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 religious judge comments on recent al Houthi events in Sana’a; UN Security Council condemns al Houthi military actions; presidential committee issues statement calling for Yemeni citizens to demonstrate throughout Yemen; unidentified gunmen detonate VBIED at Yemeni military checkpoint in Hadramawt

Horn of Africa: AMISOM and Somali National Army forces seize territory from al Shabaab in Hiraan region; Somaliland security forces clash with Khatumo administration militiamen in Sool region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Mamoun Hatem, an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) religious judge, released a statement, entitled “Realities and Events,” via Twitter and YouTube on August 28. Within the statement, Hatem condemned recent al Houthi activities around Sana’a, accused Iran of supporting the al Houthi, criticized the Yemeni government’s inability to stop al Houthi victories in Sa’ada and Amran, called for all Sunnis to band together to repel the al Houthis, and asserted AQAP fighters could take lessons from the Islamic State’s struggle to bring proper religion to Iraq.[1]
  • The United Nations Security Council condemned the military actions of the al Houthis in a statement on August 28. The council has called on the al Houthis to withdraw their forces from Amran, cease armed action against the Yemeni government, and dismantle their protest camps and checkpoints. The statement published by the UK Mission to the UN also called on member states to not interfere to foment conflict in Yemen.[2]
  • The Presidential Organization for the Popular Alignment and Protection of National Interests issued a statement on August 28, calling for Yemeni citizens to reject ongoing efforts to incite violence and sedition, promote national unity and social cohesion, and rally in city squares and plazas under the slogan “Together for Yemen.”[3]
  • Unidentified gunmen detonated a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) near a security checkpoint in al Mukalla, Hadramawt on August 28, killing three Yemeni Special Forces soldiers. Following the explosion, the gunmen clashed with Yemeni soldiers near the Second Regional Command headquarters in al Mukalla, Hadramawt, wounding five soldiers. No group has yet claimed responsibility.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) forces seized several towns, including Burweyne, Halgan, in Hiraan region on August 29, a day after al Shabaab militants withdrew from the area. SNA officials reported that the AMISOM and SNA troops will continue to advance towards Jalalaqsi, Hiraan region to combat the al Shabaab militants operating in the region.[5]
  • Somaliland security forces clashed with Khatumo administration militiamen near Saaxdheer, Sool region on August 28. The confrontation, which killed nine combatants, occurred two days after the Somaliland security forces claimed to seize Saaxdheer, a town located within territory disputed by the Somaliland, Khatumo, and Puntland administrations, from the Khatumo administration. International community officials, including U.S. Special Representative for Somalia James McAnulty, UN Special Envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay, and EU Ambassador to Somalia Michele Cervone d’Urso, condemned the violence, calling for the withdrawal of all armed forces from the area.[6]

[1] AQAP Twitter account, August 28, 2014.
[2] “Security Council, in Presidential Statement, Urges Halt to Escalating Campaign by Yemeni Faction to ‘Bring Down the Government’, Disrupt Transition,” United Nations Security Council, August 29, 2014. Available:
“UNSC urges Houthis to end hostilities against Yemen’s government,” al Arabiya, August 29, 2014. Available:
[3] “Presidential Organization for the Popular Alignment and Protection of National Interests calls for masses of people to rally on Friday in all governorates under the slogan Together for Yemen,” Saba News, August 28, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Presidential Organization for the Popular Alignment and Protection of National Interests calls for demonstrations on Friday under the slogan ‘Together for Yemen,’” al Masdar, August 28, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Recent event: Special Forces soldiers wounded in IED explosion in front of the entrance to al Mukalla,” Aden al Ghad, August 29, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Hadramawt.. three soldiers killed in IED explosion in al Mukalla,” August 29, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[5] “Somali, AMISOM forces launch fresh security operations in Hiran,” Bar Kulan, August 29, 2014. Available:
[6] Abdiqani Hassan, “Nine killed in fighting between rival regions in north Somalia,” Reuters, August 28, 2014. Available:
“SOMALIA: Joint Press Release appealing for all armed forces to withdraw from Saaxdheer, Sool Region,” RBC Radio, August 29, 2014. Available:
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