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: Car drives into group of protesters in Sana’a; governor of Taiz orders military to withdraw from streets; AQAP video release portrays humanitarian acts in Abyan
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases statements detailing humanitarian efforts; al Shabaab preventing civilians from evacuating targeted towns; al Shabaab fortifies Kismayo; Djibouti to send troops to join AMISOM; Kenya says third planeload of weapons delivered to al Shabaab; TFG, Kenyan troops capture al Shabaab bases in Gedo region; al Shabaab militants attack Kenyan official’s house in Elwaq
Yemen Security Brief
- An unmarked car ploughed through a group of protesters calling for the trial Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, injuring 15 people, on al Qaa Street in Sana’a. The protesters detained the driver of the car, who is allegedly a pro-Saleh supporter.
- Governor and head of security of Taiz, Hamoud al Soufi ordered the withdrawal of all military and security forces from the streets and seized buildings in Taiz. Sources reported that the withdrawal order is an attempt to avoid more casualties and maintain an open dialogue with the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP). They added that the order came after mediation between the local authority and representatives from anti-government militias, resulting in a ceasefire agreement. Under the agreement, militias must withdraw from the streets and seized buildings, as well.
- A Yemeni jihadist media group, Madad News Agency, released the first episode in a new series called, “Eye on the Event,” which covers the activities of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Abyan governorate. The video was posted on jihadist forums on November 2. The video features fighters from the al Qaeda-linked group, Ansar al Sharia, donating food and aid items to poor families in Zinjibar. The video also shows the group returning a stolen truck to its owner and paving roads in Zinjibar and Jaar with a tractor that was taken as a spoil from the Yemeni army.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Shabaab issued two statements describing its humanitarian activities in Banadir and Jubba regions. The first statement says that al Shabaab’s governor of the Jubba regions, Sheikh Abu Bakr Ali Adam, visited victims of Kenya’s air raid on Jilib in Mariri Hospital. The statement says that he distributed money to the victims’ families and “comforted them for their affliction.” The second statement details the distribution of aid to people displaced by recent fighting in Daynile district in Mogadishu. The al Shabaab administration claimed that 2,000 individuals received aid, which included 45 kilograms of rice, 25 kilograms of barely, 10 kilograms of sugar, 6 liters of oil, and 12 kilograms of dates for every person and 300 tents.
- Civilians attempting to flee towns named by the Kenyan Defense Ministry as targets for airstrikes have reported that al Shabaab militants have prevented them from leaving. Abdikadir Weydow, a resident of Afmadow, said, “(Al Shabaab) ordered us to stay and die at the hands of Christian Kenya, to dwell in paradise.” Similar reporting came out of Kismayo.
- Al Shabaab has reinforced its positions within Kismayo. Locals report that the militant group has mounted weapons on rooftops, dug trenches, and armed students. Fatuma Ali, a resident of Kismayo, said, “They have put their weapons over us. Every high house in the city is a defense for al Shabaab.”
- A battalion of 850 Djiboutian soldiers will deploy to Somalia to join the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) this month, according to an AMISOM spokesman.
- Kenyan military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said that a third planeload of weapons, allegedly from Eritrea, landed to supply al Shabaab. He commented that the weapons would be used against Kenyan troops. Chirchir also reiterated that the Kenyan military was tracking the weapons shipments and would destroy them with airstrikes.
- Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Kenyan troops peacefully took several al Shabaab bases in the area between Elwaq, Beled Hawo, and Garbaharey. TFG military official Osman Sheikh Abdi said that the bases captured were Gadon-dawe, Khadijo-Hajji, al Adde and El-Gudud.
- A group of al Shabaab militants attacked the house being used by a Kenyan military official in Elwaq near the Kenyan border. The TFG spokesman in Gedo region, Ahmed Abdi Arab, said that the official was not in the house at the time of the attack. A student was killed and several other women and children were injured during the attack.