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: Grenade attack kills two people in Lahij; truce announced in al Hasaba district; radical Islamists urge attack on U.S. embassy in Sana’a; radical Islamist English-language blog urges revenge for Awlaki killing; al Qaeda-linked militants hold commander and six Yemeni soldiers hostage
Horn of Africa: Kenyan jets strike al Shabaab positions in southern Somalia; al Shabaab issues statement denying role in kidnappings; TFG says kidnapped aid workers in Kismayo; fighting in Kismayo kills one person; bomb explodes in Mogadishu; TFG and Kenya sign a military cooperation deal; al Shabaab arrests a number of people in Afmadow; Kenya steps up security after al Shabaab threats; grenade attack on radio station in Galkayo
Yemen Security Brief
- Witnesses and doctors reported that an assailant threw a grenade into the middle of a busy marketplace in al Habilain in Lahij governorate, killing two people and wounding eleven others. The assailant has not been identified.
- The Information Committee for the Army of the Revolution issued a statement to the Yemeni press saying that it has reached a ceasefire truce with the government in an attempt to stop the violence in al Hasaba district in Sana’a. Sources from the Defense Ministry said, regarding the truce, that the government has ordered defected First Armored Division troops, led by defected General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, to withdraw at least 200 kilometers from Sana’a or the violence would continue.
- A post on the radical Islamist web forum, Shumukh al Islam, on October 15, urged Yemenis to attack the United States embassy in Sana’a. The post incites Yemenis to drag the American ambassador through the streets as revenge for the killing of radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al Awlaki on September 30 by a U.S. drone strike. The post said that doing this would humiliate President Ali Abdullah Saleh and wash away the shame of Yemeni’s who allow the American embassy on their lands. According to the post, America is the cause of all the evil and devastation that plagues Yemen and told Yemeni’s that America kills “the best of your sons.”
- The Ansarullah English-language blog issued a message eulogizing radical Yemeni-American Islamist cleric Anwar al Awlaki and American-born Samir Khan on Ansar al Mujahideen English Forum (AMEF) on October 13. The message addressed jihadists living in the West and urged them to fulfill their obligation of jihad in revenge for the killings. The message praised both men saying that they were successful in “accomplishing what others only dream about.”
- A military official reported that al Qaeda-linked militants have taken a commander and at least six soldiers of the 201st brigade hostage. The militants ambushed their vehicle in Kod district, south of Zinjibar in Abyan governorate. The official added that the commander and soldiers were taken to an unknown location and that there was been no contact with them.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Kenyan fighter jets targeted al Shabaab positions along the Kenyan-Somali border. Kenya seeks to dislodge al Shabaab militants with the airstrikes. Kenyan army spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir reported that the first round of airstrikes killed 73 militants. Official Kenyan reports state only five soldiers have been killed in the offensive, named Operation Linda Nchi (Defend Our Country).
- Al Shabaab released a statement entitled, “The Kenyan Public Must Think About Their Safety and Security and Urge Their Government to Immediately Withdraw Their Troops from Somalia,” which denies that the group had any role in the kidnapping of two Spanish aid workers from the Dadaab refugee camp on October 13. It also urges Kenyans to pressure their government to withdraw troops from Somalia.
- General Yusuf Hussein Dunmaal, a Transitional Federal Government (TFG) commander in the south, said that al Shabaab moved two Spanish aid workers kidnapped from Dadaab refugee camp on October 13 to Kismayo from Taabta as Kenyan and TFG forces advanced on the town.
- Fighting between al Shabaab and an armed gang in Kismayo killed one person and injured three others. Fighting broke out as the gang attempted to loot food aid from the headquarters in the city.
- A remote-control detonated bomb exploded Hamar Jajab Bridge near Mogadishu’s seaport wounding two young boys. A police car was the reported target, but was not damaged. Police arrested a man carrying another explosive in a bag shortly after the attack.
- The TFG and the Kenyan government have signed a military cooperation deal and discussed strategy to “wipe out the al Shabaab militants.” Members from both governments said they would intensify pressure against al Shabaab bases and would concentrate on taking the town of Afmadow.
- Al Shabaab militants arrested at least 18 people, including prominent local businessmen, in Afmadow in Lower Jubba region who were accused of helping Kenyan forces.
- Kenyan authorities have stepped up security in Nairobi following al Shabaab’s threats. Nairobi provincial police chief Antony Kibuchi said, “Since we have been threatened by al Shabaab, I appeal to Nairobians to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious characters to the nearest police station.”
- Unknown assailants attacked Radio Galkayo radio station in Galkayo in Mudug region with a grenade, causing only minor damage to the building. The director of the radio station, Abdullahi Hersi Adde, said, “We don’t know why we are attacked and we do not know who did the attack . . . we have been lucky that nobody was harmed in the attack and all the staff are fine now. But we are in fear now, we are very much worried about our safety.”