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: AQAP video apologizes for attack on hospital; gunmen kill three soldiers in Hadramawt; Qatari sanctioned by U.S. denies connections to al Qaeda; car bomb kills al Bayda tribal chief; Yemen closes international airports as workers strike

Horn of Africa: Somali troops conduct clearing operations in Gedo region; Somali troop infighting kills 11 people in Afgoi; Somali police detain 23 foreigners in Mogadishu; Somali government responds to clan violence in Lower Shabelle; grenade attack kills two Puntland soldiers in Galkayo

Yemen Security Brief

  • Yemeni journalist Abdul Razzaq al Jamal posted an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) video and a corresponding transcript to his Facebook page on December 21. The video statement from AQAP military commander Qasim al Raymi was produced by AQAP’s media arm, al Malahem Foundation. Raymi says that he had ordered the militants who partook in the December 5 attack on the Defense Ministry to avoid the hospital and places of worship, and that the militant who appeared in a CCTV video in the hospital had disobeyed orders. Raymi said that AQAP accepted responsibility for those killed in the hospital and that it would pay blood money to the families.[1]
  • Yemeni security officials reported that gunmen killed three soldiers and abducted four others at a checkpoint in al Qatan in Hadramawt governorate on December 21. The attack came the day after a deadline set by Hadrami tribes for government troops to leave and amid two days of protest in Hadramawt governorate.[2]
  • Abdul Rahman al Nu’aymi, sanctioned by the U.S. for his role in financing al Qaeda, has denied that he was involved with al Qaeda. Nu’aymi is the head of the al Karama human rights organization and has said that he will challenge the U.S. designation.[3]
  • Mohamed al Rayami, a tribal chief in al Bayda governorate, was killed on December 21 by a bomb planted underneath his car. The attack also injured two of his children.[4]
  • Yemen closed its international airports after civil aviation authority workers went on strike. The strike is over the role of the finance ministry in monitoring the financial affairs of the civil aviation authority.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali government troops, backed by Ethiopian troops, conducted clearing operations in Beled Hawo and Garbaharey districts in Gedo region on December 23.[6]
  • Infighting between Somali government troops killed at least eleven people in Ragele suburbs of Afgoi town in Lower Shabelle region on December 22. Reports vary on how many civilians are included in the death toll, ranging from one person to three people.[7]
  • Somali police detained 23 foreigners during an operation, “Ops Cantas Khas,” in Mogadishu on December 20. Those detained included a Libyan, Iraqi, Sudanese, and four Turks.[8]
  • The Somali Defense Minister, Abdihakim Haji Fiqi, visited areas in Lower Shabelle region on December 22 that had been affected by inter-clan violence. Somali government troops reportedly separated two clan militias in Lower Shabelle region on December 23 who have been fighting each other. The rival clans also are said to have set up 30 roadblocks between Shalanbod and Lambar Konton.[9]
  • A grenade attack the evening of December 21 killed two Puntland soldiers in Galkayo in Mudug region. At least five people were arrested on December 22 in response to the attack.[10]


[1] “AQAP Says Disobedient Fighter Responsible for Hospital Attack in Sana’a,” SITE Intel Group, December 21, 2013. Available at SITE.
[2] “Officials in Yemen Say Gunmen Shoot, Kill 3 Soldiers in Southeast Amid Turmoil in Region,” AP, December 21, 2013. Available:
“Three Yemen Troops Die as Unrest Cripples South,” AFP, December 22, 2013. Available:
[3] “Qatar Rights Advocate Hit by U.S. Sanctions Denies al Qaeda Ties,” Reuters, December 23, 2013. Available:
[4] “Tribal Chief Killed by Car Bomb in Southeastern Yemen,” Xinhua, December 22, 2013. Available:
[5] “Yemen Shuts Airports Amid Strike,” al Jazeera English, December 23, 2013. Available:
[6] O. A. Osman, “Final Eradication of Alshabab Fighters Begins in Gedo Region,” Shabelle News, December 23, 2013. Available:
[7] O. A. Osman, “At Least 11 Dead in Afgoye Fighting,” Shabelle News, December 22, 2013. Available:
“Somalia: Federal Govt Troops Clash at Checkpoint, E-passport Application Restarted,” Garowe Online, December 22, 2013. Available:
[8] “23 Foreign Nationals Detained in Police Operation,” Bernama, December 21, 2013. Available:
[9] O. A. Osman, “Clan Militia’s Fighting in the Lower Shabelle Region Separated Amid Tight Security by Gov’t Force,” Shabelle News, December 23, 2013. Available:
“Defense Minister Reaches Lower Shabelle Region to Resolve Clan-Based Violence,” Dalsan Radio, December 22, 2013. Available:
[10] “Grenade Attack in Galkayo Kills Two Puntland Soldiers,” Bar Kulan, December 22, 2013. Available:
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