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: Yemeni military forces and Popular Committees launch offensive against AQAP strongholds in Abyan and Shabwah governorates; Yemeni security forces diffuse IED in Sana’a capital; Gunmen attempt to abduct German diplomat in Sana’a governorate

Horn of Africa: SNA forces raid al Shabaab stronghold in Bakool region; Jubbaland security forces conduct search operations in Lower Jubba region 

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni military forces and Yemeni Popular Committee members launched a joint offensive against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) strongholds in the al Mahfad region bordering Abyan and Shabwah governorates on April 28, following reports that AQAP militants planned to infiltrate and seize control of Lawder district in Shabwah governorate. Yemeni southern commander Mahmoud al Sabihi led the offensive, which included hundreds of Popular Committee volunteers as well as Yemeni forces from the 115th Infantry Brigade and the 2nd Mountain Patrol Infantry Brigade stationed in Belhaf in Shabwah governorate, and additional brigades in Ahwar district in Abyan governorate. The offensive closely follows a series of airstrikes in the al Mahfad region on April 19-21 that targeted AQAP training camps and killed at least fifty-five AQAP militants. Initial reports indicate that at least five Yemeni soldiers have been killed in the fighting thus far.[1]
  • Yemeni security forces diffused an improvised explosive device (IED) found aboard a passenger bus belonging to the Yemeni Ministry of Defense in Sana’a on April 28.[2]
  • Unidentified gunmen attempted to kidnap a German diplomat and his colleague while driving in Hadda district in Sana’a governorate on April 28. After failing to force the diplomat’s vehicle to stop, the gunmen opened fire on its occupants, reportedly injuring the diplomat.[3] 

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali National Army (SNA) forces attacked an al Shabaab stronghold in the Kulan Jareer area near Wajid district in Bakool region on April 28. The SNA forces conducted the raid after receiving intelligence that al Shabaab’s representative to Bay region, Abullahi Dhere, arrived in Kulan Jareer. Although SNA forces reportedly killed four al Shabaab militants during the confrontation, Dhere was able to elude capture.[4]
  • Jubbaland security forces conducted search operations in Kismayo in Lower Jubba on April 29 after an unidentified gunmen killed a Jubbaland security officer. The security forces detained at least thirty people, primarily youths, in the Shaqalaha neighborhood of Kismayo during the operation.[5]

[1] “Yemen begins southern offensive against AQAP,” Long War Journal, April 29, 2014. Available:
[2] “Explosives experts capital dismantling an explosive device planted by bus to the Army,” News Yemen, April 28. 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “German diplomat 'injured in Yemen kidnapping attempt,” BBC, April 28, 2014. Available:
[4] “Somalia: Federal Govt troops launch raid on Al Shabaab-held area,” Garowe Online, April 28, 2014. Available:
“Eight die in a renewed fighting south western Somalia,” Hiiraan Online, April 28, 2014. Available:
[5] “Juba security forces arrests over 30 people in a security crackdown,” Goobjoog News, April 29, 2014. Available:
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