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: Ansar al Sharia releases several statements via Twitter; President Hadi appoints new head of Special Forces; suspected AQAP militants open fire in al Bayda and Abyan; IED detonates in Lahij; al Houthi militants clash with al Islah tribesmen in al Jawf; unidentified tribesmen ambush police in al Jawf

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack Puntland military base in Bari region; Somali security forces arrest three suspected al Shabaab militants in Mudug region; Somali National Army forces clash with unidentified militiamen in Middle Shabelle region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Ansar al Sharia released a statement, entitled “Yemeni warplanes spread panic among Muslims in al Hawtah, Lahij” via Twitter on August 12. Within the statement, Ansar al Sharia criticized Yemeni air strikes on al Hawtah, Lahij on August 12 and asserted these operations make people more sympathetic to Ansar al Sharia. Separately, Ansar al Sharia released a statement, entitled “Ansar al Sharia denies any links to the allegations of threats to the media in Hadramawt,” via Twitter on August 12. Within the statement, Ansar al Sharia denied threatening the media in Hadramawt and accused the Yemeni government of launching a campaign to create frictions between Yemenis and Ansar al Sharia.[1]
  • Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi replaced the head of Yemeni Special Forces, Colonel Abdul Karim Qassim, with Brigadier General Ahmed Hussein Dahan al Shiani on August 13 in Sana’a.[2]
  • Suspected AQAP militants on a motorcycle opened fire in in Rada’a, al Bayda on August 13, killing one civilian and wounding another. Separately, suspected AQAP militants, riding on a motorcycle, opened fire in Zinjibar, Abyan on August 13, killing one civilian, Mohammed al Kazmi.[3]
  • An improvised explosive device (IED) planted by suspected AQAP militants exploded near the Sabar Central Prison in the Sabar, Lahij on August 13, killing three Yemeni military engineers and wounding 13 civilians. The explosion occurred when the engineers attempted to defuse the IED after successfully defusing another IED in the same area.[4]
  • Al Houthi militants continued to clash with al Islah party tribesmen in al Jawf, on August 13, resulting in the deaths of 15 people. The fighting occurred after a recent mutual ceasefire agreement broke down.[5]
  • Unidentified tribesmen ambushed a police patrol in al Lawz, al Jawf on August 12, killing one and wounding three policemen.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a Puntland military base in the Galgala Mountains near Boosaaso, Bari region on August 12. A local official reported that, although casualty figures remain unclear, Puntland security forces effectively repelled the attack.[7]
  • Local Somali security forces, loyal to the Galmudug regional administration, arrested three suspected al Shabaab militants in Wangalo, Mudug region on August 13. A Galmudug police official reported that the security forces acted on intelligence indicating that two al Shabaab militants arrived in the area from Mogadishu.[8]
  • Somali National Army (SNA) forces clashed with unidentified militiamen, garbed in military uniform, in Mararey, Middle Shabelle region on August 13. The confrontation, which killed at least three combatants, occurred as SNA forces dismantled illegal roadblocks in the area. Separately, an unspecified explosive detonated near SNA forces manning a checkpoint in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region on August 12. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.[9]

[1] AQAP Twitter account, August 12, 2014.
[2] “The appointment of Brigadier General Ahmed al Shiani commander of the special forces brigade,” Yemen Akhbar, August 13, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Al Qaeda kills and wounds three people in al Bayda and Abyan under the accusation of working with the al Houthis,” Yemen Today, August 13, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Yemeni Defense: three explosive experts and citizens killed during IED disarmament process in Lahij,” al Masdar, August 13, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Three explosive experts killed during attempt to defuse IED in Lahij,” Barakish Net, August 13, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“13 killed in ‘Qaeda bomb’ accident: Yemen official,” Agence France Press, August 13, 2014. Available:
[5] “Fighting kills at least 15 in Yemen’s northeast,” Reuters, August 13, 2014. Available:
[6] “Yemen policemen killed in Jawf ambush,” Yemen Online, August 12, 2014. Available:
[7] “Al Shabab ambushes Puntland forces in Galgala Mountain,” Shabelle News, August 12, 2014. Available:
[8] “Three Al shabaab suspects arrested in Mudug region,” Bar Kulan, August 13, 2014. Available:
[9] “Three killed in armed clashes in Middle Shabelle region,” Bar Kulan, August 13, 2014. Available:
“Business activities in Afgoye came to stand still after explosion aimed at government forces,” Goobjoog News, August 13, 2014. Available:
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