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: Suspected AQAP militants clash with Yemeni soldiers in Shabwah and Hadramawt; unidentified tribesmen clash with Yemeni military in Ma’rib; al Houthi militants clash with tribesmen in Sa’ada; Yemeni authorities announce a ceasefire with al Houthi militants in al Jawf

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases video recalling a 2013 failed hostage rescue attempt by French forces in Lower Shabelle region; Somali security forces clash with al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu, Lower Jubba region, and Lower Shabelle region; SNA military court executes three suspected al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu; IED detonates in crowded market in Mogadishu; Somali security forces disrupt suspected arms trafficking cell in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

Suspected militants from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) clashed with Yemeni soldiers in southern Shabwah on August 2, killing three soldiers.  Separately, AQAP militants attacked a Yemeni security checkpoint in Shibam, Hadramawt, on August 4, killing six soldiers from the 37th Armored Brigade. Lastly, suspected AQAP militants ambushed an armored patrol in Qatn, Hadramawt, on August 4, killing four soldiers and wounding seven others.[1]

Unidentified tribesmen clashed with unspecified Yemeni military forces in Ma’rib on August 3, resulting in the deaths of three civilians. The clashes occurred when local tribesmen prevented a team of engineers from repairing an oil pipeline that was sabotaged last month.[2]

Al Houthi militants ambushed tribal leaders in Sa’ada on August 2, killing tribal leader Sheikh Naji al Qutaini and one of his companions. Two al Houthi gunmen were also killed in the attack.[3]

A member of Yemen’s presidential mediation committee, Sheikh Mefreh Bohaibah, announced a ceasefire agreement with al Houthi militants in al Jawf on August 2. The two-stage ceasefire, which began on August 3, includes a total cessation of hostilities and the al Houthi militants relinquishing recently captured positions.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab’s media branch, al Kataib Media Foundation, released a video, entitled “Beyond the Shadows: The Failed French Raid,” to jihadi forums on August 1. The video recalled a failed January 2013 attempt by French forces to rescue a hostage, Denis Allex, from al Shabaab captivity in Bulo Marer, Lower Shabelle region. The video both condemned the French forces for killing Muslim civilians and glorified al Shabaab fighters for repelling the raid.[5]

Al Shabaab militants attacked several Somali security installations in the Heliwa district of Mogadishu on August 1. The attacks prompted heavy confrontations between al Shabaab and Somali security forces in several areas within the district. Separately, Jubbaland officials claimed that Jubbaland security forces clashed with al Shabaab militants before seizing territory from al Shabaab in an unspecified area near Kismayo, Lower Jubba region. Finally, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) forces clashed with al Shabaab militants near the KM-50 area of Lower Shabelle region on August 2.[6]

An SNA military court executed three suspected al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu on August 3. The military court charged one suspect, Hassan Muhyadin, with facilitating the July 8 al Shabaab attack on the Somali presidential compound in Mogadishu. The court linked the other two suspects, Adam Mohamed and Bashir Mohamed, to a July killing of a Somali government employee in Mogadishu.[7]

An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in a busy market in the Hodan district of Mogadishu on August 3. The IED, hidden in a garbage pit, exploded as city employees collected trash in the market, killing at least three female employees. Although no group claimed responsibility for the blast, Somali police officials blamed al Shabaab, citing the group’s involvement in a similar incident in 2010.[8]

Somali police and National Security and Intelligence Agency (NISA) forces disrupted a suspected arms trafficking cell in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu on August 2. The security forces confiscated weapons, ammunition, and explosives and detained 14 suspected arms traffickers, including Somali government official Captain Abdi Ileys. Somali National Security Minister General Khalif Ahmed Ereg reported that the disrupted cell trafficked weapons and explosives to criminal groups, including al Shabaab.[9]


[1] “Suspected al Qaeda militants kill nine Yemeni soldiers: local officials,” Reuters, August 4, 2014. Available:
“Six soldiers were killed in an armed ambush of al Qaeda in Shibam Hadramout,” Barakish Net, August 4, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“’Qaeda’ suspects kill 4 Yemeni soldiers,” The Guardian, August 4, 2014. Available:
“Killing four soldiers and wounding others in an attack on a military patrol in Hadramout,” al Masdar, August 4, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Shelling in Marib lead to civilian casualties,” Yemen Post, August 3, 2014. Available:
[3] “Tribal elder killed and three others in an armed ambush laid out by the Houthis in Sa’ada,” al Masdar, August 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Yemen announces ceasefire between army and rebel Houthis,” Middle East Eye, August 2, 2014. Available:
[5] “Shabaab Releases Video on Failed French Raid to Rescue Hostage,” SITE Intel Group, August 1, 2014. Available at SITE.
[6] “Intense battles erupt in Mogadishu,” Shabelle News, August 3, 2014. Available:
“Juba security forces claim victory over clashes with Al-shabab,” Goobjoog News, August 4, 2014. Available:
“Battle erupts near KM50 of Lower Shabelle region,” Shabelle News, August 2, 2014. Available:
[7] “SOMALIA: Military court executes three men convicted as Al Shabaab members,” RBC Radio, August 3, 2014. Available:
[8] Somali bombing leaves city workers dead,” Al Jazeera, August 3, 2014. Available:
“Somalia: Women cleaners killed in Mogadishu,” Garowe Online, August 3, 2014. Available:
[9] “SOMALIA: Security forces seize cache of arms and ammunition in Mogadishu,” RBC Radio, August 3, 2014. Available:


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