petroleum and Minerals, on November 25. Local sources reported that Odaini was taken to an undisclosed location in Sana’a. The unidentified gunmen later released Odaini on November 25.
- Security forces arrested three individuals in Aden governorate suspected of being affiliated to al Qaeda, according to a local report on November 24. The three arrested individuals stated that they have ties to al Qaeda militants in Abyan governorate.
- Security forces seized a large stockpile of sniper rifle scopes in al Hudaydah port on November 24. Local sources reported that the sniper rifles were shipped from China. In a related incident, security forces seized roughly 50 assault rifles in al Hudaydah governorate on November 22. Local sources reported that the rifles were headed to Midi port in Hajjah governorate.
- Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams disarmed an anti-tank mine in Sheikh Othman district of Aden governorate on November 25. Security forces are currently investigating the incident.
- Security forces found three rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) near the May 22 Stadium in Sheikh Othman district of Aden governorate on November 25. Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams removed the RPGs from the area.
- Tribal sheikhs from Ma’rib governorate met with Col. Abdulkhaleq Ahmed Shuwait Ali, Chief of Staff for the 312th Brigade, on November 24. Tribal sheikhs and Col. Ali agreed to solve a number of issues between tribesmen and the military in Ma’rib governorate. Tribesmen ambushed the 312th Brigade on November 20, resulting in the death of senior brigade commanders.
- President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi stated on November 24 that al Qaeda is the reason why economic recession exists in Yemen. President Hadi added that al Qaeda target’s the Yemeni economy and drives away investment which leads to unemployment. President Hadi was quoted as saying, “Terrorism has no nation, no borders… all international states should cooperate to combat and eradicate it.”
- Workers at the Ma’rib gas power plant threatened to cut off electricity on November 24. The workers are protesting against the security force’s inability to locate a kidnapped senior official of the Ma’rib gas power plant.
- Two individuals were killed and two more were wounded in violent clashes in Shabwah governorate on November 25. Local sources reported that a land dispute led to clashes between members of the al Basreda tribe. The clashes occurred in al Anateer village of al Rawda district.
- Violent clashes broke out between tribesmen from the Bani Hilal and Bani Atef tribes in Jardan district of Shabwah governorate last week according to a report by a local news source on November 26. It is unclear if the clashes, which were sparked by an honor killing, resulted in casualties.
- Hundreds of people from Dhamar governorate protested at President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s residence in Sana’a on November 21. Local sources reported that the protesters are demanding the removal of the governor of Dhamar governorate.
- A qat dealer was killed by a Central Security Forces (CSF) soldier in al Mukalla city in Hadramawt governorate on November 25. Local sources reported that a dispute between the qat dealer and the soldier led to the killing.
- Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a vehicle traveling from Sana’a to Aden governorate on November 26. Local sources reported that the vehicle was carrying individuals from Abyan governorate, including Col. Saned Bader al Masiri. Local sources added that although the vehicle was heavily damaged, the occupants of the vehicle did not suffer casualties and was able to defend the attack.
- Security forces arrested two Southern Movement activists in Aden city on November 26. Local sources added that the two Southern Movement activists were protesting and tearing pictures of Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A spokesman for Omar Hammami, the American terrorist who joined the Somali terrorist organization al Shabaab and was recently listed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List, said “[Hammami] would like to accept the honor of the most wanted list and thanks to everyone.”
- Unknown militants attacked the home of a Somali security official, Abdullahi Qaldan, in Mogadishu on November 22. Qaldan’s security guards engaged the militants in a gunfight and he was able to flee the home uninjured. One fighter was killed and another four were injured during the clash. No group has yet to claim responsibility for the attack.
- Somali security forces carried out searches in the Suqa Hoolaha neighborhood of Mogadishu on November 22. Somali forces captured around twenty al Shabaab fighters during the operation. There are several casualties reported from the various raids, but exact numbers are not known.
