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: Court sentences seven members of AQAP; Yemeni army and secessionists clash in Lahij governorate; tribal militants simultaneously blow up a pipeline and cut power lines in Ma’rib governorate; First Mountain Infantry Brigade announces mutiny in al Bayda governorate; peaceful protests in Rada’a, al Bayda governorate turn violent; governor of Aden escapes assassination attempt; tribal militants clash with 312th Armored Brigade in Sirwah, Ma’rib governorate, leaving five dead; tribesman attack military patrol in Sirwah; security forces arrest five people in Hadramawt governorate for mass armed robbery; Hadi returns to Sana’a; popular committees in Abyan governorate attack AQAP hideout; cab bomb near the cabinet building in Sana’a dismantled; Tihami Movement calls on tribesmen to leave al Hudaydah; Saudi Arabia announces three-month grace period for Yemeni workers; Southern Movement fighters attack government building in Sanah, al Dhaleh

Horn of Africa: British government issues terror warning for Mogadishu; al Shabaab senior level official releases document denouncing al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair “Godane”; improvised explosive device targets Somali Army convoy in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region; Somali troops fire on each other after dispute in Daynile, Banadir region; roadblocks being built in Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; Somali forces conduct security operations in Dharkenley district, Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants shoot and kill suspected spy in Berdile, Hiraan region; ten al Shabaab militants arrested in Guinea; Somali Parliament summons Somali prime minister and interior minister; Somali members of parliament travel to Kismayo, Lower Jubba region; newly appointed governor of Hiraan region arrives in Beledweyne, Hiraan region; Somali speaker of parliament arrives in Oslo, Norway

Yemen Security Brief

  • A Yemeni court sentenced seven members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to prison on April 8. They were charged with belonging to an AQAP-linked group from 2008 through 2012 and plotting to fight the Yemeni military, assassinate officials and foreigners, and attack government facilities.[1]
  • The Yemeni Army and southern secessionists clashed in al Hawat, Lahij governorate on April 6, killing one soldier and wounding several others.[2]
  • Tribal militants blew up a main pipeline in Wadi Abeidah, Ma’rib governorate on April 8, disturbing the flow of oil to Ras Issa port in al Hudaydah. Simultaneously, power lines in al Damashqa, Ma’rib governorate were cut, shutting down the Ma’rib electricity station and causing power outages in several cities, including Sana’a.[3]
  • Soldiers from the First Mountain Infantry Brigade announced a mutiny on April 6, demanding the release of their colleagues abducted by AQAP in al Bayda governorate. They forcibly closed all the stores in Rada’a, cut off access to the city, and seized security points under the control of the Central Security Forces (CSF). At least five people were killed on April 8 after peaceful protests turned violent and clashes broke out between the soldiers and local residents.[4]
  • Waheed Rashid, the governor of Aden, escaped an assassination attempt unharmed on April 5. His car was attacked by unknown gunmen.[5]
  • The Bani Dhabyan and Jehm tribes are demanding that the military hand over those from the 312th Armored Brigade responsible for casualties during an April 5 clash in Sirwah, Ma’rib governorate by April 8. A group of tribesman attacked a military patrol on April 8, firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and killing five soldiers.[6]  
  • Security forces arrested five people on April 7 suspected of armed robbery. They are accused of stealing over $3 million from a bank in Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate.[7]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi returned to Sana’a on April 8 after spending several days in al Hudaydah governorate. [8]
  • The popular committees in Abyan governorate attacked an AQAP hideout in Qarnah near al Kud on April 8. An AQAP-linked, Saudi national who was arrested by the popular committees told them the location of the site, according to Mahjoub Nama, the head of the popular committees in Zinjibar.[9]
  • Explosives experts dismantled a car bomb near the Cabinet building in Sana’a on April 7. Mareb Press reported that AQAP is responsible.[10]
  • The Tihami Movement gave tribesman from the governorates of al Mahwit, Ibb, and al Jawf 24 hours to leave al Hudaydah three days after their arrival in the governorate. The tribes issued a statement, saying that they have formed a united committee that will ensure that President Hadi’s order to prosecute the suspects of the April 3 attack is implemented.[11]
  • Saudi Arabia announced a three-month delay of the April 1 decision to deport thousands of Yemeni workers from the kingdom.[12]
  • Armed Southern Movement supporters attacked a government building in Sanah, al Dhaleh governorate twice, once on the night of April 7 and again on the morning of April 8. The resulting clashes with security forces caused an unspecified number of casualties.[13]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The British government released a travel warning for Somalia on April 5, saying that the terrorist group al Shabaab was nearing completion of plans to carry out a terrorist attack in Mogadishu. Somali police in Mogadishu have been put on alert but the Somali government says that they have no intelligence confirming the threat.[14]
  • A senior-level official in al Shabaab, Abu Bakr al Zayla’i, released a fifteen page document through the Islamic World Issues Study Center on April 6, denouncing al Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubair a.k.a. Ahmed Godane. Al Zayla’i appealed to al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri to intervene. Al Shabaab fighter Omar Hammami also posted about the release of the document on his Twitter page.[15]
  • A remotely detonated improvised explosive device (IED) targeted a Somali Army convoy in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region on April 6. The explosion injured three people including a civilian. Somali troops arrested several people following the incident but no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[16]
  • Somali troops fought against each other in Daynile, Banadir region on April 6 due to an argument over money collected from residents in the area. Two soldiers were killed and four others were injured in the skirmish.[17]
  • Reporting on April 7 indicated that roadblocks were being constructed throughout Kismayo, Lower Jubba region, and that Ras Kamboni officials were collecting money at the stops.[18]
  • Somali forces conducted security operations in Dharkenley district, Mogadishu on April 8, during which several men were arrested for illegal possession of military uniforms and equipment.[19]
  • Al Shabaab militants shot and killed a woman in Berdile, Hiraan region on April 8. Al Shabaab accused the woman of being a spy for both the Somali and American governments.[20]
  • A Sierra Leonean newspaper, Global Times, reported that ten al Shabaab militants were arrested in Guinea as they were trying to make their way to Sierra Leone.[21]
  • The Somali Parliament summoned Prime Minster Abdi Farah Shirdon and Interior Minister Abdikarin Hussein Guled on April 6 to answer questions about the formation of local administrations and extrajudicial killings in Mogadishu.[22]
  • Over 40 Somali ministers of parliament traveled to Kismayo, Lower Jubba region to partake in the Jubbaland convention. The MPs returned to Mogadishu on April 6 pledging their full support to the creation of a new Jubbaland state.[23] 
  • Newly appointed governor of Hiraan region, Abdi Farah Laqanyo, arrived in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on April 7.[24]
  • Somali Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Osman Jawari traveled to Oslo, Norway on April 7.[25]       

