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 allegedly killed in attack army outside Hadramawt; gunmen assassinate army colonel; violent clashes between local tribesmen and security forces at checkpoint in Hadramawt; Chief of Staff of the Special Security Forces killed in al Shihr; tribesmen blow up Ma’rib pipeline; Southern Movement issues statement on National Dialogue Conference

Horn of Africa: SNA and AMISOM troops clear villages outside of Beledweyne, Hiraan; al Shabaab ambushes AMISOM vehicle in Bay region; security forces seize weapons cache in Kismayo, Lower Jubba; Iranian Red Crescent building attacked in Mogadishu; defense minister praises SNA; Kenya reaffirms closing of refugee camps; new AMISOM commanders arrive in Mogadishu; PM Shirdon loses vote of confidence; al Shabaab kidnaps elders in Galgudud region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemen’s defense ministry reported that clashes killed six suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants early the morning of December 2. Fighting started when the militants attacked a Yemeni army checkpoint in Sayun in Hadramawt governorate. Three Yemeni soldiers were also killed. Local sources quoted by al Masdar Online claimed that the clashes were the result of a misunderstanding between local tribesmen and security checkpoint personnel. The Houthi-affiliated website published additional information, naming the tribe as the Al Alalia tribe and its leader, Saad bin Ahmad bin Habresh.[1]
  • Unidentified gunmen killed Yemeni Colonel Ahmed al Marfadi and his son in their car on December 1. Government officials continue to blame Islamist militants for the surge in assassinations.[2]
  • Clashes with militants killed Chief of Staff of the Special Security Forces in al Shihr, Hadramawt, on November 27. An unverified AQAP militant claimed seven militants were killed in an airstrike and clashes last week, contradicting the Interior Ministry’s report that thirteen militants had been killed.[3]
  • Anonymous tribal sources confirmed to Reuters that they were involved in a November 30 attack on the Ma’rib pipeline in central Yemen. The tribesmen are seeking additional compensation from the government, though it is not clear what the details are.[4]
  • The Political Body of Peaceful Southern Movement leaders confirmed in a press conference in Sana’a that its members will continue to participate in the National Dialogue Conference (NDC). The head of the Political Body told reporters that the NDC is the only means by which to resolve Yemen’s southern issue and that his group would work to convince other southerners to return to participate in the NDC.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali National Army (SNA) and AMISOM troops conducted a clearing operation outside of Beledweyne in Hiraan region on November 27. Local reports indicated that government troops moved into Luuq-Jeelow, Shabelley, el Bar, and Buq-Gosar villages outside of Beledweyne. Al Shabaab military spokesman Sheikh Abdi Aziz Abu Musab claimed that Djiboutian forces suffered heavy losses at the hands of al Shabaab militants, who had ambushed an AMISOM convoy between Beledweyne and Luuq-Jeelow village.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed an armored personnel carrier carrying SNA and AMISOM troops between Baidoa and Awdiinle towns in Bay region on December 1. Casualty numbers have not been reported. Radio Mogadishu reported on December 2 that Ethiopian and SNA troops captured about 30 villages in Bay region.[7]
  • Somali security forces seized a cache of weapons, ammunition, and explosives in Farjanno and Gulwade neighborhoods in Kismayo, Lower Jubba on November 28.[8]
  • Unidentified attackers threw a hand grenade at the Iranian Red Crescent building near Banadir Junction in Mogadishu’s Hodan district the evening of November 25. The attackers attempted to storm the building, but were held off. At least one civilian was injured in the gunfight.[9]
  • Somalia’s Defense Minister Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi praised the Somali National Army on November 28. He cited improved technical abilities and strength and promised to continue the “liberation operation” to clear Somalia of al Shabaab. He later praised AMSIOM’s and SNA’s gains in Hiraan region against al Shabaab. Presidential sources reported that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud dismissed Somalia’s navy commander, Admiral Farah Qare, and appointed General Ufurow in his stead.[10]
