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: Gunmen kill Taiz head of security of presidential palace; assassination attempt on presidential adviser in Sana’a; Saudi nationals involved in ministry attack; airstrike in Hadramawt

Horn of Africa: Ethiopian troops enter El Barde district in Bakool region; al Shabaab attacks AMISOM base in Lower Jubba region; Djiboutian soldier dies during mine-clearing operation; heavy fighting breaks out near Beledweyne’s airport; Somalis call for federal government to oust al Shabaab from KM-50 area; Jubba administration announces new cabinet

Yemen Security Brief

  • Brigadier General Sadam Hussein al Dhahri, head of security of the presidential palace in Taiz, was shot and killed on December 8. In a second shooting, police Colonel Abdullah Gaithallah was killed in al Bayda by gunmen who ambushed his vehicle.[1]
  • The Yemeni Government reported an assassination attempt on the adviser to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi on December 8. Shots were fired at Yassin Saeed Noman’s car, according to the state news agency, as he was driving through Sana’a.[2]
  • Yemen Security Forces released preliminary findings that revealed the 12 militants who participated in the attack on the Defense Ministry were Saudi nationals. Chief of Staff General Ahmed al Ashwal is leading the investigation and reported the death of all militants involved in the attack.[3] 
  • Lebanese newspaper the Daily Star reported a suspected U.S. drone strike on December 9 in southeast Yemen that killed three alleged al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants. The attack was in the village of al Qatan in Hadramawt governorate.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Ethiopian armored vehicles and infantry units entered El Barde district in Bakool region early December 7. The Ethiopian troops may have been responding to a Somali federal government request for support against al Shabaab in Bakool region.[5]
  • Al Shabaab attacked a Kenyan AMISOM base in Afmadow in Lower Jubba region on December 8. Reports indicate that heavy weapons were used. A pro-al Shabaab website claimed that six Kenyan soldiers were killed, but casualty figures have not been released separately.[6]
  • A Djiboutian soldier deployed with an AMISOM demining team was killed on December 8 while clearing a rocket-propelled grenade in Beledweyne, Hiraan region. Two other soldiers were injured.[7]
  • Heavy fighting occurred between Somali government troops, backed by Ethiopian forces, and al Shabaab militants near Beledweyne’s airport on December 9. Separately, al Shabaab assassinated Col. Hashi Hussein Diriye in his home in Beledweyne, Hiraan region on December 8. Two of his bodyguards were also killed in the attack.[8]
  • Somalis living in the KM-50 areas, about 50km south of Mogadishu, demonstrated against al Shabaab on December 8. The demonstrators called for the federal government to push al Shabaab out of the region.[9]
  • Ethnic clashes in Moyale town in northern Kenya killed over ten people on December 7. The fighting is over access to grazing lands. Over 20,000 people are said to have fled to neighboring Ethiopia, and Kenyan troops have been deployed to restore order.[10]
  • Jubba Administration President Ahmed Madobe appointed eight cabinet ministers on December 7. Jubba Administration Vice President Gen. Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail Fartag maintained his post and Suldan Abdulkadir Mohamed Lugadere was appointed second vice president.[11]      

[1] “Gunmen Kill two Senior Officers in Yemen – Security Source,” Reuters, December 8, 2013. Available:
[2] “Yemeni Presidential adviser is target of assassination attempt,” Reuters, December 8, 2013. Available:
[3] “AP Newsbreak: Yemen Says Saudis Behind Attack,” AP, December 6, 2013. Available:
[4] “Drone strike kills three ‘Qaeda’ gunmen in Yemen,” The Daily Star, December 9, 2013. Available:
[5] “Somalia: Ethiopian Troops Reach Bakool Region Town of El Barde,” Garowe Online, December 7, 2013. Available:
[6] “Somalia: Kenyan Contingent in Afmadow Came Under heavy Assault by al Shabaab,” Raxanreeb, December 9, 2013. Available:
[7] “Somalia: Mine Clearing Operation Kills Djiboutian Soldier in Beledweyne,” Garowe Online, December 8, 2013. Available:
[8] “Somalia: Fierce Battle Erupts in Baladweyne,” Shabelle, December 9, 2013. Available:
“Somalia: Al Shabaab Kills Senior Military Officer in Beledweyn,” Raxanreeb, December 9, 2013. Available:
[9] “Resident Demonstrate to Demand Action Against al Shabaab,” Dalsan Radio, December 8, 2013. Available:
[10] Noor Ali, “More Than 10 Killed in Militia Battles in Northern Kenya,” Reuters, December 7, 2013. Available:
[11] “Somalia: Jubaland President Nominates Second VP and Cabinet Ministers,” Garowe Online, December 7, 2013. Available:
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