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: Wahayshi promises to free AQAP prisoners; AQAP kills soldiers in Radhum near Belhaf, Shabwah; army clashes with AQAP in al Hawta, Lahij; AQAP attacks checkpoint in Abyan; gunmen shoot at police officer’s house in Aden; GPC leader survives assassination attempt in Ibb; General Subaihi survives assassination attempt in Lahij; IED disarmed in Sana’a; drone strike targets AQAP in Lahij; al Wahayshi wrote instructional letters to AQIM

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab stole British aid; al Shabaab alleges crashed plane may have been carrying weapons for Somali forces; Puntland rejects Turkish aid ship; Djibouti to increase military aid to Somalia; Somaliland rejects SFG coast guard deal; al Shabaab targets Kenyan politicians; al Shabaab renews calls for jihad against SFG; AMISOM forces attack al Shabaab in Afmadow

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasser al Wahayshi released a message on Monday promising to free the group’s fighters from prisons in Yemen.[1]
  • Saba News announced that AQAP militants shot dead five Yemeni soldiers from the Second Infantry Brigade on August 11 during an attack on oil and gas facilities in Radhum, Shabwah governorate. However, Yemen’s Liquid Natural Gas company denied the claims. AQAP reportedly threatened to attack oil and gas infrastructure last week, but Radhum was not on the list of targeted facilities.[2]
  • Clashes between security forces and suspected AQAP fighters in al Hawta, Lahij governorate killed eight and wounded dozens on August 11.[3]
  • Suspected AQAP gunmen in three cars attacked a popular committee checkpoint in Lawder, Abyan governorate on August 11. There were no injuries and the assailants were able to escape.[4]
  • Unknown gunmen riding cars shot at a police officer’s house in Dar Saad, Aden governorate on August 11.[5]
  • One of the leaders of the General People’s Congress (GPC) survived an assassination attempt on August 11. Witnesses reported seeing approximately 20 men on motorcycles shooting at Sheikh Naji Waza Najad’s house in al Makhadir, Ibb governorate. Six people were wounded.[6]
  • Major General Muhammad Salim al Subaihi survived an assassination attempt in Wadi, Lahij governorate on August 11. The attack killed al Subaihi’s body guard.[7]
  • Police discovered an improvised explosive device (IED) planted near the police station in al ‘Ulfi, Sana’a city on August 11.[8]
  • A suspected U.S. drone strike targeting AQAP members killed two people between Yafa'a and Radfan, Lahij governorate on August 10. It was the ninth strike in Yemen since July 27. On August 10 citizens in Aden, near Lahij, reported seeing reconnaissance aircraft flying over the city. Reconnaissance aircraft have preceded air strikes in Yemen.[9]
  • AQAP head Nasser al Wahayshi reportedly wrote letters instructing al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) emir Abdelmalek Droukdel in 2012 on how to “wage war, conquer territories, and engage in a media campaign.” Al Wahayshi also stated that AQAP’s position was better after its campaign in Abyan, despite its failure, and that AQAP’s most difficult obstacle was the popular committees.[10]
  • Yemeni officials said on August 9 that seven Saudis were among the AQAP militants killed in last week’s drone strikes. He added that AQAP is also recruiting Pakistani explosives experts to come to Yemen.[11]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The British Department for International Development (BDID) announced on August 10 that al Shabaab seized British aid worth $750,000 between 2011 and 2012.[12]
  • Messages from al Shabaab’s Twitter account alleged on August 9 that the Ethiopian cargo plane that crashed at Aden Adde International Airport on that day was transporting weapons for Somali, and not AMISOM, forces.[13]
  • The Puntland ministerial committee rejected a Turkish ship carrying food aid from Mogadishu on August 10. The statement said that it was in violation of Puntland’s constitution, and the Somali Federal Government (SFG) had not told the regional administration about the shipment.[14]
  • The Djiboutian Minister of Defense promised on August 9 to increase military aid to Somalia, including weapons, uniforms, vehicles, and training.[15]
  • Somaliland rejected SFG’s deal with a Dutch firm to establish a Somali Coast Guard, and said that it would not recognize attempts by the SFG to control Somaliland waters.[16]
  • The former director of Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency announced on August 11 that al Shabaab had targeted top Kenyan politicians, likely including Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, for assassination last year.[17]
  • During Eid al Fitr prayers on August 9 al Shabaab leaders called for Somalis to wage jihad against the SFG.[18]
  • AMISOM forces attacked al Shabaab militants planning to raid AMISOM positions in Afmadow on August 10. The clash killed 24 al Shabaab fighters and two Somali National Army soldiers. [19]

[1] “Yemen’s al Qaeda Leader Vows to Free Prisoners,” ABC News, August 12, 2013. Available:
[2] “5 Soldiers Killed in Southern Yemen,” NYT, August 11, 2013. Available:
“Yemeni Gas Company Denies News of Five Soldiers Killed in Shabwah,” Barakish, August 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Killed and Wounded in Violent Attacks in al Hawta, Lahij,” al Watan Ye, August 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Abyan… Gunmen Attack Popular Committee Checkpoint in Lawder,” Sada Aden, August 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Aden, Gunmen Attack Home of Police in Dar Sa’ad and Others Steal Bus in Khawr Maksar,” Sada Aden, August 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Six People Wounded… Leader of GPC Survives Assassination Attempt,” August 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Assassination Attempt on Major General al Subaihi, killing of Body Guard,” Huna Aden, August 12, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[8] “Attempt to Blow Up Police Station in Sana’a Foiled,” Barakish, August 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “U.S. Drone Kills 2, Yemen Officials Say,” NYT, August 10, 2013. Available:
“Breaking: Reconnaissance Planes Hover in the Sky Over Aden,” Sada Aden, August 11, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[10] "Wuhayshi Imparted Lessons of AQAP Operations in Yemen to AQIM,” Long War Journal, August 12, 2013. Available:
[11] “Yemen Says al Qaeda Recruiting Bomb Makers from Pakistan,” Geo TV, August 10, 2013. Available:  
[12] “Al Shabaab Steals $750,000 in British Aid,” Sabahi Online, August 11, 2013. Available:
[13] “Shabaab Comments on Military Cargo Plane Crash in Mogadishu,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 9, 2013. Available at SITE.
[14] “Puntland Rejects Turkish Aid Ship,” Sabahi Online, August 11, 2013. Available:
[15] “Djibouti Promises Increased Military Aid to Somalia,” August 11, 2013. Available:
[16] Matthew Russell Lee , “Somaliland Rejects Mogadishu’s Coastguard Deal, No UN Word on Arms Plane,” Inner City Press, August 11, 2013. Available:
[17] “Day Somalia Intelligence Chief Intercepted Plot to Assassinate Kenyan Leaders,” Bar Kulan, August 12, 2013. Available:
[18] Al Shabaab Chiefs Use Eid al Fitr Prayers to Call for Holy War,” Bar Kulan, August 10, 2013. Available:
[19] “AMISOM Kill 24 al Shabaab Militants in Afmadow, Somalia,” Bar Kulan, August 10, 2013. Available:
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