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: Airstrike in al Bayda governorate; fighting between al Houthis and Salafists spreads to Hajjah governorate; Houthi checkpoint attacked in al Jawf; 22nd Armored Brigade fires on bus in Taiz governorate

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants enter Baidoa overnight; al Shabaab claims attacks and appoints new governor; al Shabaab detains civilians in Gedo region; clan fighting kills at least ten people in Hiraan region; Somali presidents appoints prime minister

Yemen Security Brief

  • An airstrike killed at least thirteen people outside of Rada’a in al Bayda governorate on December 12. The missile struck a wedding convoy. Locals reported that the airstrike was from a drone, but officials did not identify the airplane.[1]
  • Fighting between Salafists and Houthi rebels expanded into Hajjah governorate. Yemeni security officials reported that Salafists seized an al Houthi stronghold on the border with Saudi Arabia, prompting the fighting in Fagga. Heavy artillery and machine guns were used and over forty people were reported to have been killed.[2]
  • Local sources reported an attack on a Houthi highway checkpoint in the al Jawf governorate December 13. The attackers were not identified, and the number of Houthi deaths is still unknown.[3]
  • Three women were injured and one child killed on December 12 after members of the 22nd Armored Brigade opened fire on their bus traveling through a checkpoint in the village of Habwan in the Taiz governorate. The governor stressed the importance of investigating the “incident and persons” involved in the attack.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Residents reported that al Shabaab militants chanting “religious sermons” entered Baidoa in Bay region late on December 12. The militants reportedly attacked a hotel that Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, former parliament speaker, used as a residence.[5]
  • Al Shabaab’s media arm, al Kata’ib foundation, released a series of communiques on December 10 claiming attacks that occurred between October 29 and November 8. The attacks occurred in Banadir, Lower Jubba, Lower and Middle Shabelle, Gedo, and Hiraan regions. Al Shabab also announced the appointment of a new Bay and Bakool governor, Abdullah Mu’alim Ghido, also known as Abu Farhiya, who replaced Mahad Omar Abdul Karim.[6]
  • Local reports claimed that al Shabaab detained dozens of civilians in Burdhubo district of Gedo region for failing to abide by al Shabaab’s laws, especially the payment of zakat.[7]
  • Clan fighting in Kabhanley, about 25-40km north of Beledweyne in Hiraan region, killed at least ten people and injured 15 others on December 12. The clashes are over access to grazing land in the area. A delegation led by Salad Abdi Hassan, the Secretary-General of the Hiraan regional administration, arrived in Kabhanley the morning of December 13.[8]
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud appointed Abdiwelli Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed as Prime Minister on December 12. Mohamed is an economist by background.[9]    

[1] “Air Strike Kills 15 Civilians in Yemen by Mistake: Officials,” Reuters, December 12, 2013. Available:
Ahmed al Haj, “Officials: US Drone Strike Kills 13 in Yemen,” AP, December 12, 2013. Available:
[2] “Sectarian Clashes Kill at Least 40 in Yemen,” AP, December 13, 2013. Available:
[3] “Taiz, Checkpoint Authority Infringe On the Wedding Convoy,” Al Tagheer Online, December 13, 2013. Available:
[4] “Killing of a child, Three Women Wounded After Militant Opens Fire in Taiz,” Al Masdar Online, December 13, 2013. Available:
[5] “Somalia: 10 Killed in Hiraan Clan Fighting, Al Shabaab Attacks Baidoa,” Garowe Online, December 12, 2013. Available:
[6] “Shabaab Claims Attacks on Locations of Somali President in Kismayo,” SITE Intel Group, December 11, 2013. Available at SITE.
[7] “Alshabab Jails Civilian in Gedo Region of Somalia,” Shabelle, December 13, 2013. Available:
[8] “Somalia: 10 Killed in Hiraan Clan Fighting, Al Shabaab Attacks Baidoa,” Garowe Online, December 12, 2013. Available:
“Clan Militia Skirmished Leave 8 Dead in Hiran Region,” Bar Kulan, December 12, 2013. Available:
“A Delegation to Broker Ceasefire Arrives in Kabhanley, Hiran region,” Bar Kulan, December 13, 2013. Available:
[9] “Somalia: President Hassan Names New PM,” Garowe Online, December 12, 2013. Available:
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