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: Gunmen attack headquarters of Islah Party in Sana’a; gunmen hijack car in ‘Arma, Shabwah governorate; gunmen ambush soldiers in al Qurayshiyah, al Bayda; gunmen attack transmission lines in Furdat Nihm, Sana’a governorate, causing blackouts; two suspected AQAP gunmen assassinate security officer in al Shihr, Hadramawt governorate; violent clashes break out between security forces and militants in al Dhaleh, al Dhaleh governorate, killing one civilian; armed Southern Movement supporters attack government compound in al Dhaleh, al Dhaleh governorate, injuring several soldiers; Yemeni chief of staff and foreign minister meet with U.S. ambassador in Sana’a; pro-Assad march in Dhamar governorate; armed tribal groups block highway in Ahwar, Abyan governorate; al Houthis reportedly mobilizing in Amran governorate; clashes break out between military police and local residents in Taiz, Taiz governorate; Central Security Forces kill civilian in Taiz, Taiz governorate; Political Security Organization officers and members protest outside President Hadi’s home in Sana’a

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants carry out complex attack on Supreme Court buildings in Mogadishu; suicide car bomber attacks vehicle carrying Turkish aid workers near Aden Adde airport, Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants retake Ufurow, Bay region; unnamed East African fighters release biography of Fazul Abu Muhammad; International Monetary Fund recognizes Somali government; G-8 foreign ministers welcome Somalia’s progress; Somalia and Somaliland sign cooperation agreement

Yemen Security Brief

  • Gunmen, believed to be supporters of the General People’s Congress (GPC), attacked the headquarters of the Islah Party in Sana’a on April 13 after a verbal altercation turned violent. One person was shot and wounded.[1]
  • Gunmen hijacked a car belonging to an oil company in ‘Arma, Shabwah governorate on April 14.[2]
  • Gunmen ambushed soldiers traveling to Rada’a, killing one and wounding two, in al Zawb in al Qurayshiyah district in al Bayda governorate on April 13.[3]
  • Gunmen attacked transmission lines in Furdat Nihm, Sana’a governorate on April 15, shutting down the Ma’rib gas station and causing power outages in Sana’a and other governorates.[4]
  • Two unknown gunmen riding a motorcycle assassinated Abdel Qader Hazza, assistant director of the Criminal Investigation Department and head of a counterterrorism unit, in al Shihr, Hadramawt governorate on April 13. The Yemeni Ministry of Defense suspects that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is behind the attack.[5]
  • Violent clashes broke out between security forces and militants in front of the government compound and the governor’s residence in al Dhaleh, al Dhaleh governorate on April 14. Militants had surrounded the government building for ten days. One civilian was shot and killed. Armed supporters of the Southern Movement opened fire and hurled grenades at the compound on April 15, injuring at least three soldiers.[6]
  • Yemeni Chief of Staff Major General Ahmed Ali al Ashwal and Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi met with U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein in Sana’a on April 15.[7]
  • Hundreds of citizens of Dhamar governorate marched in solidarity with the Syrian regime on April 15, condemning “neo-colonialism” and international interference in domestic Syrian affairs.[8]
  • Armed tribal groups affiliated with the Bakazam blocked the highway in Ahwar, Abyan governorate leading to Hadramawt and Aden governorates on April 14, detaining eight cars and holding up traffic. They were protesting against the promotion of a security officer in the governorate. They also stormed a local sports club.[9]
  • Al Houthi rebels have reportedly been mobilized over the past two days in Amran governorate, according to local sources in Harf Sufyan, al Qaflah, and Shahara districts, and a significant number of al Houthi members have reportedly crossed into Sa’ada governorate.[10]
  • Clashes broke out in Taiz, Taiz governorate between military police and local residents on April 14. Local residents cut off a street to protest over land issues, prompting the police to intervene. The two sides exchanged fire.[11]
  • Central Security Forces (CSF) shot and killed a civilian in Taiz, Taiz governorate in front of the General Electricity Institution on April 15 after he physically confronted an employee.[12]
  • Officers and members of the Yemeni Political Security Organization (PSO) held a protest outside President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s home in Sana’a on April 14 to denounce the recent decrees restructuring the armed forces.[13]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants launched a multi-pronged attack against the Supreme Court complex in Mogadishu on April 14. Nine al Shabaab militants stormed a courthouse while a trial was in session. Six of the attackers detonated their suicide vests while the three others engaged security forces in a firefight. The remaining three attackers were eventually shot and killed. The death toll reached at least 29 civilians, and an additional 58 were wounded, some of them seriously. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack on its Twitter page, saying that it would continue carrying out similar attacks until Somalia was liberated. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attack and told the Somali people to prepare for a new guerilla war against al Shabaab. Representatives from the United Kingdom and the United Nations also condemned the attack.[14]
  • A suicide car bomber crashed his vehicle into another car carrying two Turkish aid workers near the Aden Adde airport in Mogadishu on April 14. Five civilians, including the two aid workers, were killed in the attack. The attack is thought to have been carried out by al Shabaab in conjunction with the day’s assault on the Mogadishu courthouse.[15]
  • Al Shabaab militants retook Ufurow, Bay region on April 13 after Somali and Ethiopian troops vacated the town following a battle with the al Shabaab militants.[16]
  • An unnamed group of East African fighters released a biography of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed to jihadist forums on April 5. Mohammed worked for both al Qaeda and al Shabaab and coordinated attacks in Kenya and Tanzania. Mohammed was killed in June 2011, allegedly due to a betrayal by al Shabaab leadership.[17]
  • The International Monetary Fund recognized the Somali government on April 13, but said that it will not loan Somalia money until it pays back the $352 million it already owes.[18]
  • The G-8 foreign ministers gave a press conference in London on April 11 welcoming the progress made in Somalia over the last year and a half and saying that continual international support must be given to the country.[19]
  • The Somali and Somaliland governments signed an agreement on April 13 to continue dialogue and cooperation between Somalia and the breakaway government of Somaliland.[20]     