  • The Kenyan government reaffirmed its commitment to close all Somali refugee camps in the country in the next two years. Many refugees still fear the security and humanitarian conditions in Somalia and are reluctant to be repatriated. Somalia’s Ambassador to Kenya, Mohamed Ali Nur, has promised to help refugees resettle in Somalia and assured the country was safe.[11]
  • Ugandan Major General Baraba Muheesi arrived in Somalia on November 26 to assume his position as the deputy force commander of AMISOM. Burundian Lieutenant General Silas Ntigurirwa arrived in Mogadishu on November 29 to assume command of AMISOM forces.[12]
  • The Somali Cabinet approved the appointment of an interim Central Bank Governor on November 28. Bashir Isse Ali will assume the position, succeeding Yusur Abrar, who resigned last month. Separately, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon lost a vote of confidence in the Somali parliament after 15 months in office on December 2.[13]
  • Al Shabaab militants kidnapped over 20 traditional elders from El Laheley, Hindhere, and other villages near El Bur, Galgudud in early October this year. Residents report that the elders refused to enforce al Shabaab’s order that livestock be moved to remote areas where militants were hiding.[14]



[1] “Six Qaeda-linked Militants, Three Soldiers Killed in Yemen Clashes,” Reuters, December 2, 2013. Available: “Death of a Tribal Leader and Three Police,” al Masdar Online, December 2, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
“7 people killed in Hadramawt, including three officers, security denies links to al Qaeda,” Ansaruallah Online, December 2, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Gunmen kill Yemeni Colonel and Son in Eastern Yemen – Official,” Reuters, December 1, 2013
[3] “Al Shihr remains on edge as shelling dies down,” Yemen Times, November 30, 2013. Available:
[4] “Tribesmen Blow Up Yemen’s Main Oil Export Pipeline,” Reuters, November 29, 2013. Available:
[5] “Southern Movement Political Body: We did Not Quit NDC,” Saba News, November 28, 2013. Available:
[6] “Federal Govt, AMISOM Forces Clash with al Shabaab Near Beledweyne,” Radio Garowe and Hiiraan Online, November 28, 2013. Available:
[7] “Somalia Gov’t, AMISOM Troops Clash with al Shabaab in Baidoa,” Shabelle, December 1, 2013. Available:
“Allied Forces Capture Areas in Bay Region,” Radio Mogadishu and alShahid, December 2, 2013. Available:
[8] “Security Forces Seize Weapons, Explosives in Kismayo,” Radio Bar Kulan, Dhanaan Online, and Kismaayomedia, November 28, 2013. Available:
[9] “Unknown Assailants Attack Iranian Red Crescent Office in Mogadishu,” Radio Dalsan, November 27, 2013. Available:
[10] “Somalia’s Defense Minister Commends Improved Military Capability of Forces,” Radio Mogadishu and Somali Current, November 28, 2013. Available:
“Defense Minister Applauds Gains of Allied Forces in Hiiraan,” Radio Bar Kulan and Radio Mogadishu, November 28, 2013. Available:
“Somalia Navy Commander Sacked,” Radio Dalsan, November 28, 2013. Available:
[11] Abigael Sum, “It’s Safe to Return Home, Somalia Assures Refugees,” Standard Media, November 26, 2013. Available:
“Most Somali Refugees in Kenya ‘Fear Return Home,’” AFP, November 29, 2013. Available:
“Kenya to Close All Refugee Camps,” The Star, November 29, 2013. Available:
[12] “Uganda Appoints New AMISOM Deputy Force Commander,” Sabahi Online, November 27, 2013. Available:
“Muheesi Sent to Somalia as Burundi Takes Over AMISOM,” Daily Monitor, November 27, 2013. Available:
“AMISOM New Force Commander Arrives in Somalia,” SomaliCurrent, November 29, 2013. Available:
[13] “Update 1-Somali Government Appoints Interim Central Bank Governor,” Reuters, November 28, 2013. Available:
“Somalia Stumbles Backwards Amid Political Infighting,” AFP, November 28, 2013. Available:
“Somali PM Abdi Farah Shirdon Loses Confidence Vote,” BBC, December 2, 2013. Available:
[14] Osman Mohamud, “Fate Unknown of El Bur Elders Kidnapped by al-Shabaab,” Sabahi Online, November 27, 2013. Available:
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