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 of Defense attacked; clashes between local tribesmen in Shabwah; tensions rising in Hadramawt; postponement of NDC; new initiative to stop violence in Dammaj; Jamal Benomar in Washington, D.C.; USAID pledges $20 million to Yemen

Horn of Africa: Car bomb kills at least seven in Boosaaso, Puntland; al Shabaab attacks intelligence base in Mogadishu; roadside bombs kill three in Elwaq, Gedo; Somali soldiers complete training in Uganda

Yemen Security Brief

  • A complex attack targeted the Yemeni Defense Ministry in Sana’a early on the morning of December 5. A suicide car bomb struck part of the compound, and a second car full of militants opened fire on the compound. The attack appears to have occurred during a changing of the guards, at which time the gates are opened to permit soldiers passage.  BBC reporters claim the gunfire continued on after the explosion, killing two international medical staff at a nearby hospital. Officials reported 29 total dead, and more than 70 injured. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.[1]
  • On December 4, protesting tribesmen in Okla, near the regional capital of Shabwah, gathered to demand jobs at the Okla well, blocking an incoming convoy of oil tanker trucks. Clashes erupted as Yemeni troops intervened to remove the blockade. Unnamed officials report the death of three soldiers and one protester.[2]
  • Colonel Hussein Hashim, security manager of Sayun in Hadramawt, told the Yemen Times that the, “entirety of Hadramawt is tense,” after reports of armed clashes between state forces and alleged al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants the morning of December 4. Though there were no reported deaths, Yemeni security forces have been mobilizing troops throughout the region.[3]
  • The 8+8 Subcommittee of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) has called for an extension of the deadline to determine the number of federal regions to be used in Yemen. Nadia Abdulla, an NDC youth representative from the subcommittee, told the Yemen times that the committee had accomplished all of its tasks except for, “determining the number of regions.”[4]
  • A new media campaign has been drawn up by human rights activists, journalists, and youth organizations entitled “Stop the Bleeding in Dammaj.” The campaign is run on a volunteer basis, and the group hopes to create a documentary video showing the violence in Sa’ada, especially in Dammaj, to air on local television channels throughout Yemen.[5]
  • UN Special Advisor on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, was in Washington, D.C., on December 4 to discuss the status of Yemen’s political transition with senior staff members and the U.S. Department of State.[6]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi met with USAID associate administrator Mark Feierstein on December 4 in Sana’a. During the meeting, Feierstein confirmed that he will sign a grant of U.S. $20 million to the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation for the areas of health and education in Yemen.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) rammed into an armed convoy carrying Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) troops in a busy Boosaaso market on December 5. At least three soldiers and four civilians were killed in the attack and 37 others were injured. The Puntland government blamed al Shabaab for the attack.[8]
  • Suspected al Shabaab gunmen attacked the Somali National Intelligence Security Agency base, currently housed in the Abdi-Wayel Cinema, in Heliwa district in Mogadishu the evening of December 4 with anti-aircraft guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Local sources reported that ten men participated in the attack. Somali security forces killed two suspected al Shabaab militants and arrested two others in search operations December 4 in Heliwa district in Mogadishu.[9]
  • Two roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs) killed three people, including Somali government soldiers, and injured seven others in Elwaq in Gedo region on December 4.[10]
  • A total of 139 Somali soldiers completed a training course at Bihanga military camp in Ibanda, Uganda. The soldiers received urban combat training.[11]


[1] “Deadly attacks hit Yemen Defense Ministry in Sanaa,” BBC, December 5, 2013. Available:
Nasser Arrabyee and Alan Cowell, “Assailants Launch Two-Pronged Attack on Yemen Defense Ministry,” New York Times, December 5, 2013. Available:
[2] “Four Killed as Yemen Tribesmen Block Oil Convoy,” The Daily Star, December 4, 2013. Available:
[3] “Instability in Hadramawt continues Unabated,” Yemen Times, December 5, 2013. Available:
[4] “Postponing Problems?” Yemen Times, December 5, 2013. Available:
[5] “Announcement of the Initiative to Stop the Bleeding in Dammaj together,” Mareb Press, December 4, 2013. Available:
[6] “Benomar, U.S. officials Talk on Yemen Transition Process,” Saba News, December 4, 2013. Available:
[7] “President Hadi meets U.S. Official,” Saba News, December 4, 2013. Available:
[8] “Attack in Somalia’s Puntland ‘Kills Eight’: Police,” AFP, December 5, 2013. Available:
“[VIDEO] Car Bomb Explodes in Bosaso Market in Puntland,” Somali Newsroom, December 5, 2013. Available:
[9] “Somalia: Militia Attack Mogadishu Intelligence Base, Explosions Reported in Gedo,” Garowe Online, December 4, 2013. Available:
“Somali Security Forces Killed Two al Shabaab Members in Mogadishu,” Radio Mogadishu, SNTV, and al Shahid, December 4, 2013. Available:
[10] “Somalia: Militia Attack Mogadishu Intelligence Base, Explosions Reported in Gedo,” Garowe Online, December 4, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somali Soldiers Passed Out in Uganda,” The New Vision, December 5, 2013. Available:
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