[1]Yemeni court sentences 7 al-Qaeda members to 2-5 years,” Saba Net, April 7, 2013. Available:
[2] “Soldier killed, four wounded as Yemen army fights separatists,” Reuters, April 6, 2013: Available:
[3] “Saboteurs blow up Yemen oil pipeline,” Middle East Online, April 8, 2013. Available:
“Ma’rib: The oil pipeline in Wadi ‘Obeida is blown up and the electricity towers in al Damashqa are hit,” Barakish, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Ma’rib gas station out of service after a new sabotage attack,” Saba Net, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Simultaneous attacks on the oil pipeline and power lines in Ma’rib,” Al Masdar Online, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4]“Troops from the Fourth Brigade of the Republican Guard announce a mutiny, demand the release of their colleagues detained by al Qaeda,” Mareb Press, April 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
Majed Karot, “Ongoing clashes in Rada between protesters and the First Infantry Brigade forces leave 5 dead,” Al Masdar Online, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Seven people were killed in clashes between Guard forces and gunmen in Radaa,” Barakish, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Rada turns into a battlefield,” Mareb Press, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Tribesmen, army deserters clash in south Yemen, seven killed,” Reuters, April 8, 2013. Available:
[5] “Attempted assassination on Aden Governor,” Yemen Post, April 6, 2013. Available:
[6] Rammah al Jubari, “Five die in checkpoint clash between tribesmen and military in Marib,” Yemen Times, April 8, 2013. Available:
“Six people are killed and wounded in six clashes between gunmen and army troops in Sirwah, Ma’rib,” Barakish, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Ma’rib: Clashes with heavy weapons between tribesmen and the army in Sirwah,” Mareb Press, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Deaths and injuries in an attack by tribesmen on a military patrol in Ma’rib,” Al Masdar Online, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Hadramawt security arrests 5 accused of armed robbery and looting of 12 million riyals from al Karimi bank in Mukalla,” Saba Net, Aril 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8]President returns to Sana’a,” Saba Net, April 8, 2013. Available:
[9]Abyan popular committees attack al-Qaeda hideout, arresting Saudi,” Saba Net, April 8, 2013. Available:
[10] “Car bomb near the Cabinet dismantled,” Barakish, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Car bomb in front of the government building at the exit for the prime minister and members of government in Sana’a is dismantled,” Mareb Press, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[11] “Threats between Tihami Movement and tribes: Tihami gives tribes 24 hours to withdraw from al Hudaydah,” Mareb Press, April 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[12] Kareem Fahim and Mayy El Sheikh, “Saudis to Delay a Measure Deporting Foreign Workers,” New York Times, April 6, 2013. Available:
[13] “Al Dhaleh: Armed men attack a governorate building, leading to violent clashes with security,” Akhbar al Yom, April 8, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[14] “Somalia Travel Advice Change,” UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, April 5, 2013. Available:
“Terrorists Planning Somali Attacks, Government Warns,” The Guardian, April 5, 2013. Available:
“Somali Government Downplays UK Terror Alert on Possible Attacks,” Hiiraan Online, April 7, 2013. Available:
“Somalia: Police on High Alert Over Possible Terror Attack,” Garowe Online, April 8, 2013. Available:
[15] “Shabaab Official Speaks Out Against Leader, Appeals to Zawahiri for Help,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 6, 2013. Available at SITE.
[16] “Somalia: 3 Persons Wounded in Roadside Explosion Near Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, April 6, 2013. Available:
[17] “Reports of Fighting Between Government Troops at Daynile in Banadir Region,” Shabelle, April 6, 2013. Available:
[18] “Road Blocks in Kismayo,” Shabelle, April 7, 2013. Available:
[19] “Government Troops Conduct Operations in Dharkenley, Mogadishu,” Shabelle, April 8, 2013. Available:
[20] “Terror Group Kill a Lady Accused of Spying at Bulo Barde,” Shabelle, Apirl 8, 2013. Available:
[21] “Uneasy Calm in Sierra Leone after al Shabaab Threat,” Africa Review, April 6, 2013. Available:
[22] “Parliament Summons PM, Interior Minister for Questioning,” Bar Kulan, April 6, 2013. Available:
[23] “Somalia MPs Return from Kismayo Visit, Support Jubaland Process,” Garowe Online, April 6, 2013. Available:
[24] “Somalia: New Hiraan Governor Reaches Beledweyne,” Raxanreeb, April 7, 2013. Available:
[25] “Office of the Speaker Issues a Press Release about the Speaker’s Visit to Norway,” Shabelle, April 7, 2013. Available:
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