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: Yemen army continues siege of Hawta in Shabwah governorate; victim of Wednesday’s Dhaleh bombing dies; al Houthi rebels accuse tribal chief of promoting tribal war against their followers
Horn of Africa: At least 20 civilians killed and 80 others wounded in renewed fighting in Mogadishu; two killed in roadside explosion in Puntland; EU increases range of anti-piracy force; Somali terror suspect arrested in Dutch airport released on Wednesday
Yemen Security Brief
- Wednesday marked the third day of the Yemeni siege of Hawta in Shabwah governorate and medical officials reported that nine soldiers were wounded during repeated government attacks to retake the town. Shabwah officials report that at least four al Qaeda fighters and one civilian have been killed since Saturday and more than two dozen suspected militants are in government custody.
- Muhsen Saleh al Jahafi, one of the two people injured in the suicide bombing outside the security office in Dhaleh governorate Wednesday, died from his injuries according to a medical source. A security official reported that investigations are still underway to determine who was responsible for the attack.
- The al Houthi rebels accused Sheikh Hussein al Ahmar of Hashed tribe of promoting a tribal war against the followers of the Zaidi Shiite sect in Sa’ada governorate that would receive Saudi financing. A statement released by the al Houthi rebels stated, “intense tribal meetings were held by a number of sheikhs returning from Saudi Arabia recently—including Hussein al Ahmar—to open a new tribal war against Houthis.”
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Following a few days of relative calm, fighting started up again between government troops and al Shabaab and Hizb al Islam fighters on Thursday in Hodan, Hawl Wadag, Bondhere, and Abdi Aziz districts in Mogadishu. Witnesses reported that a mortar that landed near the Aba-hurere mosque in Bakara market killed 15 civilians and injured 25 others. Ali Muse Sheik, head of emergency traffic, told reporters that more than 75 wounded civilians from around the capital have been rushed to Medina Hospital. At least 20 people have died and over 80 others are seriously injured from the renewed violence. Both government officials and Hizb al Islam claim victory over the fighting.
- A roadside bomb that exploded in the town of Boosaaso in Puntland killed two members of Puntland’s security force and wounded at least two others, witnesses reported Wednesday. Military forces began search process immediately but it is unknown if any suspects were detained.
- EU NAVFOR, the European Union’s anti-piracy task force is increasing the area in which it will operate, the naval body reported on Wednesday. Major General Buster Howes, operation commander of NAVFOR Somalia, said, “this procedural change will allow EU NAVFOR units to operate more effectively further east in the Indian Ocean, giving them a greater ability to disrupt and deter pirates in this vast area.”
- The Somali-born terror suspect arrested at Schiphol airport earlier this week was released from custody Wednesday morning as investigators failed to confirm the terrorist accusations.