- Three people were arrested on November 22 in connection with the IED explosion that blew up a bus and killed 10 people in Eastleigh, Nairobi. Police have warned civilians that accomplices of the three men arrested are planning on carrying out additional attacks in Kenya. Three different men, who led the planned operation to detonate the IED on the bus, have still not been caught.
- Police arrested 88 people on November 22 following rioting targeted against Somalis in Eastleigh, Nairobi that left six dead. All of the suspects, which included 37 minors, were released on bail and hearing dates will be set at a later time.
- Unknown assailants threw a grenade at government soldiers in Bardale, Bay region on November 23. Four civilians were injured in the explosion and the government troops suffered no casualties. No group has yet claimed responsibility for attack.
- Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers fired upon each other in the Dharkenley district of Mogadishu on November 23. The forces exchanged gunfire after soldiers tried to remove a roadblock put in place by another group of soldiers. At least two SNA fighters were killed.
- An unknown militia attacked Kenyan bases in Kismayo on November 24. The attack lasted for several hours but Kenyan army soldiers were eventually able to repel the assault. Casualties did occur, but exact numbers are not known.
- Demonstrators in Qardho city, Bari region, took to the streets to protest the visit by the president of Puntland, Abdirahman Farole on November 24. Puntland security forces opened fire on the protestors, seriously injuring two civilians.
- Al Shabaab briefly captured the town of Beled Hawo, Gedo region on November 24 from the SNA soldiers stationed in the town. SNA soldiers were able to regroup and retake the town from al Shabaab troops. Al Shabaab leaders say they took the town, recovered weapons, and left for strategic reasons. Al Shabaab also claims to have killed 15 SNA fighters, whereas SNA leaders say they killed up to 20 al Shabaab fighters. So far, 12 have been confirmed dead. Somali troops also reported that al Shabaab militants looted local civilians in Beled Hawo. Following the fight, Kenyan Defense Forces decided to deploy forces to Beled Hawo to tighten security in the area. 
- A suspect was arrested on November 24 for the killings of three KDF soldiers in Garissa, Kenya. The man was positively identified by witnesses present at the shooting. The suspect later confessed to carrying out the attack and being a member of al Shabaab. Additionally, a Garissa official fired 33 security officials on November 26 for not helping to stop terror attacks in the area.
- SNA and AMISOM forces are moving toward Jowhar, Lower Shabelle region on November 25. The armies are hoping to take Jowhar from the al Shabaab militants currently occupying the town. Civilians are reported to be fleeing in fear of the looming attack.
- A roadside bomb exploded while Ras Kamboni officials were having a meeting in Kismayo on November 25. One person is reported killed and several more are said to be injured, including soldiers and civilians. Immediately following the IED attack, a grenade was thrown at Somali troops in the Argada district of Kismayo. Casualties from that explosion are not known. No group has yet to claim responsibility for either attack.
- SNA forces killed an al Shabaab commander in Sokohola, Lower Shabelle on November 25. During a raid on al Shabaab bases in the area, the commander known as Guludupu was killed, 16 militants were captured and several arms and munitions were recovered.
- Government troops fired upon each other in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on November 25. The gunfight erupted when one group of soldiers tried to loot qat from local traders. One civilian was killed and several others were injured.
- The Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) is bringing 2,000 of its retired soldiers back into the field to replace Ugandan soldiers already stationed in Somalia in order to comply with AMISOM mandates. This contingent consists of only soldiers who trained with UPDF and fought against the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.
- The Chairmen of the Bakara Market Traders, Ahmed Nur Awdinle, was shot and killed at the Bakaro market in Mogadishu on November 26. Awdinle, as well as one of his body guards, were killed by two unknown gunmen. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
- A Somali Member of Parliament, Dahir Amin Jessow, has told the media that al Shabaab leader Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr “Godane,” along with other high level militants, are in Lower Shabelle to quell tribal tensions that are flaring up. A family member of Jessow told him the al Shabaab leaders are in the village of Gobale, Lower Shabelle region.
- A gunfight between police officers and gangs took place in Galkayo, Mudug on November 26. One police officer was killed along with one gang member. Three others were injured. Nearly 20 people were arrested following the clash.