Gulf of Aden Security Review - January 2, 2014

Yemen: Airstrike kills two alleged AQAP militants in Abyan; al Houthis support new ceasefire agreement; gunshots heard near Yemeni president’s residence in Sana’a, nearby student protests continue; Yemen intelligence officer assassinated; NDC Southern Issue Working Group nominates new chairman

Horn of Africa: Jazeera Hotel bombing kills at least ten people; al Shabaab arrests civilians in Middle Jubba region; new Ethiopian troops deployed to Baidoa in Bay region; grenade attack injures ten people in Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Yemeni Interior Ministry confirmed the deaths of two alleged al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) members in an airstrike in al Mahfad district in Abyan governorate on December 31. Three other alleged AQAP members were also injured in the attack. A local military spokesperson, Shakir Ali al Ghadir, claimed that six people died in the attack, one of whom Ghadir identified as Abu Yusuf al Sana’ani, an AQAP leader in Abyan.[1]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued orders on December 31 to end the conflict between the Salafists and the al Houthis in Dammaj, Sa’ada governorate. The al Houthis accepted a ceasefire agreement and welcomed the Yemeni government’s assistance in ending the armed conflict.[2]
  • Al Masdar Online reported gunshots in the neighborhood surrounding President Hadi’s residence in Sana’a. Local sources attribute the gunshots to those fired in the air at a nearby student protest at the College of Air Defense and Aviation, located several blocks away. Students are protesting the dismissal of staff members.[3]
  • Alleged AQAP militants assassinated Yemeni intelligence officer, Colonel Marwan Mokbily, early January 2 while he drove through Aden. This is the first recorded assassination of 2014 in Yemen.[4]
  • The National Dialogue Conference (NDC) Southern Issue Working Group nominated Khalad Baras, a Southern Movement candidate, to be the chairman of the working group. The group is currently reviewing the 8+8 Subcommittee’s final report.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab’s spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, issued a statement claiming credit for the January 1 attack on the Jazeera Hotel in Mogadishu that targeted a reported meeting of intelligence officials. A suicide car bomb rammed into a police car at the gate to the hotel followed by a second explosion targeting first responders. Gunmen then attempted to raid the hotel.  A third bomb exploded in a vehicle being searched by military personnel about an hour later. At least 11 people were killed in the attack and 17 others injured. The attack occurred after security forces in Mogadishu went on high-alert. Two police commanders were among those killed.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants reportedly arrested dozens of civilians suspected of working with aid agencies such as the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The arrests occurred in Buale and Sako towns in Middle Jubba region.[7]
  • Hundreds of Ethiopian troops reportedly deployed to Baidoa in Bay region of Somalia, according to officials. The troops will be combating al Shabaab in Bay and Bakool regions.[8]
  • A grenade attack targeting the Tandoori bar in Diani in Kwale County, Kenya, injured at least ten people.[9]               

[1] “Alleged AQAP Members Killed in Drone Strike in Abyan,” The Yemen Times, January 2, 2014. Available:
[2] “Hadi Orders to Solve Houthi-Salafi Conflict,” Saba News Agency, December 31, 2013. Available:
“Houthi Group Announces a Ceasefire and Requires a ‘Termination’ of the War on All Fronts,” al Masdar Online, January 1, 2014. Available:
[3] “Enhanced Security near Home of President in Sana’a after Protests at Neighboring Aviation College,” al Masdar Online, January 2, 2014. Available:
[4] “Assassination of a Colonel in the Yemeni Intelligence by Gunmen in Car,” al Masdar Online, January 2, 2014. Available:
[5] “NDC Southern Issue Working Group Approves Nomination of Khaled Baras as Chairman of the Southern Issue Working Group,” National Dialogue Conference Website, December 31, 2013. Available:
[6] “Somalia Islamists Claim Mogadishu Hotel Bombing,” Reuters, January 2, 2014. Available:
Mohammed Ibrahim, “Fatal Attacks Strike a Hotel in Somalia,” New York Times, January 1, 2014. Available:
“Security Heightened in Mogadishu,” Mareeg Online, January 1, 2014. Available:
“Police Commanders among the Dead in Mogadishu Explosions,” Bar Kulan, January 2, 2014. Available:
“Al-Shabab Claims Somali Hotel Bombings,” al Jazeera English, January 2, 2014. Available:
[7] “AlShabab Arrests Dozens in the Middle Shabelle Region,” Shabelle News, January 1, 2014. Available:
[8] “Ethiopia Deploys Hundreds of Troops to Somalia,” SomaliCurrent, December 31, 2013. Available:
[9] “10 Injured in Diani Grenade Attack,” AFP, January 2, 2014. Available: