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: Drone strike kills AQAP leader in al Bayda; Salafists clash with al Houthis in Sa’ada; al Houthis protest western strike in Syria; Yemeni military foils AQAP attack in Abyan; chief prosecutor of al Mukalla kidnapped in Hadramawt; Saudis in Yemen charged with aiding AQAP; al Malahem Media Foundation releases response to President Hadi’s speech

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab warns that a U.S. strike in Syria would target jihadists; Minnesotan woman aided group recruited by al Shabaab; al Sham publishes video of Somalis supporting ISIL; al Shabaab kidnap Christian woman in Bulo Mareer, Lower Shabelle; clans clash in Butie, Moyale, Ethiopia

Yemen Security Brief

  • A U.S. drone strike killed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Qaid al Dhahab in Wald Rabia’, al Bayda governorate on August 30. The strike also killed two or three other AQAP militants.[1]
  • Salafists and al Houthi gunmen renewed clashes in Damaj, Sa’ada governorate on August 30 despite assurances by a mediation committee that tensions had ended. The Salafists accused the al Houthis of killing two Salafists at a checkpoint on August 29.[2]
  • Thousands of al Houthis demonstrated in Sana’a on August 30. They raised Syrian flags in protest of an anticipated western strike against the Syrian regime. The protesters denounced U.S. intervention in the Middle East and complicit Arab regimes.[3]
  • Security forces foiled an AQAP attack on the police station in Jaar, Abyan governorate on August 29. They captured two AQAP members armed with grenades who officials said were planning to target police and intelligence officers in Jaar.[4]
  • Islamic extremists kidnapped Salim Abdoun, the chief prosecutor of al Mukalla, Hadramawt governorate on August 29.[5]
  • The criminal prosecutor of Sana’a charged five Saudis with belonging to AQAP and targeting military facilities in Yemen. The names of the accused are Abdulrahman Muhammad al Shihri, Adel Saleh Salim, Muhammad Saleh Saeed, Adel Badi al ‘Atibi, and Ali Saeed Omar al Siy’ari.[6]
  • AQAP’s al Malahem Media Foundation released on August 29 the full statement responding to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s August 22 speech at the police academy. Al Malahem also released an audio version because of questions over the authenticity of the original letter.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab tweeted on August 29 that a western strike in Syria would have three objectives. The first would be to counter jihadist’s success in capturing territory, the second would be to sabotage President Bashar Assad’s weapon arsenals before they fall into jihadist hands, and the third would be to preserve the Zionist regime.[8]
  • A Minnesotan woman pleaded guilty of perjury to a grand jury on August 29. Saynab Hussein had told the court in 2009 that she was unaware of anyone who aided a group of men who travelled to Somalia to fight for al Shabaab.  Ms. Hussein since admitted that she helped raise money for the group.[9]
  • Al Sham Jihadi Media Foundation officially published the video of Somalis supporting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on August 28. A preview of the video was released on August 12.[10]
  • Al Shabaab militants kidnapped a Christian woman in Bulo Mareer, Lower Shabelle region on August 5. They also sent threatening messages to her husband, also a Christian. The woman is still missing and her husband and two daughters have gone into hiding.[11]
  • Inter-clan clashes erupted again in Butie, Moyale region in Ethiopia on August 30. Last week nine people died in related clan violence in Moyale.[12]

[1] “Drone Kills al Qaeda Leader in Yemen: Tribal Source,” AFP, August 30, 2013. Available:
“Killing of al Qaeda Leader in Rada’a ‘Qaid al Dhahab’ in American Raid,” Barakish, August 30, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Fighting Renews Between Salafists and al Houthis in Damaj, Sa’ada,” Barakish, August 30, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Huge March of al Houthis in Sana’a Condemning the Expected Attack on Syria,” al Khabar Now, August 30, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Al Qaeda Returns to Abyan,” Yemen Post, August 30, 2013. Available:
[6] “Yemen: Five Saudis Transferred to Court on Charges of Belonging to al Qaeda (the names),” Yemen Press, August 30, 3013 [Arabic]. Available:
[7] “AQAP Incites for Overthrow of Yemeni President, Remarks on Speech (update),” SITE, August 29, 2013. Available: SITE
[8] “Shabaab Warns that West Will Target Jihadists in Possible Strike on Syria,” SITE, August 29, 2013. Available: SITE
[9] “Woman Admits Perjury, Aided Minnesotans Recruited to Fight in Somalia,” AP, August 29, 2013. Available:
[10] “Al Sham Jihadi Media Releases Video of Somalis Praising ISIL,” SITE, August 28, 2013. Available: SITE
[11] “Somalia: Islamic Militants Abduct Christian Mother of Two,” Canada Free Press, August 29, 2013. Available:
[12] “Renewed Clashes Erupt in Moyale,” Hiiraan, August 30, 2013. Available:
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