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: AQAP releases eulogy for cleric Awad bin Muhammad Ba Nijar; thousands demonstrate in Sana’a in support of President Hadi; U.S. State Department praises presidential decrees; Southern Movement supporters protest in Ataq, Shabwah governorate; Southern Movement supporters impose a civil disobedience campaign in al Mu'ala, Aden governorate;  clashes break out between members of the 22nd Brigade and their ex-commander; one soldier and one civilian killed in Tubin, Lahij governorate; one soldier killed in al Hawta, Lahij governorate; Socialist Party youth leader killed in Rif, Ibb governorate; thousands demonstrate in Aden, Aden governorate

Horn of Africa: Three unknown gunmen shoot and kill a Kenyan police officer in Nairobi, Kenya; Islamic World Issues Study Center releases biography of Abu Bakr al Zayla’i; Burundian trucks and tanks head to Somalia, pass through Malaba, Kenya; Somali National Army celebrates 53rd anniversary in Mogadishu; Somali and Somaliland governments begin talks in Istanbul, Turkey; Kismayo security boss says security is improving in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; UN special representative asks for increased military support for Somalia; Kenyan president vacates all cabinet positions

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a eulogy for deceased Yemeni cleric Awad bin Muhammad Ba Nijar on jihadist forums on April 9.[1]
  • Thousands of demonstrators flocked to the streets of Sana’a on April 12, dubbed the “Friday of Victory,” in a mass show of support for President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his April 10 decrees to restructure the armed forces.[2]
  • The U.S. State Department hailed President Hadi’s decrees as an “important step in Yemen’s transition” on April 11, while calling for greater civilian oversight of the Yemeni military and security forces.[3]
  • Supporters of the Southern Movement protested against death sentences handed to fellow activists in Ataq, Shabwah governorate on April 10, storming government facilities, cutting off roads, and forcibly closing shops in an effort to begin a civil disobedience campaign.[4]
  • Southern Movement supporters attempted to impose a disobedience campaign in al Mu'ala, Aden governorate on April 10. Two people were injured during clashes with security forces.[5]
  • Clashes reportedly broke out between members of the 22nd Brigade of the Yemeni Republican Guard, which has been dissolved, and their commander, Brigadier Mohamed Hussein al Bukhaiti, on April 11. Al Bukhaiti, who was expelled from the 22nd Brigade, returned after a month-long absence accompanied by tribal gunmen and attempted unsuccessfully to storm the camp.[6]
  • One soldier and one civilian were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Tubin, Lahij governorate on April 10.[7]
  • One soldier was killed and another injured after unidentified gunmen shot at the Security Administration Building in al Hawta, Lahij governorate on April 9.[8]
  • A youth leader of the Yemeni Socialist Party was killed in Rif, Ibb governorate on April 11. The suspect reportedly has a criminal background, although the motives remain unknown.[9]
  • Thousands of people demonstrated in Aden, Aden governorate on April 12, denouncing the National Dialogue Conference for failing to meet their expectations. Demonstrators chanted pro-south slogans and called for a peaceful struggle to restore a southern state.[10] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Three unknown gunmen shot and killed a Kenyan police officer attached to an Israeli diplomat in Nairobi, Kenya on April 10. The officer was shot when he stopped and searched the three men.[11]
  • Somali-based Islamic World Issues Study Center released a biography of Abu Bakr al Zayla’i, the al Shabaab official who denounced al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair a.k.a. Ahmed Godane, on its website and on jihadist forums on April 8. Zayla’i began as a jihadist fighter in Afghanistan in the 1980s and developed ties to prominent al Qaeda members such as Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri. He then fought in Eritrea and Kashmir before starting terrorist training camps in Somalia and helping form the precursor to al Shabaab, the Islamic Courts Union.[12]
  • Burundian troops and tanks heading to Somalia passed through Malaba, Kenya on April 9, causing brief panic in the town.[13]
  • The Somali National Army held a parade celebrating its 53rd anniversary in Mogadishu on April 12. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud gave a speech praising the Somali troops.[14]
  • The Somali and Somaliland governments began talks in Istanbul, Turkey on April 12. The first day of meetings involved setting an agenda for the rest of the discussions.[15]
  • The head of Kismayo security forces, Mohamud Qalib, said in a press conference on April 12 that the security situation in Kismayo is improving dramatically.[16]
  • United Nations Special Representative Augustine Mahiga gave a press conference on April 12 urging increased military support for Somalia.[17]
  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta officially let go all cabinet members on April 10 in order to install his own ministers to the positions.[18]    

[1] “AQAP Gives Eulogy for Deceased Radical Yemeni Cleric,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 10, 2013. Available at SITE.
[3] Patrick Ventrell, “President Hadi's Decrees on the Reorganization of Yemen's Military Structure,” U.S. State Department, April 11, 2013. Available:
[4] “Chaos and violence in Shabwa after al Herak supporters attempt to storm government facilities,” Akhbar al Yom, April 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Al Herak forcibly imposes disobedience in Aden, injuring two people in clashes with security,” Akhbar al Yom, April 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] Mohamed al Hudhaifi, “After a month-long absence, al Bukhaiti storms the Brigade with tribal gunmen,” Mareb Press, April 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Three people killed, including an officer, and others wounded by unknown assailants in Lahij,” Barakish, April 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Three people killed, including an officer, and others wounded by unknown assailants in Lahij,” Barakish, April 10, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Ibb: One of the youth leaders of the Socialist Party is killed,” Barakish, April 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[10] “Thousands protest in Aden to support the efforts to reject the Sana’a dialogue, Aden al Ghad, April 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[11] “Armed Gang Kills Police Officer in Nairobi,” Sabahi Online, April 11, 2013. Available:
[12] “IWISC Gives Biography of Prominent Jihadi Figure Abu Bakr al Zayla’i,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 11, 2013. Available at SITE.
[13]“AU Troops Stir Malaba,” Kenyan Star, April 11, 2013. Available:
[14] “Somalia: President Hassan “The Somali National Army is the Backbone and the Pride of this Nation,” Raxanreeb, April 12, 2013. Available:
[15] “Somaliland and Somalia Talks Begin in Istanbul: First Session, Selection of 10 Member Group,” Qaran News, April 11, 2013. Available:
[16] “Somalia: Kismayo Interim Administration Speaks about City’s Security,” Raxanreeb, April 12, 2013. Available:
[17] “Somalia: UN Seeks International Support on Somalia,” Shabelle, April 12, 2013. Available:
[18] “Kenyatta Vacates All Cabinet Positions,” Sabahi Online, April 11, 2013. Available:
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