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: AQAP militants clash with Yemeni military in Abyan; AQAP releases video where AQAP religious officials discusses recent events; Ansar al Sharia releases Twitter statement claiming for IED explosion in Lahij; unidentified gunmen clash with Yemeni soldiers in Taiz; Yemeni Air Force conducts flights over Lahij and al Dhaleh; Saudi Arabia makes donation to U.N. Counter Terrorism Center

Horn of Africa: Ethiopian AMISOM forces seize territory in Hiraan region from al Shabaab; al Shabaab executes two alleged spies in Lower Jubba region; suspected al Shabaab militants attack construction site in Kenya’s North Eastern Province; al Shabaab releases video of Quran reciting competitions

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants clashed with soldiers from the Yemeni 111th Mechanized Brigade at Fort Bala’id near Ahwar, Abyan on August 13, killing one soldier and wounding another. Anonymous local sources reported that the militants fled towards Mahfad, Abyan after the clashes. An anonymous Yemeni military source in the Yemeni 111th Mechanized Brigade reported that military reinforcements arrived at Fort al Bala’id following the clashes.[1]
  • AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem Media Foundation, released a video, entitled “A Talk about Events,” via Twitter and YouTube on August 12, 2014. Within the statement, Ibrahim al Rubaish, an AQAP religious official, praised the prisoner exchange of U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl for five Afghan Taliban leaders, applauded the victories of Sunnis in Iraq against the Maliki government and Sunni fighters in Iraq to mend their differences with other jihadist groups, accused the Egyptian government of betraying the Palestinians and helping Israel, and condemned the government of Saudi Arabia for putting pride before the lives of its soldiers.[2]
  • AQAP’s insurgent arm, Ansar al Sharia, released a statement via Twitter on August 13. Within the statement, Ansar al Sharia claimed credit for an improvised explosive device (IED) that detonated when Yemeni military engineers attempted to defuse the explosive in Sabar, Lahij on August 13. Ansar al Sharia also stated that the IED targeted Popular Committee militiamen responsible for crimes against Muslims.[3]
  • The Yemeni Air Force conducted flights over Lahij and al Dhaleh on August 14 after receiving information about al Qaeda elements being in the area. No engagements were reported.[4]
  • Saudi Arabia announced a donation of $100 million to the United Nations Counter Terrorism Center (UNCCT) on August 13. The organization, comprised of 55 nations, is designed to provide training and expertise to member states.[5]
  • Unidentified gunmen clashed with the Yemeni military in northern Taiz on August 14, killing one and wounding three soldiers.[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces from the Ethiopian contingent seized three villages, Bardhere, Berhano, and Tarejante, in Hiraan region from al Shabaab militants on August 14. Reporting indicates that the Ethiopian AMISOM forces’ advancement served as posturing for an offensive against al Shabaab militants operating near the key towns of Beledweyne and Bulo-Burde in Hiraan region.[7]
  • Al Shabaab publicly executed two alleged spies near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region on August 14. An al Shabaab representative stated that the two individuals confessed to spying for the Interim Jubba administration and Kenyan AMISOM forces based in Kismayo. Separately, al Shabaab militants conducted a search operation, arresting 18 people, in Bardhere, Gedo region on August 13.[8]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants attacked a construction site, killing one person, in Mandera County in Kenya’s North Eastern Province on August 14. Separately, unidentified gunmen fired upon a crowd of civilians, killing two people, in Garissa, North Eastern Province on August 13. No group has yet claimed responsibility for either incident.[9]
  • Al Shabaab’s media branch, al Kataib Media Foundation, released a video on August 10 recounting several  2012 and 2013 Quran reciting competitions in Bay, Bakool, and Lower Shabelle regions. The video displayed approximately 30 al Shabaab militants from six different regions reciting the Quran and participating in training exercises.[10]

[1] “Abyan..Soldier killed and another wounded in armed attack on military contingent in ‘Ahwar,’” Akhbar al Yom, August 14, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Soldier killed and another wounded in renewal of clashes between al Qaeda and Yemeni military in Fort al Belaid in Ahwar,” Aden al Ghad, August 14, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “AQAP Official Discusses Bergdahl Release, IS Victories and Gaza in Video,” SITE Intel Group, August 13, 2014. Available at SITE.
[3] AQAP Twitter account, August 13, 2014.
[4] Warplanes fly over heavily al Dhaleh after information about the arrival of elements of al Qaeda,” Barakish, August 8, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Saudi Arabia Donates $100M To UN To Counter Terrorism,” August 14, 2014. Available:
[6] “Killing one soldier and wounding three others in Taiz,” Barakish, August 14, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[7]“AMISOM forces seize several villages in Hiran region,” Bar Kulan, August 14, 2014. Available:
[8] “Al Shabaab executes two men for spying outside Kismayo,” Shabelle News, August 14, 2014. Available:
“Smalia: Al Shabaab arrests 18 people in Bardhere town,” Shabelle News, August 13, 2014. Available:
[9] Adow Jubat, “Suspected Al Shabaab militia kill three people in North Eastern,” Standard Media, August 14, 2014. Available:
“KENYA: Gunmen kill two in Garissa,” RBC Radio, August 14, 2014. Available:
[10] “Shabaab Video Shows Qur’an Memorization Competition Between Fighters,” SITE Intel Group, August 13, 2014. Available at SITE.
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