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: Al Qaeda-linked militants attack car in Dhamar governorate; Yemeni journalist analyzes AQAP in article published on al Wasat website; Yemeni jihadist media group urges membership
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases press statement about recent ambush near Dhobley; al Shabaab denies receiving weapons from aircraft; Sierra Leone to send 850 troops to join AMISOM; Kenyan military imposes a no-fly zone over Baidoa, Navy destroys boat transporting fuel for al Shabaab; police officer killed in Somaliland; unidentified gunman kill TFG soldier in Mogadishu; TFG police and soldiers fire at each other in Mogadishu; al Shabaab in Baidoa arrests ten people
Yemen Security Brief
- Tribal sources reported that suspected al Qaeda militants attacked a car carrying Yemen’s consultative council member Mohammed al Haithami Ashal and army Colonel Ahmed Naser Ashal in Dhamar governorate. The source said that the militants opened fire on their car as it was heading towards Sana’a, wounding Ashal in the leg and the army colonel in the head.
- Yemeni journalist Abdul Razzaq al Jamal published an article about the present and future plans of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and America’s options for dealing with AQAP, on the Yemeni newspaper’s al Wasat website, on October 26. The article was then published on jihadist forums. Jamal said that AQAP has shown its increase in strength over the past year with its shift away from guerilla-like tactics toward those of conventional warfare; however, the ability to resort back to its old guerilla-like methods still exists, thus giving it more strength. The article also states that AQAP has gained public support as a result of its providing of humanitarian aid and many social and judicial services that were previously lacking. The article goes on to say that the United States’ drone strikes against AQAP has not and will not work because it only creates more enemies and eliminates any local support that AQAP has not already secured, which is its only base for fighting al Qaeda in Yemen effectively. Jamal concluded his article with the assertion that the U.S. will not defeat AQAP and goes as far as to say that AQAP will extend its reach into the Persian Gulf and defeat the U.S there, as well.
- A Yemeni jihadist media group, Madad News Agency, posted two messages, urging jihadist forum members to help the group distribute its publications on social-media and networking sites, on the radical Islamist web forum, Shumukh al-Islam, on November 3. The posts said that it will offer a “generous compensation” to those that join the group and “merge within the ranks of Ansar al Shariah to preach for the institution of the Shariah of Allah in Muslim lands.”
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- In a press release, al Shabaab reported on an ambush it conducted against Kenyan forces on November 2 near the town of Dhobley in Lower Jubba region. Al Shabaab claimed to have destroyed three of the vehicles with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and that al Shabaab militants pursued the convoy. In a second press release, al Shabaab noted that the 'Ayr tribe pledged allegiance to the group, promising to institute shari’a law and defend Islam and Somalia from “crusader forces.”
- Al Shabaab released a statement saying that the Kenyan government reports of aircraft resupplying al Shabaab were propaganda to justify “the mass murder of innocent civilians in Somalia.” The statement said that Kenya was not in Somalia to defend its border, but rather to wage war on the Somali people.
- Sierra Leone pledged to deploy a battalion, 850 troops, to Somalia to join the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by the middle of next year. This follows the announcement of the planned deployment of 850 Djiboutian troops next month. Both contingents will reinforce the Ugandan and Burundian troops already there.
- Kenyan military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir announced that the Kenyan Air Force would destroy any airplane attempting to land at Baidoa airport. He said, “We know Baidoa is being used to deliver weapons . . . every time we have a delivery, we are going to take that aircraft down.” At least three aircraft carrying weapons and other military supplies have landed at the airport recently. Chirchir also accused al Shabaab of moving weapons and supplies by donkey, and urged people not to sell their animals to the group. He said that any “large concentration and movement of loaded donkeys will be considered an al Shabaab activity.” Finally, Chirchir reported that the Kenyan Navy had intercepted a skiff being used to transport fuel by al Shabaab and destroyed it, killing all 18 militants on board. The skiff was heading toward Kudha in Lower Jubba region.
- Unknown gunmen shot and killed a police officer in Eri Gabo in Sanaag region. A Somaliland official, Colonel Abdirashid Dhunkal, said that the shooting sparked a fight between Somaliland security forces and the gunmen whom he claimed were members of the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) militia. Dhunkal said that security forces killed three of them and wounded several others.
- Gunmen dressed in Transitional Federal Government (TFG) army uniforms shot and killed a TFG soldier while they were “involved in robbing activities” in Dharkenley district in Mogadishu. Moallim Abdullahi Ali Hilowle, Dharkenley’s district commissioner, commented that the soldier killed had not been identified but investigations were ongoing.
- A group of TFG soldiers and police opened fire during a dispute over food aid distribution in Mogadishu’s Bondhere district. The fighting resulted in one person dead and two others wounded.
- Al Shabaab militants arrested ten people in Baidoa in Bay region for spreading reports of Eritrean aircraft carrying weapons landing at Baidoa. Locals reported that the arrests followed a search operation conducted by the militants. Those arrested were taken to a detention center in the town.