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: Southern Movement militants ambush Yemeni soldiers in al Dhaleh; explosion kills Yemeni soldiers in Sana’a; Yemeni security forces arrest suspected AQAP militants in Aden

Horn of Africa: Somali government forces clash with al Shabaab in Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab claims responsibility for killing of security official in Lower Jubba region; Somali jihadist calls for al Qaeda leadership to address al Shabaab corruption; Ethiopian AMISOM contingent and al Shabaab posture for confrontation; pirates attempt to hijack Kenyan ship off Somali coast; former Somali National Army soldiers join al Shabaab

Yemen Security Brief

  • Southern Movement militants ambushed a Yemeni army convoy belonging to the 33rd Armored Brigade near al Dhaleh city on February 18, kidnapping 14 soldiers. Seven soldiers and five civilians also died in the fighting.[1]
  • A blast struck a vehicle carrying Yemeni troops in Hizyaz district in south Sana’a on February 18, killing two soldiers and wounding at least ten others.[2]
  • Yemeni security forces disrupted on February 15 a plan by suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants to attack an oil refinery in Aden, arresting 27 militants including al Qaeda leaders.[3]   

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali government forces clashed with al Shabaab between the towns of El Danane and Gendershe near Marka in Lower Shabelle region on February 15. The fighting came a day after al Shabaab raided Gendershe, a town seized by government forces on February 5. At least ten individuals, from both sides, were killed in the fighting. A Lower Shabelle regional official reported that AMISOM and Somali government troops are posturing in preparation for an offensive into Barawe and Qoryoley, al Shabaab strongholds in the region.[4]
  • Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the targeted killing of Sheikh Mohamud Ghalib Isse Kamboni, the chief of intelligence and security for the interim Jubba administration, in Kismayo on February 17. Isse Kamboni was a prominent figure in the Ras Kamboni Brigade, led by Ahmed Madobe, in 2012 when the militia assisted Kenyan Defense Forces in liberating Kismayo from al Shabaab control. One of Isse Kamboni’s bodyguards, linked to al Shabaab, is suspected of carrying out the killing.[5]
  • The Islamic World Issues Study Center published a message from Abu Yusuf, a Somali jihadist, on February 7. Abu Yusuf praised al Qaeda leadership’s decision to disavow the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and appealed to al Qaeda to address the jihadist infighting in Somalia, particularly the corruption of al Shabaab’s leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants fled Hudur, the capital of Bakool region, as Ethiopian forces advanced toward the town on February 15. Additional reports indicate that al Shabaab leaders and militants have retreated from areas in Hiraan and Galgudud regions and have gathered in Harardhere district in Mudug region as Ethiopian forces prepare to launch an offensive against al Shabaab in central Somalia.[7]
  • A Kenyan merchant ship was attacked by pirates in Somali waters while en route to Mogadishu on February 14. The attempted hijacking is the first piracy incident off the coast of Somalia in 2014.[8]
  • A former al Shabaab officer has claimed that at least 50 former Somali National Army soldiers joined al Shabaab following the Somali National Army’s dismissal of approximately 700 soldiers on February 4.[9]

[1] “Number of killed rises from clashes between the army and gunmen in al Dhaleh to 12 killed and 25 injured,” al Masdar Online, February 18, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Nine dead, 14 troops seized after south Yemen clash,” Reuters, February 18, 2014. Available:
[2] “Explosion hits military bus in Yemen; 2 killed,” Associated Press, February 18, 2014. Available:
[3] “Qaeda attack on oil refinery foiled: Yemen police,” AFP, February 17, 2014. Available:
“Security forces announce arrest of 27 AQAP militants planning to target Aden refineries,” al Masdar Online, February 17, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “Heavy confrontations between Government troops and Alshabab fighters at the outskirts of Marka town,” Shabelle News, February 15, 2014. Available:
“At least 10 confirmed dead after yesterday’s heavy fighting at the outskirts of Marka town,” Shabelle News, February 16, 2014. Available:
[5] “Alshabab defector kills Juba land chief intelligence,” Dalsan Radio, February 18, 2014. Available:
“SOMALIA: Al Shabab takes responsibility of assassinating senior security officer in Kismayo,” RBC Radio, February 18, 2014. Available:
[6] “Jihadist in Somalia Laments al-Qaeda Disavowing ISIL But Not Shabaab,” SITE Intel GroupSITE Monitoring Group, February 17, 2014. Available at SITE.Available:
[7]“Somalia: Al Shabaab militants flee as Ethiopian troops advance in Hudur,” Garowe Online, February 15, 2014. Available:
“Somalia: Senior Al Shabaab official sighted in central town,” Garowe Online, February 16, 2014. Available:
[8] “Suspected pirates attack Kenyan ship off the coast of Somalia,” Xinhua, February 15, 2014. Available:
[9] “Fired Somali military service members join in Al shabaab militants,” Shabelle News, February 17, 2014. Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
Mar '14
Feb '14
Jan '14