[1] “Sana’a: Heavy fire on the headquarters of the Islah Party, one member is injured; the gunmen are thought to be GPC supporters,” Mareb Press, April 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Unidentified gunmen hijack a car owned by an oil company in Shabwa,” Aden al Ghad, April 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Three soldiers killed and wounded in armed ambush in Qayfa,” Mareb Press, April 13, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Gunmen attack transmission lines in Noh, causing Ma’rib gas station to go out of service,” Al Masdar Online, April 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Civilian, officer killed in unrest in south Yemen,” Al Tagheer, April 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Al-Qaeda kills security officer in Hadhramawt,” Yemen Post, April 14, 2013. Available:
[6] “Civilian, officer killed in unrest in south Yemen,” Al Tagheer, April 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Violence and lawlessness in southern territories endanger transition,” Yemen Post, April 15, 2013. Available:
“In response to the killing of a an al Dhaleh resident who was shot dead by security, armed elements attack the government complex and the governor’s residence with heavy weaponry,” Akhbar al Yom, April 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Chief of Staff meets U.S. ambassador,” 26 September, April 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Foreign Minister meets U.S. ambassador to Yemen,” 26 September, April 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “March in the Yemeni governorate of Dhamar in solidarity with the Syrian regime,” Al Tagheer, April 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Abyan: Tribal gunmen in Ahwar provoke fear and cross the international line in front of travelers,” Akhbar al Yom, April 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[10] “Houthi members are mobilizing in Amran and Habra refuses to dump his weapons,” Akhbar al Yom, April 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[11] “Taiz: Clashes in al Jehmalah, directorate targets militant, and a fire breaks out in a local store,” Akhbar al Yom, April 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[12] “Soldier shot and killed a man inside the Electricity Foundation in Taiz and militants and the military police clash,” Al Masdar Online, April 15, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[13] “Sana’a: Standing for the officers and members of the PSO in front of President Hadi’s residence,” Mareb Press, April 14, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[14] “Suicide Raid, Car Bomb Kill 34 Civilians in Somalia’s Mogadishu,” AFP, April 15, 2013. Available:
“Dozens Dead in Somali Courthouse Attack,” CNN, April 15, 2013. Available:
“Somalia Attack: Al Shabaab ‘Kill at Least 30’ in Mogadishu,” BBC, April 15, 2013. Available:
“Al Shabaab Takes Responsibility for Deadly Mogadishu Attacks,” AFP, April 15, 2013. Available:
“Somalia’s President Declares New War on Al Shabaab Following a Day of Deadly Attacks in Mogadishu,” Hiiraan Online, April 15, 2013. Available:
“Britain Slams Somali Attacks,” AFP, April 15, 2013. Available:
“Somalia: UN Condemns Deadly Attack on Mogadishu Courts Building,” Raxanreeb, April 15, 2013. Available:
[15] “Two Turkish Aid Workers Killed in Sunday’s Mogadishu Bombings,” Bar Kulan, April 15, 2013. Available:
[16] “Somalia: Al Shabaab Retakes Second Town in Southern Somalia,” Raxanreeb, April 13, 2013. Available:
[17] “East African Group Gives Biography of al Qaeda Official Slain in Somalia,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 12, 2013. Available at SITE.
[18] “IMF Recognizes Somalia Government after 22-Year Break,” Shabelle, April 13, 2013. Available:
[19] “G8 Support for Somalia,” Shabelle, April 13, 2013. Available:
[20] “Somalia Government Reached Agreement with Somaliland,” Bar Kulan, April 13, 2013. Available:
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