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: Unidentified Yemeni official denies rumors of Turkish training camp in Yemen; Saudi border guards arrest roughly 60 al Houthi rebels in Sa’ada governorate; al Houthi rebels set up training camps in Sa’ada and Amran governorates; suspected AQAP operatives kill PSO officer in Dhamar governorate; Mayor of Sana’a Abdul Qadir Hilal survives assassination attempt in Sana’a; Yemeni security forces arrest two suspected AQAP members in Aden governorate
Horn of Africa: Ugandan troops seize al Shabaab base in Albao, Middle Shabelle; Somali and AMISOM troops fight al Shabaab near Leego, Bay region; civilian truck is caught in crossfire near Leego, Bay region; fighting erupts in Marka, Lower Shabelle; al Shabaab issues 12 communiqués; fight between pirate gangs kills three in Gawan, Mudug region; countries and organizations condemn the killing of Somali journalist
Yemen Security Brief
- An unidentified official in the Yemeni government denied rumors on October 24 of establishing a Turkish training base in Yemen. Local sources reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Oglo had requested to set up a training camp for Syrian Free Army rebels during a meeting in Sana’a on October 21. The unidentified official added that Yemeni and Turkish officials focused their discussions on economic cooperation.
- Saudi border guards arrested roughly 60 al Houthi rebels in northern Sa’ada governorate on October 22. Local sources reported that al Houthi rebels attempted to seize and control deserted areas along the Saudi-Yemeni border, including Saudi telecommunications infrastructure.
- Tribal leaders in northern Yemen confirmed on October 24 that al Houthi rebels have established three training camps in Sa’ada and Amran governorates. Tribal leaders added that al Houthi rebels are increasing recruiting efforts in Hajjah and al Jawf governorates, as well as Sana’a. Al Houthi rebels are also recruiting children and training them on how to operate weaponry and remove landmines.
- Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives shot dead a Yemeni Political Security Organization (PSO) officer and Deputy Director of Security in Dhamar governorate on October 25. The PSO officer, identified by local sources as Col. Ali al Yamani, was assisting counterterrorism efforts in Dhamar governorate. Deputy Director of Security in Dhamar, identified as Abdullah al Saeedi, was present alongside PSO officer Col. Ali al Yamani at the time of the attack. The suspected AQAP operatives fled the scene following the attack.
- Abdul Qadir Ali Hilal, Mayor of Sana’a capital, survived an assassination attempt in Bab al Yemen neighborhood in Sana’a on October 25. Unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle shot at Hilal, but he escaped the attack unharmed. Security forces captured two suspects. Initial investigations by Yemeni intelligence suggest that the two unidentified assailants, who were dressed in civilian clothing at the time of the attack, may be Yemeni soldiers.
- Yemeni security forces arrested two suspected AQAP members in Aden governorate on October 25. Local sources reported that one of the suspects, indentified as N. H. Othman, was arrested in Aden International airport attempting to flee the country. A second individual, identified as M. A. Omar, was captured in Sheikh Othman district for his ties to Ansar al Sharia in Abyan governorate.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Ugandan forces working under AMISOM captured an al Shabaab stronghold in Albao, Middle Shabelle on October 24. Ugandan soldiers recovered a cache of weapons including six IEDs, 14 submachine guns, two machine guns, one rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and ammunition among other weapons and military equipment. There were no casualties in the takeover.
- Heavy fighting erupted between Somali and AMISOM soldiers on the road to Baidoa near Leego village, Bay region on October 24. Al Shabaab attacked a newly established Somali and AMISOM base in the area. Casualties from the incident are not yet known.
- A bus carrying civilians was reportedly hit with a large explosion when it entered a battle zone near Leego village, Bay region on October 24. Six civilians are confirmed dead and five more injured.
- A gunfight erupted in the town of Marka, Lower Shabelle region on October 24. The fighting, which lasted for several hours, started at an army checkpoint in the city, but the cause of the fighting is not yet known. One Somali soldier was killed and another was wounded.
- Al Shabaab has issued 12 communiqués claiming 28 attacks on Somali, Kenyan, Ethiopian and Burundian forces. The communiqués also say al Shabaab has burned drugs in public squares. One communiqué released by al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, said that the Kenyan offensive and takeover of Kismayo was an attempt to divide Somalia and to stop the spread of Islamic teachings and shari’a law in the country.
- A fight between pirate gangs over hostage ransoms has broken out in the town of Gawan, Mudug region on October 24. Three people were killed and five were injured. These casualties consist of both pirates and civilians.
- Many countries and organizations have condemned the attacks on two Somali journalists this week. UN Special Representative Augustine Mahiga, the European Union envoy to Somalia Michele Cervone d’Urso and the French government have all spoken out against the attacks.