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: Shelling kills seven people in Taiz; roadside bomb kills two tribesmen in Abyan governorate; opposition claims general killed by tribesmen; ruling party member escapes assassination attempt
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab fighters stream towards Dhobley and UN suspends activities in region; al Shabaab imposes tax on several companies; al Shabaab denies that the suicide attack killed students; al Shabaab’s Andulus Radio releases interview with suicide bomber
Yemen Security Brief
- Local residents reported that Republican Guard troops and special police units shelled four parts of Taiz that killed seven civilians and wounded 22 others. A local resident reported that troops and police were shelling from the hills, security barricades, al Thawra hospital, and Freedom Square. The most intense fighting was reported in the Masbah, Tahrir, and al Tharbah districts and on Jamal Street. Local medics reported that shelling struck residential areas in the village of Sharaab in Taiz injuring several civilians and destroying properties.
- Al Qaeda-linked militants planted a roadside bomb near a checkpoint controlled by pro-government tribesmen in the Lawder district in Abyan governorate. The tribal chief reported that at least two tribesmen were killed and seven others were injured in the bombing.
- Yemen’s political opposition claimed that anti-government tribesmen killed a newly appointed general on his way to the Republican Guard’s 63rd brigade base in Nihm, north of Sana’a. The general was due to take command after tribesmen killed the commanding general last week. The Defense Ministry denied the claim.
- Yahya al Habari, a Yemen ruling party member reported that he escaped an assassination attempt by five gunmen who were waiting to ambush him in front of his car as he left work.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Kenyan security officials near the border town of Dhobley in Lower Jubba region have reported seeing hundreds of fighters heading towards the city on trucks sparking concerns that a major battle is about to erupt. The Kenyan military has stationed hundreds of troops in the area backed by armored vehicles and helicopters to prevent any conflict from spilling over. The government has also closed the border and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) suspended aid to Dhobley. The agency is concerned that Somalis attempting to flee to the Dadaab camp in Kenya will be caught up in the fighting. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards is concerned that aid groups in Dhobley and the nearby Kenyan town of Liboi are at risk.
- Al Shabaab will begin forcing Nationlink and Telecom Somalia, telecommunications companies, and Dahabashiil, a money-transfer company, to pay a tax in order to be allowed to stay open in al Shabaab-controlled areas. The tax will likely be around 2.5% and could add up to a “million dollars or more in payments.” Al Shabaab forced these companies closed a few days ago and only allowed them to open after paying a combined amount of $100,000.
- Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage denied that the suicide bombing in Mogadishu yesterday that killed more than 65 people targeted students. He insisted that the attack was aimed at Transitional Federal Government (TFG) officials and denied that any students or civilians were killed. Rage named the suicide bomber as Bashar Abdullahi Nur. He threatened that the attacks “will increase day by day and will increase in the coming hours.”
- Al Shabaab’s radio station, al Andulus, released an interview with the driver of the suicide truck bomb that exploded in Mogadishu yesterday. The driver, Bashar Abdullahi Nur, said that the overall goals were to “(slay) the enemy who launched aggression against Islam and (so) they will perish at our hands and send them to hell. Our aim is to re-establish the Khilaafah (caliphate), by uniting the mujahideen to liberate and our holy lands such as Al-Aqsa (Jerusalem) and to liberate (our) occupied countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.”