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: Former intelligence officer survives assassination attempt in Taiz; Saudi border guards shoot Yemeni smugglers; Yemeni soldiers kidnap foreign aid workers in Lahij; Russian doctors kidnapped in Shabwah; AQAP clashes with tribesmen in Lahij; security forces seize explosives in Ma’rib; AQAP executes gay man in Lahij; Yemeni officers killed in Syria

Horn of Africa: Somali intelligence officer assassinated in Mogadishu; KDF troops clash with al Shabaab in Gedo; al Shabaab plotting attack in Mombasa, Kenya; Puntland president accuses Somali government of undermining federal system

Yemen Security Brief

  • Gunmen from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) shot Doctor Mansour al Wasa’i in Wadi al Dahi, Taiz city on August 29. Al Wasa’i is in intensive care at the hospital. Officials believe that he was targeted because he was formerly a political security officer.[1]
  • Saudi border guards wounded two Yemeni smugglers and arrested six Africans in Albin, Saudi Arabia on August 28. Smugglers were trying to transport weapons, ammunition, and drugs across the Saudi-Yemeni border.[2]
  • Soldiers from southern governorates kidnapped two aid workers - a Swede and a Pakistani - in al Qabbaytah, Lahij governorate on August 29. A source said the soldiers had not been paid in two years and threatened to execute the hostages if the government tried to free them.[3]
  • Two Russian doctors were kidnapped on August 29 in al Saeed, Shabwah governorate. Security forces are still investigating the incident.[4]
  • Tribesmen from Yafa’a and al ‘Awad tribe clashed with AQAP militants in Laba’was, Lahij governorate on August 29. The AQAP members tried to steal a car and escape, but were stopped by tribesmen. There were casualties of unknown numbers on both sides.[5]
  • Security forces seized a pickup loaded with explosives at a checkpoint in al Jawba, Ma’rib governorate on August 29. The car had no license plate and was driven by a man from Shabwah governorate. The security forces turned over the car and the driver to military intelligence.[6]
  • AQAP gunmen executed a man suspected of being gay in al Hawta, Lahij governorate on August 29. This was the fifth reported AQAP attack on suspected homosexuals this year.[7]
  • Sources revealed on August 28 that five Yemeni officers who were captured in Syria by Jabhat al Nusra (JN) in 2012 died during government bombing of a JN base approximately three months ago. The officers were officially studying at the military academy in Aleppo. JN claimed that the officers were in Syria to support the Syrian regime.[8]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Unidentified militants killed Khalif Mohamud Ali, a Somali intelligence officer in Kahda, Mogadishu on August 28. One of Ali’s guards was also injured in the shootout. [9]
  • Kenyan troops clashed with al Shabaab fighters in Fafadun, Gedo region on August 29 when responding to an al Shabaab attack on a Kenyan base near the border. Shabelle Media reported that al Shabaab fighters withdrew from Fafadun after the clash.[10]
  • Security officials reported that al Shabaab may be planning an attack in Mombasa, Kenya on the anniversary of the death of cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed. At least five al Shabaab fighters crossed the border into Kenya on August 18.[11]
  • Abdirahman Mohamud Farole, president of Puntland, said that the Somali Federal Government (SFG) was trying to undermine the federal system in Somalia by creating a highly centralized government. President Farole also said that oil companies that strike deals with Mogadishu will not be permitted to drill in Puntland.[12]    

[1] “Taiz: Assassination Attempt on an Academic at the University of Taiz and Former Political Security Officer, Doctor al Wasa’i,” Voice Yemen, August 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Two People Wounded During New Attempt to Smuggle Weapons to Saudi,” Yemen Saeed, August 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Soldiers Kidnap A Swede and Pakistani in Lahij,” Barakish, August 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Kidnapping of Two Russian Doctors in Shabwah,” Barakish, August 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Violent Clashes Between Suspected al Qaeda Elements and Tribal Gunmen in Yafa’a,” Sada Aden, August 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[6] “Seizure of Explosive Materials on Board a “Hilux” car in Jawba, Ma’rib,” Hour News, August 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “Qaeda Suspects Kill Gay Man in Yemen,” AFP, August 29, 2013. Available:
[8] “Sources Confirm Death of 5 Yemeni Officers Kidnapped by Jabhat al Nusra in Syria,” al Ahale, August 29, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[9] “Somalia: Intelligence Official Killed in Ambush in Mogadishu,” Garowe, August 29, 2013. Available:
[10] “Somalia: Kenyan Troops and al Shabaab Fighters Battle in Gedo Region,” Shabelle, August 29, 2013. Available:
[11] “Kenya Raises Alert for al Shabaab Terror Plot,” Sabahi Online, August 29, 2013. Available:
[12] “Somali Govt Undermining Federal Plan – Regional Leader,” Bar Kulan, August 29, 2013. Available:
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