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: Islah General Secretary kidnapped; AQAP release threatening video; President Hadi negotiates with Hadramawt Tribal Federation; U.S. Senate eases restrictions on return of Guantanamo detainees

Horn of Africa: Ethiopia arrests five suspects tied to bomb plot; security increased in Boosaaso

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi gunmen kidnapped Sheikh Ali Ghaib Zaid, the General Secretary of the Islah Party, in Sa’ada governorate early the morning of December 20. Islah members have called for government intervention in releasing him.[1]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi negotiated an agreement with the tribes of Hadramawt. Saleh Molla al Dwilah, spokesperson for the Hadramawt Tribal Federation, confirmed the negotiations, though he confirmed that they “will go ahead with the planned mass rally in case action does not materialize.” Thousands of people turned out to protest in al Mukalla, Hadramawt on December 20. At least two people were killed when the protests turned violent; clashes occurred in cities throughout the governorate.[2]
  • A U.S. Senate vote on December 20 helped “loosen” the restrictions binding President Barack Obama from sending Guantanamo detainees back to Yemen. The Yemeni government has “promised” to build a rehabilitation-detention center for Guantanamo returnees, though there has been little progress on the center.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Ethiopian police reported the arrest of five additional people suspected to have been involved in a suicide bomb plot that was planned for Ethiopia’s World Cup qualifying match in October. All five men are Somali members of al Shabaab according to the Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service and the Federal Police.[4]
  • Puntland security forces increased their presence in Boosaaso ahead of the upcoming Puntland elections.[5]

[1] “Houthi Gunmen Abduct General Secretary of Islah Party in Saada,” Mareb Press, December 20, 2013 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “President Hadi Appeases Angry Tribes in Hadramawt,” Yemen Times, December 19, 2013. Available:

“2 Killed in Yemen Riots After Tribal Leader Killed,” AP, December 20, 2013. Available:
[3] “Senate Eases Path for Sending more Guantanamo Detainees Home,” Reuters, December 20, 2013. Available:
[4] Aaron Maasho, “Ethiopia Says Arrests Five Suspects in Soccer Match Bomb Plot,” Reuters, December 19, 2013. Available:
[5] “Somalia: Security Beefed up in Bossaso Port City ahead of Puntland Elections 2014,” Garowe Online, December 19, 2013. Available:
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