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: suspected AQAP militants attack Yemeni soldiers in Abyan; IED injures two civilians in Abyan; Hadramawt Tribal Federation erects checkpoints near oil facilities; suspected AQAP militants attack Yemeni security checkpoint in Dhamar; Iran denies allegations of interference in Yemeni politics

Horn of Africa: multiple explosions kill civilians in Nairobi, Kenya; Somali special forces capture suspected al Shabaab senior commanders in Lower Shabelle region; Puntland and Galmudug police announce creation of unified security force in Mudug region; al Shabaab attacks AMISOM and SNA forces in Bakool region

Yemen Security Brief

  • According to the Abyan Security Chief, suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in a Toyota Hilux pick-up truck attacked a Yemeni military water truck in Ahwar district in Abyan governorate on March 30, killing two Yemeni soldiers.[1]
  • An improvised explosive device (IED) planted along a road between Aden and Hadramawt governorates exploded on March 30 in Abyan governorate, injuring two civilians. No group has taken responsibility for the IED.[2]
  • The Hadramawt Tribal Federation set up checkpoints near entrances to oil facilities throughout Hadramawt governorate on March 31 to protest the killing of Sheikh Saad Ahmed bin Habrish by Yemeni soldiers on December 2, 2013. The Federation checkpoints currently prohibit all food supplies from reaching oil companies and facilities in Hadramawt governorate. The Federation is demanding further government reparations in exchange for removing the checkpoints.[3]
  • Suspected AQAP militants attacked a Yemeni security checkpoint in the city of Wassab in Dhamar governorate on April 1, according to a Yemeni military source. After killing one Yemeni soldier, the militants fled into neighboring al Hudaydah governorate. Yemeni security forces pursued the militants into al Hudaydah governorate, where clashes continued for at least two hours. Two additional Yemeni soldiers and two militants were killed, and four militants were arrested by Yemeni security forces.[4]
  • Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Marziyeh Afkham dismissed allegations that Iran is meddling in Yemeni politics, on April 1 in Tehran. This statement responds to Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s March 31 statement, in which he accused Iran of interfering in Yemeni politics and supporting rebel groups in the north and secessionist groups in the south.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unidentified assailants detonated three explosive devices, believed to be grenades, in Eastleigh, a predominately Somali neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya, on March 31. The explosives were thrown into a crowded market area, killing six people and injuring as many as 25 more. In response, Kenyan police conducted search operations throughout Eastleigh, arresting 657 suspects. Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, Kenyan officials traditionally blame al Shabaab for such violence.[6]
  • Somali special forces conducted a security operation in Qoryoley in Lower Shabelle region on March 31. The special forces captured two suspected al Shabaab senior commanders during the operation. Although the identities of the suspects remain unknown, Somali Deputy Security Minister Ibrahim Isak Yarow indicated that one of the suspects is believed to have helped coordinate the September 2009 suicide bombing of an AMISOM base in Mogadishu. Yarow reported that the other suspect is believed to have served as a trainer for the Amniyad Brigade, al Shabaab’s intelligence component.[7]
  • Officials from the Puntland and Galmudug police forces announced the creation of a unified security force in Galkayo in Mudug region on March 31. Puntland police commissioner Abdullahi Shire indicated that the new security force is designed to counter the threat posed by al Shabaab militants who are driven out of southern Somalia by the ongoing AMISOM and SNA offensive.[8]
  • Al Shabaab militants attacked an Ethiopian AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) convoy near Tiyeglow in Bakool region on March 31. Reports indicate that the ensuing confrontation lasted for a few hours and left several injured on both sides, including approximately six al Shabaab militants.[9]

[1] “Attacks leave four dead and two injured in Abyan,” Yemen Times, April 1, 2014. Available:
[2] “Attacks leave four dead and two injured in Abyan,” Yemen Times, April 1, 2014. Available:
[3] “Tribesmen besiege oil companies in Hadramout,” Yemen Times, April 1, 2014. Available:
[4] “Officials: Clashes in Western Yemen kill 1 soldier, 2 al-Qaeda militants,” AP, April 1, 2014. Available:
[5] “Iran denies interference in Yemeni affairs,” Reuters, April 1, 2014. Available:
[6] “Nairobi rocked by deadly explosions,” Al Jazeera, April 1, 2014. Available:
“Six killed in Eastleigh multiple explosions,” The Star, April 1, 2014. Available:
 “657 arrested after Eastleigh terror attack,” Daily Nation, April 1, 2014. Available:
[7] “Somalia Captures Suspect in ’09 AU Base Bombing,” Voice of America, March 31, 2014. Available:
“Senior A-l Shabaab members detained in Mogadishu operation,” Bar Kulan, April 1, 2014. Available:
[8] “SOMALIA: Puntland and Galmudug create a united police force to counter Al Shabab’s threat,” RBC Radio, March 31, 2014. Available:
[9] “Violent battle erupts in Hiiraan,” Shabelle News, March 31, 2014. Available:
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