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: Ceasefire committees leave Dammaj; no injuries in shelling of YNLG; clashes between AQAP militants in Hadramawt; Yemeni forces continue security sweep; Yemeni government retaliates against AQAP; clashes erupt between Saudi Arabia and Yemeni tribes

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab reportedly vacating Barawe; al Shabaab claims 20 attacks in October; three officials detained in Beledweyne; NYPD releases report on Westgate attack; fifty people arrested in Kismayo; Kay briefs UN Security Council on Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Both the presidential and parliamentarian committees responsible for drafting and implementing ceasefire agreements in Dammaj, Sa’ada, have left the area. Reports claim the two groups left in order to submit reports to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi on the situation in Sa’ada.[1]
  • A shell that struck the Yemen LNG Company on December 6 did not result in any injuries, according to Saba News reports. “Minor damage to non-core equipment” occurred, though “operations of production and export are continuous.” The attack happened in Belhaf in Shabwah governorate.[2]
  • Xinhua News reported clashes between Yemeni soldiers and al Qaeda militants December 10 in Hadramawt governorate. An anonymous government official reported the deaths of three Yemeni soldiers during a gunfire exchange at an army checkpoint.[3]
  • Yemeni security forces found and cleared two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in Sana’a on December 10, following tips after the attack on the Defense Ministry. Yemeni security forces are still searching for five others.[4]
  • PressTV reported that clashes between Saudi military forces and Yemeni tribes occurred over the weekend along the border between the two countries. Unnamed sources reported the clashes began over Saudi attempts to build “border fence” inside Yemeni territory.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A Somali intelligence officer reported that al Shabaab leaders have left Barawe in Lower Shabelle following sightings of a military aircraft near the city. Some of al Shabaab’s senior leadership is believed to live in the town.[6]
  • Al Shabaab’s media arm, al Kata’ib Foundation, issued seven communiques on December 7 claiming credit for its activities October 21 through October 27. It claimed attacks in Lower and Middle Shabelle, Lower and Middle Jubba, Hiraan, Gedo, Bay, Bakool, and Banadir regions. Al Shabaab also noted that it elders from the Galjeel clan in Hiraan region completed a shari’a course. Abdi Aziz Abu Mus’ab, al Shabaab’s military spokesman, claimed credit for the December 10 attack on Kenyan police officers.[7]
  • AMISOM and Somali government troops reportedly detained three administrative officials in Beledweyne, Hiraan region. Lieutenant Abdullahi Barre, Mumin Ali Siad, and Indabuur were accused of being involved in the murder of another government official, Hashi Hussein Diriyea.[8]
  • The New York City Police Department released a report on December 10 concluded that there were four militants participating in the September attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The report notes that the last footage of the militants is of them obscuring the lens of the camera, which may indicate that the four then attempted to escape the mall.[9]
  • Jubba Administration police chief Maallim Jamal Omar Mohamud reported that security forces had arrested over 50 people in Argada Market in Kismayo, Lower Jubba, on December 10. The suspects are being held for connections to the murder of another official. Three people were reported to have been murdered in Kismayo December 10.[10]
  • UN Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay briefed the UN Security Council on December 10. He noted that AMISOM and the Somali National Army are preparing for a major offensive against al Shabaab and welcome Ethiopia’s offer to contribute to AMISOM. Kay reported that the lack of air support, specifically utility and attack helicopters, remains a concern.[11]



[1] “Government Committees Leave Conflict-Stricken Dammaj,” Yemen Times, December 9, 2013. Available:
[2] “YLNG: Friday blast is due to shell, production process is continuous,” Saba News Agency, December 11, 2013. Available:
[3] “3 Yemeni Soldiers Killed in Attack by al Qaeda Gunmen,” Xinhua, December 11, 2013. Available:
[4] “Yemen Forces Defuse Bomb-Laden Cars, Search for More,” AFP, December 10, 2013. Available:
[5] “Saudi Forces, Yemeni Tribes Clash at Border,” PressTV, December 8, 2013. Available:
[6] “Al Shabaab Leaders Flee Barawe Town,” Radio Kulmiye and al Shahid, December 11, 2013. Available:
[7] “Shabaab Claims 20 Attacks, Reports Surrender of Enemy Soldiers,” SITE Intel Group, December 10, 2013. Available at SITE.
“Somalia: al Shabab Says it has Gunned Down Eight Kenyan Police Officers,” Raxanreeb, December 11, 2013. Available:
[8] “Somalia: Administrative Officials from Hiran Region Arrested,” Mareeg, December 11, 2013. Available:
[9] “NYPD Commissioner Kelly Warns of Copycat Terrorist Attacks on ‘Soft’ Targets like Malls,” The Shack Blog, December 10, 2013. Available:“Analysis of al-Shabaab’s Attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya,” New York City Police Department, December 10, 2013. Available:
[10] “Jubba Security Forces Arrest Over 50 People in Kismayu,” Bar Kulan, December 11, 2013. Available:
“Assassinations in Port City of Kismayo,” Dhanaan Online and alXikma Online, December 11, 2013. Available:
[11] “SRSG Nicholas Kay’s Briefing to the UN Security Council,” United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia, December 10, 2013. Available:
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