AQAP Attacks Houthis in Radaa as Fighting Continues in al-Baydah Province
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Severity: 4 (High)
Source: Drum Cussac
02/05/2015 (Yemen) – Barakisk.net reported al-Qaeda in the Arabian in the Peninsula (AQAP) fighters fought with Houthi militants in al-Baydah province on Thursday, 4 February. Three Houthis died in the fighting in Sharyah near Radaa, 150km (90 miles) south of Sanaa. Reports indicate the Houthis managed to secure the area.
Since October 2014, al-Baydah province has been the site of heavy fighting between AQAP and Sunni tribesmen of the Qifa tribe on one side and the Shia Houthi rebels on the other. Battles erupted when the Houthis began advancing into the predominately Sunni area of Radaa, which tribal sources claim is a stronghold for AQAP. The latest developments highlight that AQAP’s capabilities have not been significantly degraded despite the losses taken during the battle for Radaa. The group continues to employ direct/indirect fire in addition to suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) to destabilise the area. As recently as 1 February, AQAP fighters launched a coordinated attack on Houthi and government positions in Radaa. Three soldiers and four militants were reported killed. While AQAP has gained no real ground in Radaa it has maintained operations and not given up trying. AQAP will likely combine targeted VBIED operations alongside infantry operations tailored to create conditions of battle conducive to dislodging the Houthis.
Clients in Yemen are advised to apply strict risk management and mitigation protocols, including those that cover journey, accommodation and workplace safety. Prior to deployment or as part of any preoperational decision-making, clients are advised to undergo a localised risk assessment to identify any potential threats to operations and staff safety. Personnel are advised to monitor the situation by liaising with local security officials to identify no-go areas due to militancy or military operations. Exercise extreme caution around Houthi gatherings, security force checkpoints and military facilities.
Travel in Yemen should entail: movement in low-profile vehicles with a security detail; varying routes taken from accommodations to the workplace; and conducting forward-looking localised risk assessments routinely prior to departure. Contingency measures should also be continually reviewed and updated accordingly to keep them commensurate to current threat levels. Clients should limit non-essential travel and maintain good situational awareness at all times. In high-risk areas with a known AQAP presence, it may be prudent to have personal protection equipment at the ready at all times.
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