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: Central Security Forces officer shot dead in Sana’a; Popular Resistance Committee forces arrest reported senior al Qaeda leader in Abyan governorate; riots break out at al Daylami airbase in Sana’a; Yemeni government deploys tanks and airplanes to support pipeline repair efforts in Ma’rib governorate; Yemeni counterterrorism units receive new American equipment; security forces kill two Somali immigrants in Lahij governorate
Horn of Africa: Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri promotes jihad in Somalia; al Shabaab releases six communiqués on jihadist forums; car bomb targets Somali parliament compound in Mogadishu; Somali envoy to Kenya urges international community uphold charcoal ban; four Somali pirates flown to the Netherlands for trial; Puntland security forces arrest three al Shabaab militants in Mudug region; major peace conference to take place in Kismayo; AMISOM police reportedly not cooperating with Somali police in Mogadishu; Puntland information minister accuses former Somali prime minister of inciting instability
Yemen Security Brief
- Unidentified gunmen shot dead a Central Security Forces (CSF) officer in Sana’a on November 7. The officer, identified as Maj. Mohammad Hussein al Fil, was shot dead by two gunmen riding a motorcycle. A local source reported that Maj. Fil was working in a counterterrorism capacity. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is suspected of being behind the attack.
- Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) fighters raided Nasser al Fadhli’s home on the outskirts of Shaqra city in Abyan governorate on November 7. Nasser al Fadhli is the father of Tariq al Fadhli, who fought with al Qaeda in Afghanistan against the Soviets. Senior PRC leader in Shaqra Ali Abdullah al Ahtel reported that PRC forces arrested a senior al Qaeda leader, identified as Tariq al Najdi, in Nasser al Fadhli’s home. PRC forces have transferred Tariq al Najdi to Yemeni security forces for further investigation.
- Riots erupted at al Daylami airbase in Sana’a on November 7. Local sources reported that riots broke out after students at the Institute of Aviation and Air Defense cut off streets in front of the airbase and blocked the entrances. Local sources added that the students are demanding the departure of the institution’s director.
- Local sources reported that the Yemeni military deployed tanks and aircraft on November 6 to support pipeline repair efforts in Ma’rib governorate. The main liquefied natural gas pipeline running through Ma’rib governorate was damaged in an attack on October 30. Local sources added that there is a fear that clashes may break out between Yemeni government personnel and tribal forces used to guard the pipeline.
- An Emirati newspaper reported on November 7 that Yemeni counterterrorism units have acquired new American technology to track the movement of its soldiers in its fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in southern and eastern Yemen. The newspaper added that the equipment arrived in Yemen a few days ago by airplane.
- Two Somali immigrants were killed by Yemeni security forces a checkpoint in Lahij governorate on November 7. Local sources reported that Yemeni security forces opened fire on the Somali immigrants after they refused to stop at a checkpoint in al Anad region.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Al Qaeda’s media arm, as Sahab, released a video of Ayman al Zawahiri on jihadist forums on November 6. Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri promoted jihad in Somalia and called for every capable Muslim to carry out jihad against a “flagrant Crusader invasion,” referring to AMISOM forces. Zawahiri added that al Shabaab, which formally joined al Qaeda in February 2012, should not worry about the size of the enemy forces or their superior equipment, for they are considered “spoils of war” brought to them by God.
- Al Shabaab released six communiqués on jihadist forums on November 5. Al Shabaab claimed 24 attacks throughout Somalia, including the killing of four AMISOM troops in Lower Shabelle, the killing of security personnel in Kismayo, and the failed assassination attempt of Ras Kamboni leader Ahmed Madobe. One of the communiqués released also referenced a pledge by Ali Jabal, al Shabaab’s leader in Banadir region, to double military operations in Mogadishu.
- A car bombing killed one soldier and wounded another outside a Somali parliament compound in Mogadishu on November 7. The car bomb was reportedly detonated as parliament members exited the building. Local reports suggest that the Somali parliament did not suffer any casualties in the attack; however, several of their vehicles parked near compound were destroyed by the blast.
- Somali Envoy to Kenya Mohamed Ali Americo urged the international community to uphold a UN ban on charcoal exports from Somalia. Americo added that the Somali government is committed to upholding the ban despite reports that suggest large amounts of charcoal are now being exported from Kismayo. The United Nations Security Council banned charcoal exports from Somalia in February 2012, stating that charcoal exports produce a significant source of revenue for al Shabaab militants.
- Four Somali pirates were flown to the Netherlands on November 5 to face trial. The four pirates were arrested after opening fire on a Dutch vessel taking part in the NATO Ocean Shield counterpiracy mission off the coast of Somalia.
- Puntland security forces arrested three al Shabaab militants in Goldogob town in Mudug region on November 7. Local sources reported that the arrest occurred during a raid by Puntland forces. One al Shabaab militant was injured during the raid and five others were able to escape.
- A peace conference is scheduled to take place in Kismayo at an unspecified date according to local sources. The goal of the peace conference is to bring together individuals of different ethnic backgrounds to create an inclusive administration for Lower Jubba region.
- Somali police chief Gen. Sharif Shiekhuna Maye stated on November 7 that AMISOM police are not cooperating with Somali police forces in Mogadishu. Gen. Maye was quoted as saying, “We see that AMISOM has deployed some units of police from African countries, but to tell you the truth, they are not collaborating with us as we anticipated.” Gen. Maye added that the lack of cooperation between AMISOM police and Somali police is allowing criminals to hide in Mogadishu.
- Puntland Information Minister Mohamud Aideed Dirir accused former Somali Prime Minister Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas of inciting instability in northern Somalia. According to Information Minister Aideed, former PM Gaas blocked international assistance donations to Puntland, including assistance for the completion of airports in Nugaal region. Former PM Gaas rejected the accusations as not factual.