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: Yemeni government apologizes to the south; AQAP militant describes operation on Shumukh forums; IED wounds bystander in Sana’a; IEDs in parliament building in Sana’a; Saudi border guards kill smuggler in Jizan, Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: UAE issues statement calling on banks and other financial institutions to freeze assets of individuals, including al Shabaab leadership; government soldiers causing insecurity in Afgoi, Lower Shabelle; Soma Oil and Gas to provide data to Somali government; al Shabaab to stop caning citizens; SFG and AMISOM forces seize villages in Lower Shabelle

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Yemeni government officially apologized to southerners and residents of Sa’ada governorate for the military campaigns that the previous administration launched against those regions. Thousands of people protested across the south saying the government’s apology was insufficient.[1]
  • An al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fighter posted a description of an assassination operation that targeted an unnamed security officer on the Shumukh al Islam forums on August 20. The post described the difficulties his cell faced and how they carried out the terrorist operation.[2]
  • A bomb planted in a military pickup failed to kill its target, but wounded one passerby in Sana’a on August 22. Reports were inconsistent as to whether the target was an intelligence officer or an official in the Yemeni Economic Corporation (YECO). Reports also differed as to whether the attack occurred in the Siyah or Shu’aub neighborhood of Sana’a. [3]
  • A guard at the parliament building in Sana’a found five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted in the building on August 22. Explosives experts disarmed the bombs. A different source claimed an IED was found near the parliament building but denied that any IEDs were found inside.[4]
  • Saudi border guards killed one Yemeni weapons smuggler and captured three others in the border region of Wadi Abu Radif, Saudi Arabia.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The UAE Central Bank issued a list on August 21 naming suspected individuals wanted by international authorities whose assets were to be frozen if found. Al Shabaab was included on the list, as was Hassan Dahir Aweys, Hassan Abdullah al Hersi al Turki, Ahmed Abdi Godane, Fuad Mohamed Qalaf Shongole, Bashir Mohammad Mahmoud, Mohamed Said Atom, and Yassin Ali Baynah, among others.[6]
  • The deputy security commissioner of Afgoi, Lower Shabelle region said that the presence of some government soldiers caused security issues with the residents. He demanded that the government transfer the soldiers to other towns or he would force them out.[7]
  • New information about the deal between Soma Oil and Gas and the Somali Federal Government (SFG) revealed that the company agreed to provide the government with seismographic data on Somali’s coast in exchange for exploration rights to unclaimed areas. Some observers have labeled the deal as corrupt because it was made without a competitive bidding process.[8]
  • Hiiraan reported that al Shabaab senior leader Fuad Mohamed Qalaf Shongole announced that al Shabaab will stop caning citizens for violations of shari’a law. Shongole said they will, “instead teach them about the religion.”[9]
  • Somali government forces in coordination with AMISOM troops seized control of Mushani, Danow, and other villages in Lower Shabelle region. They did not report clashes with the al Shabaab fighters that had previously controlled the region.[10]   

[1] “Yemen: Government Issues Public Apology for Wars”, Reuters, August 21, 2013. Available:
“The South Rejects Government’s Apology and Describes it as Scrawny,” Barakish, August 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Alleged AQAP Fighter Describes Operation Against Yemeni Security Official,” SITE, August 21, 2013. Available: SITE Intel Group
[3] “Explosion of Military Pickup by IED in Sana’a Market,” 26 Sep, August 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“Intelligence Officer Survives Assassination Attempt in Downtown Sana’a,” Barakish, August 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4]  “IEDs Found in the Parliament,” Yaspr, August 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“IED Disarmed Near Parliament Building and Police Dogs Search the Office of Yahya al Ra’ay,” Al Bald News, August 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Smuggler of Turkish Weapons Shot Dead by Saudi Border Guards,” Yemen Saeed, August 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] Shehab al Makahleh, “UAE Central Bank Blacklists Insurgents,” Gulf News, August 22, 2013. Available:
[7] “The Administration of Afogye Town Complain About Escalating Insecurity,” Shabelle, August 22, 2013. Available:
[8] “Pioneering Soma Oil to Give Somalia Data, Pick Exploration Areas,” Bar Kulan, August 22, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Somalia: Al Shabaab to Stop Caning Civilians,” Hiiraan, August 22, 2013. Available:
[10] “Government Forces Take Over New Locations in Lower Shabelle Region,” Dalsan Radio, August 22, 2013. Available:
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