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 Malahem Foundation releases audio tape of AQAP deputy leader Said al Shihri; Abu Zubair Adil al Abab reportedly killed in early October 2012 airstrike; U.S. targeted airstrike kills at least four suspected AQAP operatives in Ma’rib governorate; accidental explosion at Aden military base kills at least six Yemeni soldiers; PRC forces arrest ten Ansar al Sharia militants near Jaar city; tribal clashes in Taiz governorate wound four people; Yemeni security forces in Lahij arrest two suspected AQAP operatives; Yemeni security forces arrest Sudanese national at Aden international airport for his involvement in AQAP; Yemeni security forces arrest four Arab nationals dressed in women’s clothing in Hajjah governorate; residents in Sana’a report suspicious al Houthi activity; Yemeni security forces arrest Somali national wanted by the United Nations for his involvement in AQAP; Yemeni intelligence arrests 12 AQAP operatives planning an attack on the Political Security Organization (PSO) headquarters in Sana’a; al Houthi religious leader kills for the death of Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al Ahmar and his supporters; Yemeni security forces seize explosive materials in Sana’a; Yemeni security forces arrest suspected spy in Aden
Horn of Africa: Grenade attack on wedding in Mogadishu injures 20; journalist in Mogadishu shot and wounded; police launch new security procedures in Mogadishu; two grenades explode in Somali army commander station in Kismayo; civilian shot and killed in Kismayo; Kenyan army bomb al Shabaab town near Dhobley, Lower Jubba region; roadside bomb hits Ethiopian convoy in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; Ethiopian troops to leave Somalia; civilian shot and killed in Marka, Lower Shabelle region; EU ambassador arrives in Mogadishu
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Malahem Foundation, the media arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), released an audio tape of deputy AQAP leader Said al Shihri on October 20. Said al Shihri, reportedly killed in a U.S. targeted airstrike on September 10, called the events of his “death” a fabrication by the Yemeni government to cover up a failed airstrike that killed 13 civilians in al Bayda governorate on September 2. The authenticity of the audio tape has not been confirmed.
- Abu Zubair Adil al Abab, a key religious leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was reportedly killed by a U.S. targeted airstrike eastern Shabwah governorate in early October 2012. According to local sources, Abab was killed along with an Egyptian member of AQAP during the targeted airstrike. Additional details regarding the attack, including the exact date, are currently unknown. Abu Zubair Adil al Abab was last heard in an audio tape released on June 13 justifying Ansar al Sharia’s fight against the Yemeni military.
- A U.S. targeted airstrike reportedly hit a vehicle traveling in the Wadi Abida region of Ma’rib governorate on October 21, killing at least four suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives. According to local sources, a second vehicle belonging to AQAP was also in the area when the attack occurred and its occupants retrieved the bodies before fleeing the scene. A Yemeni news source reported that one of the operatives killed in the attack was Ali Oraidan al Aqili.
- An accidental explosion at a military base in southern Aden governorate killed at least six Yemeni soldiers and wounded four others on October 22. According to local sources, the explosion occurred at a warehouse used to store explosive devices seized by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
- Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) captured ten suspected Ansar al Sharia militants in southern Abyan governorate on October 22. PRC forces directed by Abdul Latif Sayyed raided several farms in the Sakin wu ‘Ays region near Jaar city, according to local sources. Ten suspected Ansar al Sharia militants were found at one location and arrested. The suspected militants were transferred to Jaar for further questioning.
- Tribal clashes in Taiz governorate wounded at least four individuals on October 20. Local sources reported that three assailants from the Bani Bahir Sharab al Salam region instigated an attack on other individuals in al Aqyus region.
- Yemeni security forces posted at security checkpoints in Lahij governorate arrested two suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives between October 19 to October 21. Local sources said the two suspected AQAP operatives were carrying a number of different weapons and explosive materials.
- Yemeni security forces arrested a Sudanese citizen at Aden International Airport on October 20 for his involvement in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). According to local sources, the Sudanese national was attempting to travel to Bahrain.
- Yemeni security forces in ‘Abs district of northern Hajjah governorate arrested four Arab nationals wearing female clothing on October 21. Yemeni security officials reported that the four Arab nationals were wearing veils and traveling in a taxi from a border area in Hajjah governorate to Ma’rib governorate. It is unclear if the Arab nationals are wanted by security forces.
