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: Intelligence officer killed in Aden; security forces arrest suspects in Aden; GPC accuses Islah party of looting weapons; protesters carry al Qaeda flags in Ma’rib; expert says AQAP has Iranian diplomat; al Houthis bomb Damaj; U.S. embassy in Yemen reopens; U.S. obtained intelligence from al Qaeda courier

Horn of Africa: Kidnapping attempt in Mogadishu; KDF clashes with al SHabaab in Garissa, Kenya; AMISOM trains SNA officers in human rights

Yemen Security Brief

  • Three suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) gunmen killed the intelligence chief of Aden and his son on August 21 in the city of Aden. The gunmen escaped.[1]
  • Security forces raided buildings in Khormaksar, Aden governorate on August 21. They were searching for individuals involved in killing the intelligence official in Aden that morning. Officials said they arrested three suspects.[2]
  • The General People’s Congress (GPC) accused leaders of the Islah party on August 20 of looting weapons from Republican Guard and Special Forces troops.[3]
  • Armed protesters, some carrying al Qaeda flags, demonstrated in Ma’rib city against U.S. drone strikes in Yemen on August 21. Security forces reportedly opened fire on the protesters, but casualty counts were not reported. It was the second time this week protesters were reportedly seen with AQAP flags.[4]
  • A journalist specializing in al Qaeda said he had information that kidnapped Iranian diplomat Nour Ahmad Nikbakht is in AQAP hands. He said AQAP does not want to ransom the diplomat, but wants to trade him in exchange for prisoners in Sana’a or possibly in Iraq.[5]
  • Salafist spokesman Saroor al Wada’ai said al Houthis bombed Damaj, Sa’ada governorate with rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and artillery shells on August 20, killing four citizens and wounding fifteen.[6]
  • The U.S. embassy in Sana’a reopened on August 18. However, the State Department did not announce its reopening until August 20.[7]
  • The Daily Beast reported that the intelligence which led to the recent closure of U.S. and other western countries across the Middle East came from an al Qaeda courier captured by the CIA and Yemen’s National Security Bureau. The courier had a recording of a web-conference between senior al Qaeda leaders including Ayman al Zawahiri. The courier is still being held in Yemen.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A  Swedish woman was injured and her bodyguard and interpreter were killed during an attempted kidnapping in Mogadishu on August 21. The attackers fled by car before security forces arrived.[9]
  • Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) killed twenty al Shabaab militants in Garissa, Kenya on August 21. The militants were thought to be involved in the raid on the police post that killed four police officers on August 16. Security officials reported movement of another al Shabaab group near Amuma, on the Kenya-Somalia border.[10]
  • Thirty-two Somali National Army (SNA) officers began a training course run by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in Kampala, Uganda on August 20. The course will seek to professionalize the army by teaching the basics of military rules of engagement, international humanitarian law, and human rights.[11]

[1] “Martyrdom of High Intelligence Official in Aden in Terrorist Attack,” Yaspr, August 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Breaking: Security Forces Raided House in Aden After Killing Staff Officer of Political Security Operations, and Arrival of Delegation from Shabwah,” Huna Aden, August 21, 2013. Available:
[3] “Yemen Brotherhood Loot Supplies and Weapons from Elite Forces in Yemen,” HSHD, August 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “For the Second Time During The Week, Armed Demonstrations Roam Ma’rib City With al Qaeda Flags and Clash With Security,” al Watan Ye, August 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Journalist Specializing in al Qaeda Reveals Information About Kidnapping of Iranian Diplomat,” Hour News, August 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Salafist Spokesman in Sa’ada to al Ahale Net: Four Killed and Fifteen Wounded, and Continued Bombing of Damaj With Different Weapons,” al Ahale Net, August 21, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen Reopens After Security Threats,” Reuters, August 20, 2013. Available:
[8] “Exclusive: Courier Led U.S. to al Qaeda Internet Conference,” August 20, 2013. Available:
[9] “Somalia: 2 Killed in Kidnap Attempt in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, August 21, 2013. Available:
[10] “Kenya: Defence Forces Guns Down 20 al Shabaab  Militants in Garissa,” Shabelle, August 21, 2013. Available:
[11] “AMISOM Opens Training On Improving Understanding and Compliance With International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Human Rights (HR) for the Somali National Army Officers,” Shabelle, August 20, 2013. Available:
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