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: PRC forces arrest suicide bomber in Abyan governorate; 115th Infantry Brigade raids home in Abyan governorate; Yemeni and Saudi military officials agree to strengthen cooperation; security forces find IED in Aden governorate; Southern Movement leader says party leaders do not reject the Yemeni National Dialogue in principle; security forces thwart suspected AQAP assassinate plot in Sana’a; the U.S. government reportedly gives four drones to Yemen; security forces clash with smugglers in al Hudaydah governorate
Horn of Africa: Puntland President Farole reports that al Shabaab is moving into Puntland territory; UNSC rejects African Union request to secure funding for Kenyan maritime activities; Somali Federal Parliament rejects PM Shirdon’s newly nominated cabinet; AMISOM forces train Somali National Army in Beledweyne, Hiraan; European Union counterpiracy mission in Somalia reports that piracy threats remain high; humanitarian aid ships arrive in Kismayo, Lower Jubba; two al Shabaab militants surrender in Luq, Gedo; Somali National Assembly speaker Jawari says reconciliation of clans should be first priority; one soldier and one civilian gunned down in Heliwa district, Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) arrested a suicide bomber in Lawder city in Abyan governorate on November 9. Local sources reported that the suicide bomber was wearing an explosive vest and was attempting to enter Lawder city. The suicide bomber was reportedly attempting to target senior PRC leaders.
- Four units from the 115th Infantry Brigade stormed the home of an Ansar al Sharia (AAS) operative in Abyan governorate on November 8. The raid, which took place in Shaqra city, resulted in the arrest of the suspected AAS operative. Local sources reported that a large amount of explosive devices and weapons were seized from the home. Local sources added that female police units played a role in the raid, helping security forces inspect the home for weapons.
- Yemeni and Saudi military officials agreed to strengthen cooperation on November 7. Local sources reported that the joint Yemeni-Saudi military committee, which met in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for two days, focused on counterterrorism and piracy issues. Chief of General Staff Maj. Gen. Ahmed Ali al Ashwal headed the Yemeni side of the joint committee.
- Yemeni security forces found an improvised explosive device (IED) in Aden governorate on November 9. Local sources reported that the IED was found in a bag next to a school in Mansoura district. Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams have been deployed to the area to secure the IED.
- Southern Mobility Movement senior leader Hussein Zayd bin Yahia stated on November 9 that a majority of Southern Movement members do not reject the Yemeni National Dialogue in principle. Yahia stated that the Yemeni National Dialogue should be founded on negotiations between northern Yemen and southern Yemen factions.
- Yemeni security forces thwarted a suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) plot to assassinate government, security, and military personnel in Sana’a on November 9. Local sources reported that eight suspects were arrested. Several of the captured suspects admitted to belonging to AQAP.
- Local sources quoting an unidentified Arab Gulf newspaper reported on November 9 that the United States gave four unmanned drones to the Yemeni government for the purpose of tracking al Qaeda. Local sources added that the drones were recently delivered to al Anad airbase in Lahij governorate.
- Security forces clashed with smugglers in al Hudaydah governorate on November 9. Local sources reported that two individuals, attempting to smuggle Africans, were killed in the clashes. A Yemeni Rescue police officer was also wounded in the clashes. Security forces seized two vehicles carrying roughly 70 African immigrants.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole reported on November 9 that al Shabaab militants are moving northward into Puntland after losing key safe havens in southern Somalia. President Farole added that most of the al Shabaab militants have consolidated in Golis Mountain Range, west of Boosaaso capital in Bari region. President Farole stated that al Shabaab will be able to acquire arms easily from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which can transfer the weapons across the Gulf of Aden to al Shabaab militants operating in Puntland.
- The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) rejected a request by the African Union to secure funding for Kenyan maritime activities off the coast of Somalia. Local reports suggested that France was a key opposition member, rejecting additional support for Kenyan naval forces supporting AMISOM. Kenyan naval forces played a key role in removing al Shabaab militants from Somali port city Kismayo in September 2012.
- Thirty Somalia Federal Parliament members rejected Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon’s newly nominated cabinet on November 8. The Somali Federal Parliament members rejected PM Shirdon’s cabinet on the grounds of being incomplete, stating that it would be illegal for an incomplete cabinet to face a vote of confidence by parliament.
- AMISOM forces started a training program for Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in Beledweyne city in Hiraan region on November 8. Local sources reported that AMISOM forces will train SNA soldiers in order to improve their basic army skills. Specific details regarding how many SNA soldiers are involved and how long the training program will last are unclear.
- The European Union counterpiracy mission in Somalia (EU NAVFOR) reported on November 7 that piracy threats still remain high. EU NAVFOR Operation Commander Rear Admiral Duncan Potts added that smaller leisure watercraft should continue to avoid high risk areas, such as the southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the western part of the Indian Ocean.
- Local residents reported that ships supporting humanitarian aid missions docked in Kismayo city in Lower Jubba region on November 9. This is the first time ships supporting humanitarian aid missions have operated in Kismayo city since the removal of al Shabaab militants in September 2012.
- Two al Shabaab militants surrendered to Somali government forces in Luq town in Gedo region on November 9. Local sources reported that the al Shabaab defectors have been in contact with government officials in preparation of their surrender.
- Somali National Assembly speaker Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari stated on November 9 that reconciliation of clans should be the first priority in implementing a federal government in Somalia. Osman added that government administrations should be acceptable to people of their respective regions.
- Unidentified gunmen killed one soldier and one civilian in Heliwa district of Mogadishu on November 8. Local sources reported that the motive behind the attacks and the identities of the assailants are unknown.