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: Ministry bans motorcycles in Sana’a; continued fighting in Dammaj; UNSC statement on the NDC; HRW investigation of landmine use under Saleh regime; FM al Qirbi in Tokyo; Justice Minister meets with Charge d’Affaires of Iraqi Embassy

Horn of Africa: UN report says al Shabaab moving closer to al Qaeda; judicial committee faults government for inadequate protection; clans agree to ceasefire in Galgudud

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Yemeni Interior Ministry placed a ban on motorcycle use in Sana’a December 2 in response to increased assassination attempts. Security official Col. Yehya al Akouaa reported the ban is meant to prevent future attacks during the final weeks of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), which many fear is the reason for the increase in attacks.[1]
  • Continued fighting in Dammaj has led to the death of a prominent Salafi leader’s son, Abdulrahman al Hajouri. Salafi spokesperson, Serour al Wadei, publicly responded by accusing the Presidential Committee as being biased, and that its presence “was not welcomed” in Dammaj. Ali al Bukhaiti, a Houthi representative at the NDC fired back, blaming the Salafis for violating the multiple ceasefires.[2]
  • UN Security Council (UNSC) President Liu Jieyi issued a statement on November 28 regarding the “significant delays” affecting the NDC. Jieyi confirmed the UNSC’s preparedness to “take action” against any individuals or parties that are attempting to derail the transition process.[3]
  • Referencing a “communique” from the Yemeni government in Saba News Online, Human Rights Watch has called on the Yemeni government to investigate the “admitted” use of “thousands of antipersonnel landmines” in 2011. Reports claim that the Republican Guard, under the control of then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, planted the mines near Sana’a. Yemen was one of the many countries to sign the Mine Ban Treaty in 1999. President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government has announced a five-point plan to deal to “renew” its commitment to the Mine Ban Treaty.[4]
  • Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi met with Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Makino Taco in Tokyo December 2. Al Qirbi emphasized Japan as a, “friendly and important contribution country to the development projects and humanitarian aid in Yemen” and pointed to Japan’s role in “exploring investment opportunities” across Yemen.[5]
  • Justice Minister Judge Murshid al Arashani met with the Charge d’Affaires of the Iraqi Embassy to Yemen, Khaled al Mashhadani, on December 2. Mashhadani noted the “cooperation relations of the two countries” and that Iraq is “keen to promote relations of cooperation in all fields.”[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • The Associated Press reported that an advance copy of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s report on Somalia notes that al Shabaab may be aligning itself closer with al Qaeda’s ideology. The report also cited political progress toward national elections, but that challenges remain.[7]
  • Somalia’s judicial committee, chaired by the Supreme Judge Justice Aydid Abdullahi Ilkahanaf, met on December 2 in Mogadishu. Justice Aydid issued a statement following the meeting accusing the government of not providing adequate security for court officials. A government judge was shot dead on December 1 in Mogadishu’s Yaqshid district by masked gunmen.[8]
  • Somali federal government and Himan and Heeb administration officials negotiated a ceasefire between two clans from Abudwaq and Adado districts of Galgudud region. The clans were fighting in Lamaweyne village in Galgudud region and have fought repeatedly over a blood feud.[9]     


[1] “Government bans motorcycles in capital as security measure,” Yemen Post, December 1, 2013. Available:
[2] “Son of Salafi Killed in Dammaj Fighting,” Yemen Times, November 27, 2013. Available:
[3] “Security Council Press Statement on Yemen,” Saba News Agency, November 28, 2013. Available:
[4] “The Government has Renewed its Commitment to the Implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty”, Saba News Agency, November 19, 2013:
“Landmine Ban: Yemen Admits Using Mines,” Human Rights Watch, December 2, 2013. Available:
[5] “FM Minister Discuss with Japanese Officials Cooperation Sides,” Saba News Agency, December 2, 2013. Available:
[6] “Justice Minister meets Iraqi Envoy,” Saba News Agency, December 2, 2013. Available:
[7] “UN: Somalia Militants Moving Closer to al-Qaida,” Associated Press, December 3, 2013. Available:
[8] O.A. Osman, “Somalia’s Supreme Judge accuses the Federal Gov’t for Ignoring to Provide Security for Court Officials,” Shabelle, December 2, 2013. Available:
“Somalia: Gov’t Judge Shot Dead in Mogadishu,” Shabelle, December 1, 2013. Available:
[9] “Two Clans Agree to Ceasefire in Galgadud Region,” Bar Kulan, December 2, 2013. Available:
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