- Residents in Sana’a reported witnessing suspicious al Houthi activity on October 19. According to local sources, al Houthi rebels were seen transporting unknown cargo to a number of apartments in Sana’a. Local sources added that al Houthi rebels have met frequently over the past two days in Sana’a.
- Yemeni security forces reportedly captured a wanted Somali terrorist in al Dhaba port in eastern Hadramawt governorate on October 18. The suspected Somali terrorist is wanted by the United States for his involvement with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to an unidentified Yemeni source. The source added that security forces have not revealed the identity of the Somali or the details of his arrest in order to conduct a thorough investigation.
- Yemeni security forces have reportedly arrested 12 suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives in Sana’a between October 17 and October 19. According to an unidentified security source, Yemeni intelligence monitored phone calls of the suspected AQAP operatives for two months before arresting them. The unidentified security source added that the 12 AQAP operatives were planning attacks on the Yemeni Political Security Organization (PSO) headquarters and were in possession of bomb-making equipment.
- Al Houthi religious leader Fayez al Laith called for the death of Yemen’s First Armored Brigade commander Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al Ahmar and his supporters during a morning prayer in Sa’ada governorate on October 17. According to local sources, Fayez al Laith called Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al Ahmar unjust and corrupt, while stating that the Yemeni nation needs to purge itself of him and his supporters.
- Yemeni security forces in Sana’a seized explosive materials in a mailed package from eastern Hadramawt governorate on October 19. Local sources reported that explosive materials, including mines and fuses, were discovered in the package. Yemeni security forces are currently trying to determine who sent the package. In a separate incident, police officers from the 70th Police Division in Sana’a found a bag filled with white powder, an explosive paste, and fuses in Ta’awon neighborhood on October 19. Yemeni forensic experts are currently examining the bag.
- Yemeni security forces arrested a man wanted for spying in Khormaksar region of southern Aden governorate on October 21. According to local sources, the man was suspected of spying for a foreign country. The man was using two different names, presumably to evade Yemeni security forces.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- A grenade attack on a wedding in Mogadishu injured 20 people on October 19. Unknown assailants threw the grenade into the house where the wedding was taking place. The bride and groom were unharmed in the attack; however, the groom’s mother was injured in addition to a young boy and a pregnant woman. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
- A journalist with the Shabelle media network was shot and injured in Mogadishu on October 21. Two unknown gunmen surrounded Mohamed Mohamud Tuuryare while he was leaving a mosque and fired at him from the front and back. Tuuryare was shot five times in the chest but is in stable condition. The two assailants were able to flee the scene and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Fourteen journalists have been killed in Somalia this year.
- General Ahmed Hassan Maalin, police commander in the Banadir region, which encompasses Mogadishu, said police in Mogadishu are increasing security measures. General Maalin explained that they are better preparing and equipping the officers who are working to make the city safer after the grenade attack on October 19 injured 20.
- Two hand grenades were thrown into a government administration building on October 22 in Kismayo. The unidentified attackers, who were able to flee the scene, targeted a government building in which Somali army commanders were staying. The number of casualties is not yet known and no group has claimed responsibility for the assault.
- Unknown gunmen shot a civilian in Kismayo on October 20. The armed men shot the victim during the night and were able to escape the scene. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
- The Kenyan military bombed a village held by al Shabaab militants located 15 kilometers outside of Dhobley, Lower Jubba region on October 19. Kenyan jets dropped five bombs on the position; casualty figures are not yet known. The attack occurred in response to al Shabaab attempts to contract and arm fighters in the suburbs between Dhobley and Afmadow, Lower Jubba region.
- A roadside bomb struck an Ethiopian army vehicle in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on October 21. The vehicle was struck while carrying out searches for landmines. The number of casualties has not been reported. Ethiopian troops carried out security searches in the city following the blast, but the number of arrested suspects is not known. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion.
- African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) spokesman Col. Ali Aden Humed announced on October 21 that Ethiopian troops would be withdrawing from Somalia. AMISOM troops will be taking over the areas where Ethiopian forces are now stationed. Humed said the Ethiopian troops will be withdrawing to positions along the Ethiopian and Somali border.
- Unknown gunmen shot and killed an electrician in Marka, Lower Shabelle region, on October 20. The assailants were able to flee the scene and no group has yet claimed responsibility for the shooting.
- Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, the first European Union (EU) ambassador to Somalia in over 20 years, arrived in Mogadishu on October 20. The EU hopes to strengthen ties to Somalia and help the country get back on its feet.