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: Suspected U.S. targeted airstrike kills at least four AQAP operatives in Sa’ada governorate; al Houthi leader condemns suspected U.S. targeted airstrike in Sa’ada governorate; Presidential Protective Forces reinforce security measures for President Hadi; security forces arrest three suspects in the killing of Yemeni soldier and driver in Dhaleh governorate; young boy killed by explosive device in Taiz governorate; unidentified assailants attack a security building in Dhaleh governorate; southerners demand apology from President Hadi before Yemeni National dialogue; security forces arrest suspect in the killing of police officer in Lahij governorate; unidentified gunmen shoot at home of Minister of Communication and Information Technology; landmine wounds civilian in Aden governorate
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab ambushes Somali troops in El Waregow, Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab ambushes Kenyan convoy traveling to Kismayo; al Shabaab ambushes SNA and KDF troops while traveling to Afmadow, Lower Jubba region; Kenyan police kill two suspected al Shabaab militants in Mombasa, Kenya; Somali journalist dies from gun shot wounds in Mogadishu; government officials say Luq, Gedo region is now under SNA control; Somali woman is stoned to death in Jamama, Lower Jubba; al Shabaab threatens Kenya on its Twitter account; al Shabaab leader releases message; IED detonates in Kismayo; Somali and Ras Kamboni forces carry out searches in Kismayo; Kenyan criminal investigator is shot in Hagadera refugee camp, Kenya; Kenyan police constable arrested for transporting al Shabaab militants
Yemen Security Brief
- A suspected U.S. targeted airstrike killed at least four al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives in Sa’ada governorate on October 28. The suspected U.S. targeted airstrike reportedly hit two houses in the Wadi al Jabara region. Local sources in the region reported that a local AQAP leader, Omar Saleh al Tiss, was wounded in the airstrike. Two Saudi nationals who gave money to AQAP for terrorist operations were reportedly killed in the airstrike. Local tribal leaders confirmed that the targeted airstrike would be the first by the United States in Sa’ada governorate.
- Al Houthi rebel leader Abdul Malik al Houthi condemned the suspected U.S. targeted airstrike in Sa’ada governorate on October 28. Abdul Malik al Houthi also accused the Yemeni government of “providing the American government with political cover to carry out aggressive acts against Yemeni people.”
- Yemeni Presidential Protective Forces have recently reinforced security measures for President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi according to a local report on October 29. Local sources reported that President Hadi’s vehicle has been outfitted with advanced American technology to prevent an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on his motorcade. The security measures are reportedly designed to prevent an attack similar to the one that Yemeni Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed survived on September 11.
- Security forces arrested three individuals suspected of killing Yemeni soldier Sadeq Ahmad al Thahebi, originally reported as Jameel al Thahebi, and his driver in Dhaleh governorate on October 23. The Yemeni government reported that security forces conducted an extensive investigation that led to the capture of three suspects.
- A young boy was killed by an explosive device in Taiz governorate on October 28. Local sources reported that two young girls were also wounded from the explosion.
- Unidentified assailants attacked a security building in Dhaleh governorate on October 26. The unidentified assailants used rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), hand grenades, and guns to attack the security building. Yemeni security forces were able to defend against the attack; however, one soldier was wounded during the fighting. Local sources reported that the unidentified assailants were attempting to free three arrested individuals being held in the security building.
- Local sources reported on October 27 that Khaled Abdel Wahed Mohammad Noman, President of the Preparation Committee for the Southern Bloc, sent a letter to Yemeni President Abu Rabbu Mansour Hadi requesting that certain condition be met before the Southern Mobility Movement (SMM) participates in the upcoming Yemeni National Dialogue. According to local sources, Khaled Noman requested that President Hadi publically apologize to southerners for past civil wars. Khaled Noman also requested that main Yemeni political organizations, including the military, need to apologize, before a dialogue can begin. Various other demands in the letter included issues related to money and land disputes.
- Yemeni security forces in Lahij governorate arrested an individual accused of killing a Yemeni police officer on October 26. Local sources reported that the suspect, identified as W. A. Abdullah, is a local citizen of al Hawta city in Lahij governorate.
- Unidentified gunmen shot at Minister of Communications and Information Technology Dr. Ahmed Obayd Bindagher’s home in Sana’a on October 28. Dr. Ahmed Obayd Bindagher and other families inside the house were unharmed in the attack.
- An unidentified male civilian was wounded by a landmine in Aden governorate on October 29. Local sources reported that the man underwent operations at a nearby hospital. Details regarding the approximate location of the landmine and who planted it are unknown.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali General Mohamed Ibrahim Farah, also known as “Gordon,” a Somali commander in charge of the 5th brigade, was killed during a gunfight in El Waregow near Marka, Lower Shabelle region on October 28. Three of his bodyguards and four al Shabaab militants were reportedly killed. Some reports say the soldiers were killed during an al Shabaab ambush and other reports say it was a friendly fire incident. Al Shabaab has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Al Shabaab ambushed a Kenyan convoy while it was traveling from Afmadow to Kismayo on October 27. The two sides exchanged gunfire for several hours but casualties from the incident are not known.
- Al Shabaab militants ambushed a Somali and Kenyan convoy traveling from Kismayo to Afmadow, Lower Jubba region on October 28. Five people from both sides were killed during the fighting. Reports also say Kenyan tanks were seen in the area.
- Kenyan police raided a house belonging to an al Shabaab sympathizer on October 28 in the Manjengo district of Mombasa, Kenya. Police followed a man they had captured on October 27 in possession of two grenades, to the house of Omar Faraj. Faraj, a Muslim cleric, and the man the police followed, were both shot and killed during the raid. Family members and religious leaders in the area are denying Farah’s link with the Somali militant group.
- Mohamed Mohamud Turyare, a journalist with Shabelle media network, who was shot on October 21, died of injuries sustained by the shooting on October 28. Turyare’s death brings the total number of journalists killed in Somalia this year to 17.
- Government officials in Luq, Gedo region, say the district is now under complete control of Somali and Ethiopian forces. Aid agencies have said they are going to reopen their offices in the area, providing both relief and jobs to those in the district.
- A Somali woman was stoned to death after admitting to adultery in Jamama town, Lower Jubba on October 25. Al Shabaab militants carried out the attack in the town’s main square. The man involved in the affair was not found nor punished.
- Al Shabaab militants threatened Kenya on October 28, via its Twitter account, for entering Somali and pursuing the militant group. The tweet said, “Kenya will soon regret having embarked on this particular course of action, insha Allaah.”
- Al Shabaab’s leader, Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubair, also known as Godane, released a message on October 27 speaking about many issues facing the world. He spoke about the spread of the jihad to countries like Syria, Libya, Egypt, Mali and Nigeria. He also spoke about economic problems facing the world.
- An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in Kismayo on October 27, killing one and injuring four others, two of which were Somali soldiers. The explosion occurred at a café near an entrance to the city where both civilians and Somali troops were present.
- Somali and Ras Kamboni forces carried out security operations in Kismayo on October 28. The operation targeted the Allanley, Via Afmadow and Shaqaalah districts. The number of detained suspects is not known.
- A Kenyan criminal investigator was shot and killed while reading from the Qur'an in a mosque at the Hagadera refugee camp on October 26. The gunman fled the scene with four other accomplices. No arrests have yet been made and the reason for the attack is unknown.
- A Kenyan police constable was arrested on October 26 for helping transport al Shabaab militants from the Laikipia Airbase in Kenya. The man was found with five al Shabaab members in his vehicle. The officer was taken to criminal investigation headquarters in Nairobi for further questioning.