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 assailants blow up liquefied natural gas pipeline in Ma’rib governorate; al Houthi spokesman condemns U.S. targeted airstrike on October 28; unidentified gunmen attack civilians in al Hudaydah governorate; Jamal Benomar to meet with Southern Movement leaders outside of Yemen; violent clashes continue at central prison in Ibb governorate; Yemeni security forces seize ship carrying weapons near Abyan governorate; unidentified gunmen block off main road and clash with security forces in Taiz governorate
Horn of Africa: Grenade attack kills four in Kismayo; al Shabaab militants ambush Somali troops outside Baidoa, Bay region; gunmen kill one officer, injure another in Garissa, Kenya; unknown assailants attack a vehicle traveling between Bardale, Bay region and Luq, Gedo region; Ahlu Sunna militia says it will parade defected al Shabaab militants in Beled Hawo, Gedo region; Kenyan police increase security in Mombasa, Kenya in the face of looming terrorist attacks; countries and organizations around the world denounce the killings of Somali journalists
Yemen Security Brief
- Unidentified assailants blew up a liquefied natural gas pipeline in Ma’rib governorate on October 30. Local sources requesting anonymity reported that unidentified assailants detonated an explosive device roughly 18 miles south of the Safir gas fields. The targeted pipeline connects to the Belhaf terminal in the Gulf of Aden. The attack did not result in any casualties and engineers have already begun repairing the damaged pipeline.
- Thaif Allah al Shami, a spokesman for al Houthi rebels, condemned the suspected U.S. targeted airstrike that killed four al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives in Sa’ada governorate on October 28. Shami added that al Houthi rebels have called on Yemenis to publically protest the attack. In addition, Shami stated that al Houthi rebels have “legitimate” and well-known ways to retaliate if they become targeted by airstrikes.
- Unidentified gunmen opened fire on civilians in al Hudaydah governorate on October 29. Local sources reported that four civilians were wounded in the attack. The gunmen fled the scene following the attack.
- Jamal Benomar, UN Special Envoy to Yemen, will reportedly meet with Southern Movement leaders in an undisclosed Arab capital outside of Yemen. Benomar and Southern Movement leaders will discuss the upcoming Yemeni National Dialogue. Southern Movement leaders are expected to boycott the event.
- Violent clashes continued at the central prison in Ibb governorate on October 31. Local sources reported that the clashes began on October 30. Security forces recently arrived on the scene and attempted to disperse protesters by using tear gas and live bullets. The reason for the clashes is unknown.
- Yemeni security forces seized a ship between Bandar and Ahwar regions off the coast of Abyan governorate on October 30. Local sources reported that the ship was carrying weapons and a large quantity of U.S. dollars. The ship was reportedly being piloted by Somalis disguised as refugees attempting to flee to Yemen. The intended destination of the weapons is unknown.
- Unidentified armed gunmen blocked off a main road and clashed with security forces in Janad region of Taiz governorate on October 30. Local sources reported that the armed gunmen opened fire randomly on civilians and security forces attempting to secure the road. One of the armed gunmen’s leaders was killed and several others were wounded in an ensuing firefight.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- An unknown assailant threw a grenade into a tea shop in Kismayo on October 30. Four people were killed at the scene and another dozen were injured and rushed to the hospital. The attacker was not caught and no group has yet to claim responsibility for the explosion.
- Al Shabaab militants attacked Somali soldiers in the town of Gafgadud, 20km outside of Baidoa, Bay region on October 30. Three soldiers from both sides were killed in the fighting. Somali forces were able to repulse the al Shabaab advance.
- Gunmen attacked two Kenyan police officers while they were on patrol in Garissa, Kenya on October 30. One police officer was killed and the other was taken to a nearby hospital. The attackers were able to flee the scene and no one has yet claimed responsibility for the assault.
- Unknown gunmen ambushed a vehicle while it was traveling between Bardale, Bay region, and Luq, Gedo region on October 30. Three civilians were injured when the gunmen started shooting at the car. The gunmen then stole the all the valuables in the car, fled the scene, and have so far evaded capture. The area where the attack occurred is, for the most part, still under control of al Shabaab rebels.
- The Ahlu Sunna militia, a group sided with the Somali government, has said they are going to present two defected al Shabaab militants to the media in Beled Hawo, Gedo region. A spokesman said over four al Shabaab members have defected in the past five days, and more have been in contact with the militia and will be turning themselves in very shortly. The spokesman said his groups will help reintegrate these defected militants back into society.
- Kenyan police have increased security at a Shimo la Tewa prison in Mombasa after uncovering a plan to try and free one of the prisoners there. Thabit Jamaldin, the target of the rescue attempt, was arrested for a grenade attack in May and was supposed to be one of ten suicide bombers targeting areas along the Kenyan coast. Kenyan police warned people along the coast to be wary because the other suicide bombers still intend to carry out their attacks.
- Countries and organizations across the globe have denounced the killing of the 17th and 18th Somali media workers killed this year. The French government, the American government, and Augustine P. Mahiga, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, have all spoken out against the killing of playwright and comedian at Kulmiye News Network, Warsame Shire Awale, and Shabelle Media worker Mohamed Mohamud Turyare.